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What is Big Data? Everything you need to know

Big Data - latest statistics

(Image credit: Image Credit: Flickr / janneke staaks)

- By 2020, 1.7 megabytes of data will be created every second, for every person on earth (EMC)

- Worldwide big data market is worth $57bn, and should grow to hit $76bn by the end of 2020 (SNS Research)

- Six million developers worldwide are currently working on big data and advanced analytics (Evans Data Corporation) 

Big Data: What’s New 

03/06 - FEATURE - Neil Barton/WhereScape - How the right data lineage tools can cinch data integrity in a big data environment - With big data comes big noise, so how do you ensure integrity of data when conducting analysis?

10/05 - FEATURE - Lisa Andreou/Acxiom - Banking on big data - The importance of big data keeps growing, but how can retail banks reap the benefits?

29/04 - FEATURE - Christian Schäfer/Aptiv - Fuelling change in the vehicle architecture with big data - This vast amount of data presents a very real challenge, and indeed opportunity for the automotive sector...

19/04 - FEATURE - Kunal Agarwal/Unravel - Fight your space: Multi-tenant big data clusters - Multi-tenant big data clusters are commonplace and essential to businesses, here is how to manage them...

29/03 - FEATURE - Charlie Smith/Blis - Big data in the run up to 2021: Seven tech experts weigh in - From how big data will touch the lives of educators, to new data-based business models...

08/03 - FEATURE - Ankit Patel/XongoLab Technologies - How big data will impact different sectors - There is one robust technology that has the potential to make a great impact in the changing scenario - Big Data Analytics...

15/02 - FEATURE - Kunal Agarwal/Unravel Data - Big data or die - How are we going to get through the door to data nirvana if the key lies just beyond our grasp?

05/02 - FEATURE - New year’s resolutions for business looking to leverage big data in 2019 - We’ve spoken to two industry experts to get the skinny on why leveraging Big Data should be the main New Year’s resolution for businesses of all sizes...

12/12 - FEATURE - Mark Dunn/Nexis Solutions - Unlocking the potential of Big Data - As machine learning and predictive analytics become more sophisticated, companies can base decisions on evidence, and deep learning will push the boundaries even more, with better problem-solving and language comprehension. Are you ready?

09/10 - FEATURE - Russell Karp/DataArt - How sports teams, athletes and fans reap the rewards of big data - Sports organisations are investing heavily in data-driven decision-making all the way from the players to the stadium experience itself...

02/10 - NEWS - Splunk: How the big data revolution can change your business for good - Big data experts reveal raft of new releases to help businesses everywhere get the most out of their data...

02/10 - FEATURE - Nick Felton/MHR Analytics - The big data wave: sink or swim? - Everyone knows that shrewd technology investment can save you money, but why should this area above all others receive such a major boost in a time of potential crisis?

26/09 - FEATURE - Evangelos Tzimopoulos/Brickendon - Big Data: changing the future of business models - Big data is no longer just a trend that can be ignored...

24/09 - FEATURE - Bertram Schulte/SAP - Three key benefits of using Big Data in B2B E-commerce - Here are three key benefits businesses can capitalise on by applying big data to e-commerce strategies...

13/09 - FEATURE - Vikash Kumar/Tatvasoft Australia - 7 key features of big data analytics tools to take into account - Do you think that managing massive amounts of data is a situation that threatens to outstrip your technical ability? Well, in that case, one requires simplifying data architecture (both structured and unstructured data) by conducting effective strategies in place. Here’s when big data comes into play!

06/09 - FEATURE - Peter Kürpick/HERE Technologies - The big data collaboration: for the many, not the few - The future does not belong to the closed data depositories of tech titans. Instead, the rise of disruptive players points toward a new reality...

03/07 - FEATURE - Sergey Bludov/DataArt - Can Big Data analytics save the eBook market or is the kindle dwindle impossible to prevent? - By adopting big data analytics, publishers can gain insight into the current and future preferences of their customers...

16/05 - FEATURE - Kirill Eremenko/SuperDataScience - Embracing big data requires a cultural shift, but the results are worth the effort - Companies that adopt and take advantage of big data analytics now will be better equipped for our data driven future...

