To many, big data sounds more like a technical term, hence usually are reluctant to understand what it exactly is. To their least knowledge, willingly or unwillingly they’ve already boarded the massive ship of this revolutionary concept of the digital space.
Believe me, as you read further through the article; you’d start to understand what it really is, and why the world is talking about it.
Basically, the core idea behind Big Data is – effective collection and analysis of huge volumes of data gathered from the digital space. But why collect it?….. Is this the question you have? Well, the simple answer to this is – data cannot be false (unless it’s purposely manipulated). Sticking to our topic here, using the data collected from various sources and analysing it with specialized tools – intelligence agencies can effectively predict the next terrorist attacks hence take measures to thwart it.
Medical practitioners can predict and start treatment before the symptoms start to show up, run through complex calculations that tells us when and where a meteoroid would enter earth’s environment, there’d barely be an area where the concept of Big data wouldn’t fit in. Though, of course, as every coin has two sides, Big Data can be as destructible as it is useful.
We all are aware about the rapid expansion of digital space where different people from various geographies from around the world are connecting to the web via. various means. And with every activity that is associated with the web – leaves a digital trace. Now consider the massive volume of data that is generated, but it’s useless if it isn’t analysed using the right tools and techniques. Big data is all about using this data to accurately understand the things associated with various aspects of the world today.
Looking at the World from a Digital Perspective
As I said above, nearly every activity that one carries out leaves a digital footprint, read on to understand how:
- Emails – This has been one of the widely acclaimed ways of effective communication in the digital space even today. But, if you’d assumed that emails only reside in your mailboxes, then you are wrong. eMails are stored in server systems, the status updates, social messages, mobile messaging services etc. nearly every digital communication is recorded.
- Web Browser – The Internet today has become one of the most basic requirements without which we cannot even think of a day. With it, we surf the web, search in search engines, bookmark certain sites that we like for later reading, share pages and what not.
But, we don’t realize that in the backend, every activity is logged by the web browsers (unless you’ve chosen the custom settings). Every click you make, every scroll you do, every purchase you make, almost everything is logged. If you make a purchase even your transaction is recorded, you’d be aware of this though.
- Photos and video uploads – According to IACP – more than a billion tweets are sent every 48 hours, nearly 4,000 photos are uploaded to Facebook per second, the Google +1 button is used 5 billion times per day, etc. And all this is happening in the digital space.
Here if you observe, this what we refer to data gathering – a part of Big data concept.
- Data produced from Smart phone and other Smart Devices – Recently there’s been a rapid boom in smart devices that range from smart phones, tablets, watches, eye-gear, TV’s and what not. They all are dependent on the Internet to offer their optimum functionality. When they are connected to the web, other activities such as tracking the device locations, updating them with latest firmwares, deletion of data in case it gets stolen is carried out.
But what we don’t realize is that every activity is generating a log in the system, and log means data. This also means, using this data one can pinpoint your preferences, likings, habits and layout a map of your personality. So the next time you are about to opt or buy something, the system can suggest you beforehand what until now was only in your mind.
I hope that by now you’d have got a hold of Big Data!
Now imagine the vast volume of data which is being produced worldwide from different systems, therefore it was necessary to come up with a system which can intelligently analyse it and produce some remarkable results for improving not only customer experience but companies’ businesses too.
Therefore, Big Data is now characterized by the four V’s:
- Volume – the vast amounts of data generated every second
- Velocity – the speed at which new data is generated and moves around
- Variety – the increasing variety of data produced
- Veracity – the unstructured & complexity of the data
Using these pointers, the analysis of data produced becomes a little structured, which is further broken down into smaller tasks and analysed in parallel using large clusters of computing machines to produce the desired outcome – which we call it the intelligence data.
Now let’s look at the various real-life instances where the concept of big data is already in use.
- – The Police using the enormous volume of CCTV footage, phone calls, text and video messages, to control crime in a county
- – Famous eStores logging your surfing and buying trends to understand and help you by suggesting products you’d probably be interested to buy
- – Online portals, websites showing you advertisements about the products which you’d only surfed over the web but didn’t buy, but might be thinking to buy next month
- – The latest innovation from Google – the self-driving car which gathers and analyses massive volume of data in real time to deliver what’s expected from the service
- – The GPS systems which are becoming popular worldwide to track vehicles, devices, map assistance etc.
Now you’d understand that we are already riding the big data wagon, we can only say that as time progresses and more work is put into this concept, our online experience is going to be enticingly different or more personalized in comparison to the past. Let’s hope for a good user experience and give us a chance to thank the Big Data for that.