Defining Big Data - dummies

By Mico Yuk, Stephanie Diamond

Suddenly, everyone is talking about the presence of Big Data and its impact. Hasn’t there always been a steady stream of data that companies can employ? What makes the data so “big” that its mere presence can’t be managed?

These questions and many others probably come to mind. The best way to answer them is to think about how you currently interact with devices throughout your day:

  • Communicate via smartphones

  • Send reports, proposals, and contracts digitally

  • Buy products via online accounts

  • Use credit cards at retail stores

  • Monitor your car and house with various electronic devices such as temperature gauges and dashboard computers

Don’t forget that data is generated when you interact on social media and in search engines. Most of this data was unavailable a mere 20 years ago.

Every one of the preceding activities throws off mountains of data. The retailer sees what you buy; the smartphone provider knows who you call; the car dashboard records your driving habits. You (and your customers) are a walking mass of data. All this acquired information is Big Data.