11/05 - FEATURE - Rakesh Patel/eTatvaSoft - Big data science and analytics is the big lure in business schools - The demand for courses in big data and analytics is driven by a rise in lucrative job opportunities advertised for those with the qualifications...

30/04 - FEATURE - Brendan Gulston/LivingBridge Equity Funds - Big data’s not just for the big players: how software SMEs can succeed in a fast-growing market - SMEs can apply their detailed knowledge to offer uniquely tailored big data solutions...

05/04 - FEATURE - Clemens Weis & Christoph Schmierer/Reply - Predicting new models of manufacturing with big data - Businesses can save money by using big data to predict exactly how their tools may malfunction...

09/03 - NEWS - Sigfox - Why “little big data” could be the next IoT trend - Driving down the cost of IoT is the key to taking connected technology worldwide, Sigfox CTO tells ITProPortal...

07/02 - FEATURE - Fox Holt/Delphy - Reducing economic uncertainty through the power of big data - By harnessing the power of big data, businesses can predict the future of economic markets to make better decisions...

21/12 - FEATURE - Duncan Micklem/KBC - Big data and cloud skills – the key to a prosperous career in the energy industry? - For the next generation of engineers in energy and chemicals, opportunities are bountiful and exciting...

29/11 - FEATURE - Darren Watkins/Virtus Data Centres - When big data is a big headache: addressing the challenges to reap rewards - The real issue is more fundamental than “who owns the data” – and still sits with the IT savvy within an organisation...

09/11 - FEATURE - Chris Walters/NetMotion Software - Big mobile data: Hanging on the line - As mobile device adoption increases in the workplace, organisations must ensure that employees can seamlessly access their data from anywhere...

01/11 - FEATURE - Partha Sen/Fuzzy Logix - Big Data: Drilling for value - Blindly adopting a big data strategy can do more harm than good for your organisiation...

26/10 - FEATURE - IBM - Why Watson Data Platform can be the iTunes for your Big Data - IBM tells us why Watson Data Platform can be the OS for the modern data-hungry company...

26/09 - NEWS - Splunk bets on machine learning to boost the next generation of big data - Machine learning-powered operational intelligence could be your business' next step to success...

21/09 - FEATURE - Dan Hubert/AppyParking - How big data will revolutionise driving - Big data will help lay the foundations for smart cities and in turn support the development of autonomous vehicles...

18/09 - FEATURE - Dhrumit Shukla/TatvaSoft - Big data analytics is a great help in boosting the software development project - A software development company provides effective development services. With technology constantly evolving, a lot of systems have been integrated into the development process...

15/09 - FEATURE - Ritesh Mehta/TatvaSoft Australia - The integration of Big Data and Microsoft .NET for software development - Companies of all sizes have started to recognise the value of big data collections and the need to take advantage of them...

01/09 - FEATURE - Neil Barton/WhereScape - 5 steps to realising the promise of big data - The lustre of Big Data is starting to be tarnished by the failure of too many organisations to realise its value...

25/08 - FEATURE - Stephanie Augier/IRI - Can retailers and manufacturers turn big data into smart data? - Gaining access to an increasing amount of data does not necessarily lead to better decision-making...

17/08 - FEATURE - Chris Proctor/Oneserve - Why businesses need to take advantage of Big Data, IoT and AI now - With the rate of progress only getting faster, there is no better time for businesses to delve deeper into what the holy tech trinity can do for their future growth...

10/08 - FEATURE - Colin Riddle/Timico - The importance of big data and analytics in the era of digital transformation - As organisations begin their digital transformation journey, big data and analytics can play a key role in it being a success...

19/07 - FEATURE: Matt Barsby/G-Research - Big data and the real world: Can visualisations help bring the two together? - The amount of data being collected has increased significantly but it provides little use unless it can be interpreted...

13/07 - FEATURE: Philip Woods/KRCS Group Ltd - Why Big Data demands new technology - Taking the time to understand and utilise big data analytics could transform how your business operates...

10/07 - FEATURE: Carol McDonald/MapR Technologies - Five big data trends in healthcare - Healthcare providers and executives are utilising big data to improve patient outcomes while lowering costs - these are some of the major trends around today. ..

07/07 - FEATURE - Why mapping could be the key to unlocking your data's potential - As businesses deal with higher amounts of data, how can you make the most of the torrent of information created every day?

