Big data is a combination of structured, semistructured and unstructured data collected by organizations that can be mined for information and used in machine learning projects, predictive modeling and other advanced analytics applications.
Systems that process and store big data have become a common component of data management architectures in organizations, combined with tools that support big data analytics uses. Big data is often characterized by the three V’s:
the large volume of data in many environments;
the wide variety of data types frequently stored in big data systems; and
the velocity at which much of the data is generated, collected and processed.
These characteristics were first identified in 2001 by Doug Laney, then an analyst at consulting firm Meta Group Inc.; Gartner further popularized them after it acquired Meta Group in 2005. More recently, mandalasystem.com several other V’s have been added to different descriptions of big data, including veracity, value and variability.
Although big data doesn’t equate to any specific volume of data, big data deployments often involve terabytes, petabytes and even exabytes of data created and collected over time
Why is big data important?
Companies use big data in their systems to improve operations, provide better customer service, create personalized marketing campaigns and take other actions that, ultimately, can increase revenue and profits. Businesses that use it effectively hold a potential competitive advantage over those that don’t because they’re able to make faster and more informed business decisions.
For example, big data provides valuable insights into customers that companies can use to refine their marketing, advertising and promotions in order to increase customer engagement and conversion rates. Both historical and real-time data can be analyzed to assess the evolving preferences of consumers or corporate buyers, enabling businesses to become more responsive to customer wants and needs.
Big data is also used by medical researchers to identify disease signs and risk factors and by doctors to help diagnose illnesses and medical conditions in patients. In addition, a combination of data from electronic health records, social media sites, the web and other sources gives healthcare organizations and government agencies up-to-date information on infectious disease threats or outbreaks.
Here are some more examples of how big data is used by organizations:
In the energy industry, big data helps oil and gas companies identify potential drilling locations and monitor pipeline operations; likewise, utilities use it to track electrical grids.
Financial services firms use big data systems for risk management and real-time analysis of market data.
Manufacturers and transportation companies rely on big data to manage their supply chains and optimize delivery routes.
Other government uses include emergency response, crime prevention and smart city initiatives.