Choosing the best place to open a new store or place an ATM, knowing what blog users read and how they do it, optimizing the use of a machine in an assembly line, improving the production of a centenary wine are all part of the Big data. In this article, we will analyze what it is, what is its true importance, and what potential it has for large and small companies.
What is Big Data?
In the digital world, everything leaves a trace of data. So many zeros and ones accumulate that it is already difficult to keep track. Some time ago, we stopped being surprised, but every minute that passes, 900,000 accesses to Facebook are produced worldwide, 46,200 posts are uploaded to Instagram, and 15,000 gifs are sent via Messenger. And that without counting the information generated by our devices.
Data geolocation, social networks, movement, use of credit cards, and all generate data about us. It is not that these data are public, but whoever has them in their hands has access to the new gold of the Internet. Big Data is the true power of the connected world - a power hat many companies use to make new business, but also to optimize and gain efficiency.
Big Data has many definitions because, in reality, it encompasses many things. Under this term, everything that has to do with massive amounts of data is grouped, from its collection and storage to analysis and visualization, through artificial intelligence.
The power of Big Data
Big Data, traditionally, is defined through volume (2.5 million Terabytes are generated per hour, according to IBM), speed (every hour), variety (the data comes from many different sources, most of them unstructured), and reliability (information we can trust). But what is the use? Its power resides in a fifth characteristic, which gains more and more strength: intelligence.
This is what is known as Smart Data, data that helps in decision making, and that adds value. That is, information that, once analyzed, can be used by anyone to make better decisions to achieve a series of competitive advantages such as:
- Improve customer relationship
- Gain efficiency in information technology operations
- Reduce business risks
- Improve process operation and reduce costs
- Define new models, businesses or processes for the future
The true potential of Big Data
Until now, we have wandered around more or less general concepts and definitions. These are some of the concrete uses of Big Data, its true potential shown through companies that are already putting it into practice.
- Enhance decision making and production process. More and more factories are betting on Big Data to be more competitive. Some companies now use the data obtained at the factory, through sensors installed in machines, to optimize their processes. In addition, all this information improves decision making and, above all, decentralized.
- Enhance clients' and businesses' relationship. Knowing the consumer is key to any business. Through Big Data analysis, you can customize your experience, analyze your motivations, and get better assistance in customers' retention.
- Increase the competitiveness of traditional industries. Sectors that are considered less innovative, such as agriculture, are also applying Data analytics to be more competitive. Today, many farms are committed to the accuracy of their crops and the improvement of product quality. This is achieved by adjusting the amounts of water and fertilizers in detail, creating microcultures depending on the terrain, anticipating weather changes, and even predicting crops.
Data science is also for small and medium businesses. Through a multitude of tools of which many of them free, an SME can know who enters, when they enter, how they enter, why they enter, and what users do on their website or how they interact on social networks. And, most importantly, you can carry out a complete registration and analysis of all business-customer transactions, from the first contact to the final sale.
A new industry, a new intelligence
New technologies and companies have grown in the heat of Big Data. Data is the gasoline of artificial intelligence, which is, in fact, a great goal in the near future for most companies that use Big Data. Artificial intelligence will be able to do everything we have seen and will do it automatically, with little or no human supervision.
In addition, in this path towards the intelligent management of massive data, many actors have been reinforced from historical international giants, such as IBM or Microsoft, to new companies, such as Tableau and Wavefront.
In 2020, the global Big Data market will exceed $ 200 billion. According to the IDC consultancy, this is almost double that in 2016. A data scientist is one of the most demanded professions of the decade and probably will continue to be in the first half of the century, and data science companies are in high demand. In addition, the volume of data will not stop growing when cars, refrigerators, bus stops, or clothing are connected to the Internet. Big Data extends beyond new and traditional industries, large companies, and small businesses, technologies, and processes. Big Data is a way of understanding (and taking advantage of) the hyperconnected world we are creating.