Big Data is a buzzword. It may seem difficult to understand because it can mean so many different things to different people. It may have different definitions and understandings. For some, it may refer to a lot of data, for others, it may be a new technology that helps them turn insights into actions.
So how would you define big data? Is there anything common that everybody will agree on?
To describe big data, IBM scientists have broken it into four dimensions, popularly known as “4 V’s” that represents and characterize the Big Data in its natural form.
Image Credit: IBM
Here are the 4 V’s of Big Data:
- Volume: It refers to the amount of data generated every second. Your Facebook posts, tweets, email messages, videos, photos that you produce and share, all refer to the data. Think about it when it is produced by 6 billion people who have smartphones. It’s estimated that 40 Zettabyte of data will be created by 2020.
- Velocity: It refers to the speed at which the data is generated, stored and moved around. For example, think about a social media post that goes viral in minutes, creating more tweets, posts, and buzz around. Big data technology allows us to analyze this kind of streaming data in real time without storing it into the database. It is projected that by 2016 there will be 18.9 billion network connections, almost 2.5 connections per persons on earth.
- Variety: It refers to the different forms or types of data such as tables, photos, videos, social media updates, blog posts, graphs etc. Big data technology allows us to better organize and structure different types of data into the traditional structured format that is much easy to process and understand. YouTube has over a billion users and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.
- Veracity: It refers to the uncertainty, messiness, and trustworthiness of data. Data is valuable only if it has a value that applies to solve the real world problem. With so many forms of data available, the volume often lacks in quality and accuracy. 1 in 3 business leaders doesn’t trust the information they have or use to make the decisions.
Of course, big data provides us the endless possibilities and applications. It provides businesses an opportunity for disruptive change and growth. However, most of the data in itself is not valuable at all. The value is in how we analyze and use that data to turn it into information and knowledge for better business decisions.