What is big data?

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data — so much that 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data comes from everywhere: sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals to name a few. This data is big data.

Big data spans four dimensions: Volume, Velocity, Variety, and Veracity.

Volume: Enterprises are awash with ever-growing data of all types, easily amassing terabytes—even petabytes—of information.

  • Turn 12 terabytes of Tweets created each day into improved product sentiment analysis
  • Convert 350 billion annual meter readings to better predict power consumption

Velocity: Sometimes 2 minutes is too late. For time-sensitive processes such as catching fraud, big data must be used as it streams into your enterprise in order to maximize its value.

  • Scrutinize 5 million trade events created each day to identify potential fraud
  • Analyze 500 million daily call detail records in real-time to predict customer churn faster

Variety: Big data is any type of data – structured and unstructured data such as text, sensor data, audio, video, click streams, log files and more. New insights are found when analyzing these data types together.

  • Monitor 100’s of live video feeds from surveillance cameras to target points of interest
  • Exploit the 80% data growth in images, video and documents to improve customer satisfaction

Veracity: 1 in 3 business leaders don’t trust the information they use to make decisions. How can you act upon information if you don’t trust it? Establishing trust in big data presents a huge challenge as the variety and number of sources grows.

 Big data is more than simply a matter of size; it is an opportunity to find insights in new and emerging types of data and content, to make your business more agile, and to answer questions that were previously considered beyond your reach. Until now, there was no practical way to harvest this opportunity. Today, IBM’s platform for big data uses state of the art technologies including patented advanced analytics to open the door to a world of possibilities.