Big Data Definition and Meaning Made Easy

Big Data Explained

Big data is a buzzword used by many but understood by little. The following is a simple, easy to understand Big Data definition.

Big Data encompasses two concepts

  1. A radical change in the amount and structure of data available compared with the recent past. Just as an example: a Telco Operator used to have just your calls (number, time, etc.). Now they can have your location every second if need be (through phone GPS), who is near you (through phone Bluetooth), how you interact with not only phone numbers but social networks, the web, etc. The data set is much, much larger, but also much less formal and unstructured, and permanently updated
  2. New tools to process these data and to learn from them. These are fundamentally different than the traditional statistical tools (even those used in multi-variable, extensive economic or health studies) or that the numerical analysis tools such as those used for weather projections.

How does Big Data differs from traditional data?

Big Data has three distinctive properties: volume, variety, and speed. Click To Tweet

Volume is intrinsic to Big Data. We talk about Terabytes of data and up. Imagine the amount of data stored just by Google through Google maps, registering all the GPS addresses of millions of people while they use Google Maps to go from one place to another.

Variety refers to the kind or the category of data. Following the previous example, along with the GPS coordinates, Google has the data of the map, all addresses, pictures taken on places you are driving around, information about traffic congestion. All of the different kind of data, of different characteristics that need to be processed together.

Variety refers to the kind or the category of data. Following with the previous example, along with the GPS coordinates, Google has the data of the map, all addresses, pictures taken on places you are driving around, information about traffic congestion. All of them different kind of data, of different characteristics, that needs to be processed together.

Speed refers to the fact that the data are continuously changing over time. In the Google Maps example, the GPS coordinates of each phone move along the way, some phones connect and another disconnect, etc.

You can learn more about Big Data through the day to day updates of  the DigitalFullPotential web

Interest over Big Data started to grow in 2011 and has been more or less stable since 2014, as per Google Trends Click To Tweet

Interest over time

Numbers represent search interest relative to the highest point on the chart for the given region and time. A value of 100 is the peak popularity for the term. A value of 50 means that the term is half as popular. Likewise a score of 0 means the term was less than 1% as popular as the peak.


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