We live in a data-driven age where data is the new oil. With the world around us changing rapidly and so much going on online, just imagine the amount of data that is being generated every day. This huge chunk of data is known as big data. Let us understand big data in detail in the following sections.
What is Big Data?
Big data refers to huge volumes of data. It is usually used by large organizations for gleaning insights and improving business operations. According to Gartner, “Big Data are high volume, high velocity, or high-variety information assets that require new forms of processing to enable enhanced decision making, insight discovery, and process optimization.”
Big data is very useful when processed. However, it cannot be stored or processed through any traditional storage or processing units, which is why organizations take the help of data analysts and data scientists for analysing big data. Continue reading to know about the different types of big data.
Different Types of Big Data
This section will help you understand three types of big data –
This type of data is structured and well-defined and is consistent enough to be understood by a computer or a human. It is possible to store, analyse and process structured data using a fixed format and has its own data model. This kind of data is neatly stored in columns and rows. There are two sources of this data: it could be machine-generated or human generated.
As the name suggests, this kind of data is not well-defined and is difficult to handle, understand and analyse. There is no consistent format for unstructured data and most data that we encounter every day falls under this category.
This is partially structured data but does not obey any formal structures of data models
Characteristics of Big Data
There are five basic characteristics of big data that we must be aware of –
This means the huge chunk of data that is collected and generated every second in a big organization. There are different sources of this data including IoT devices, social media, videos, financial transactions, and customer logs. While earlier it was cumbersome to store and process high volumes of data, now there are distributed systems such as Hadoop which are used to organize data.
The second characteristic of big data is its variety, including the different sources and their nature. Over the years, the sources have changed and today, data is present across different sources such as photos, audio files, videos, text files, and PDFs. Variety is an important factor in storing and analysing data.
Velocity refers to the speed at which data is created or generated. This will be dependent on how fast the data will be processed. The reason is that the data will be able to meet the demands of clients/users only after analysis and processing. Every day, massive amounts of data are produced continuously and only when this flow is continuous can there be a point in investing time or effort on it.
Value is the most important attribute of big data. No matter at what speed the data is produced or in what volume, it can only be good enough if it adds value to an organization. In Data Science, Raw data is first converted into information by data scientists, the most useful data is retrieved, and then it is analysed for patterns and insights.
Value and veracity of big data are interconnected. Veracity refers to how much data can be trusted.
Applications of Big Data
Big data is valuable and a powerful duel for all sectors today. It is used by almost all organizations and has many use cases. Let us look at some applications of big data.
Travel and tourism Big data helps in predicting requirements such as those for travel facilities. Through this, the businesses have noticed significant improvement.
Finance and banking This sector extensively uses big data to understand customer behaviour through patterns and other trends.
Healthcare There has been a revolution in the healthcare sector, thanks to big data. Through predictive analytics, healthcare personnel are able to provide personalized services to patients, thereby improving outcomes.
Telecommunication and multimedia Given how much data is generated in this sector daily, big data technologies are required to handle such huge data.
Advantages of Big Data
There are many advantages to big data. In this section, we have mentioned some of them:
- Big data aids in predictive analysis and can save organizations from operational risks
- Predictive analysis helps organizations improve business by understanding their customer requirements.
- Multimedia platforms are able to share data, thanks to big data
- Patients can be kept under proper care and observation
- It has changed the face of customer-based companies and the global market
Career Opportunities in Big Data
One of the biggest benefits of big data is that it has revolutionized every industry today and is giving organizations a competitive edge. Multiple operations can be performed on a single platform. It also helps in storing terabytes of data, pre-process and analyzing it irrespective of the size and type, and even visualizing it.