Data Integration Buyer's Guide

Explaining Big Data to Grandma

Big Data Betty White

One of the things that makes Big Data so interesting is that it transcends demographics, professions, cultures, and for the sake of this post; age. Big Data was introduced to the masses years ago as a ravenous buzz word that tore its way through every industry; technology related or otherwise. Now, it’s been put into practice in virtually every aspect of commerce, government, scientific research, education, and healthcare. Since Big Data has been integrated into so many aspects of modern life, it can be a difficult topic to wrap your head around. This is especially true for those who don’t work in the technology sector.

If you can explain Big Data to your grandmother, you can explain it to anyone.

Put simply, Big Data is the analysis of very large amounts of data, things we refer to as data sets, in order to reveal patterns which can lead to insights. Advances in technology in recent years have attributed to this explosion in data. Specifically, an exponential increase in the kinds of data that organizations now find useful to pick apart. In addition, Big Data continues to be created on a grand scale by smart chips, sensors, and of course, the internet. What makes Big Data possible is our newfound ability to capture what we collect, something that has never before been possible.

We do more digitally now than ever before, whether it be shopping for bed sheets on Amazon, using Twitter as a customer service engine or waiting for the traffic light at the end of your street (which is embedded with a traffic sensor) to turn green. All of this data is now collected and stored for analysis. Thus, the creation of Big Data.

Traditionally, data scientists would organize data by type. However, given the pure girth of data in our modern world, organizing it this way has become increasingly difficult. There are basically an endless amount of data types. They include transaction numbers, social media analytics, chip and sensor data, real-time information streaming from sensor-equipped devices, and an infinity of others. The mass collection of all of this data has created a need for a new medium of information gathering. As a result, we have seen Big Data become a prominent, if not vital part of information gathering in our world today.

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