06/07 - NEWS FEATURE: Ron Beck/AspenTech - How Big Data can enhance refining reliability - Data analytics has significant potential across the downstream sector - here’s a closer look at how the energy industry is utilising data analytics to improve uptime and efficiency…

05/05 - FEATURE: Martin Willcox/Teradata - Businesses and the Big Data Skills Gap: A global challenge - The way we work is transforming at an extraordinary rate, but the success of the digital economy depends on businesses being able to hire and retain skilled data-literate workers...

03/05 - FEATURE: Jon Roughley/Experian - Building business: How Big Data is driving demand for new skills - The role of the data scientist is evolving, and organisations are in need of professionals who can take on data organisation...

02/05 - NEWS - Big data now a $57 billion market - New report says that investments in big data are expected to grow at a CAGR of roughly 10 per cent over the next four years, reaching $76 billion by the end of 2020... 

19/04 - FEATURE: Ravi Dharnikota/SnapLogic - Will the cloud save big data? - Employees up and down the value chain are eager to dive into big data, but in many ways, big data is in the midst of transition…

You can read all our big data stories here

(Image credit: Image Credit: Everything Possible / Shutterstock)

What is Big Data? 

In a world that is rapidly becoming smarter and more connected, huge amounts of information are being generated and uploaded to the internet every day. This data can often hold incredibly useful insights for businesses, hiding information on such areas as customer habits, data trends, and much more.

Data now comes in many forms, ranging from website cookies to social media posts, which means that processing this information is not easy. The unstructured nature of data in the modern world has led to the rise of ever-more advanced analytics programs attempting to make sense of the data deluge.

Broadly speaking, Big Data refers to these datasets, that are so large that they can no longer be processed through traditional methods of analysis.

The goal of Big Data analytics is to generate insights that translate into tangible business benefits. These could be relating to real-time events or even future trends. 

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Mikko Lemola)

Big Data FAQWhat industries can benefit from big data? 

As companies in nearly every major industry sector are now becoming more connected, the potential of big data is being realised across the world. Due to the sheer scale of data being created every day, there is no real limit to what businesses can benefit from the technology.

Although traditional technology companies were among the first to fully embrace the idea of big data, insights are now common across a wide range of industries, including healthcare, transport, retail, marketing and many others.

Who are some of the big players in the big data sector? 

Due to the incredibly wide range of use cases and benefits that big data can bring, the area has attracted a lot of attention.

With analytics and infrastructure proving particularly lucrative, many of the world’s biggest and most famous computing companies have flocked to ensure their services can deal with the challenges big data bring. From IBM to SAP, and Oracle to SAS, it’s hard to find a major technology firm that isn’t involved with big data in some way.

However the industry is also a great opportunity for start-ups and growing businesses to demonstrate new and novel ways of analysing and utilising mountains of data

Can big data save my business money? 

Although effective Big Data analysis does require some financial investment, it could save your business significant sums in the long run. 

Manufacturing firms, for example, are now using analytics to better assess the lifespan of their equipment, so that it is only replaced when necessary. By analysing vast quantities of sensor information, businesses can get a better idea of when a component is likely to fail and when it still has plenty of life left in it. 

Is gathering and analysing big data legal? 

Many of the challenges facing organisations centre around data collection, and specifically whether the public are made aware of when their data is being collected and what it is being used for. We now live in an age where so much information about our daily lives is widely available. Smartphones keep a constant record of our location, our social media profiles record our likes and dislikes and application permissions often ask for more data than is seemingly necessary. 

Businesses that are overzealous with their data collection risk alienating their customers. A number of studies have been conducted that evaluate when customers are willing for their data to be used and when they are not. 

How can my business securely store big data? 

Big Data has meant that organisations are storing more consumer information than ever before, some of it of a highly sensitive nature. 

This increases the fallout of any data breaches, so companies must ensure that their security protocols are robust enough to safeguard valuable information. In addition, businesses should be careful not to share customer data with third parties without public consent. Businesses that sell on consumer data can experience reputational damage if that data is then used irresponsibly. 

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/Carlos Amarillo)

Big Data resources 

Oracle what is big data? - An overview of the big data landscape from one of the world’s most important tech firms

Github big data repository - A collection of some of the best online tools to get you started with big data 

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