The word ‘Big Data’ has become a game changer in today’s technology driven world. And you may wonder exactly how “big is Big Data”? Well, according to Chief Technology Officer of the CIA, Ira “Gus” Hunt – about “7 billion searches done on Google every day; 390 million Tweets a day; 35% of the world’s photographs stored on Facebook; 6.1 trillion text messages sent per year; and on and on.”
If that is not enough, data pouring in from other websites and censuses are separate. Governments and companies are now pouring time, energy and money into not only collecting big data but also into analyzing it.
Why you ask? What’s so special about Big Data? Well, it might just seem like a huge pile of information to the untrained eye, but for statisticians this pile of data holds a lot of answers to future trends. As George Santayana, a popular philosopher puts it, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Well, this is exactly where Big Data helps. It helps us understand our past and ascertain our future.
Big Data are essentially large sets of data that are so big and complex that it cannot be processed using traditional data processing software. However, the word has grown broader, and now also includes our ability to collect and analyze large amounts of data.
Everything we use these day generates data – from the phone in your hand to your smart TV that can connect to the internet. With the benefit of constant connectivity, everything you use results in your patterns becoming recorded. Remember, anything you send across the internet remains and never truly goes away.
Devices today are become smarter because of their many different operating systems, sensors and chipsets that learn human behaviors and reflect things that they like. For example: the more you use Siri or Google Assistant, the more they learn about you and will give you results based on your previous searches or interests. These interests are derived from the data collected when you previously accessed the device.
Research firm, Gartner roughly defines Big Data using 3Vs – Volume, Velocity and Variety. In order for data to be classified as big data, it must fulfill the following conditions of the 3 Vs.
• Volume – big data doesn’t sample; it just observes and tracks what happens
• Velocity – big data is often available in real-time
• Variety – big data draws from text, images, audio, video; plus it completes missing pieces through data fusion
The ‘datafication’ of our world has opened up numerous opportunities for us.
Big Data Changes The World
If we tell you this jumbled mess of information could change the world, would you believe it? Well, data actually can and already is.
The field of data analysis and data mining are gaining more importance, and the requirement for data specialists is currently on the rise. Analyzed data is helping industry experts figure out the current trends of specific industries and how they are changing. This data has actually be used successfully across numerous sectors and more of it expected to help us mold our future.
Here are a few fields where Big Data has shown significant changes:
Government Planning & Census
Government requires and extensively uses big data to understand its population and its requirements. The data collected from their constituents can help them understand the number of people they are dealing with, their preferences, they needs and wants, so on and so forth. The census that the public are require to fill out, helps the government understand the income of families, earning members in each family, and the how many family members they are require support from the government. Big data also allows them to get real-time data such as building permits, potholes, parking permits, and etc.
The need for big data in entertainment is a fairly new thing, but has become a huge hit. Data collected from previous movie or song releases can help determine if the upcoming release will be a hit or no. There are now companies that simply gather information from previous releases and refer the likeness to the current upcoming one to determine the rate of success for this upcoming movie or song. This data also helps companies determine how many downloads a song has received, how many CD or DVD sales have happened and how much they can earn.
Business definitely requires big data and has also been using it across all sectors, mostly marketing. Organizations refer to the real-time data, as well as past data to determine their future action – this could include the data gathered from the company as well as the data gathered from the industry. Data Mining plays an important role when it comes to stock markets, which require making decisions using real-time data.
Medicine and research requires a lot of information gathering and this can definitely be classified as big data. Medicine is one field where big data is extremely important as it requires developing on older medicines, and understanding the reaction of the medicine on a person and a virus. Medicines require meticulous detailing or their research process and all that big data can help further develop a medicine or find the cure for other diseases. More importantly the testing process and results of all tests can now become available for anyone who wishes to view them.
Sports also use big data to understand their players and their weakness and their strength. Data is also used in sports to strategize their gameplay and their players. In the big leagues, the data of each player is used to trade, buy and sell players across teams.
Last, and the most important is technology. Technology uses data mining for a variety of purposes from digging up old algorithms to advancing devices. Big Data is exceptionally important when it comes to IoT (which collects real-time data) and AI (which learns using the collected data). More of your devices are getting smarter and in order for them to learn and become that way, they require data. As you continuously use your devices, they learn from you and that data is passed on to companies, who can then understand usage patterns and what is more commonly used among their consumers. In the field of IT, big data is making huge strides to providing smarter and better technology.
These are just a few of the many sectors where Big Data plays an important role. However, Big Data can effectively be used across many different fields. Don’t be doomed to repeat history, especially when you can learn from it and build on it.
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