Big data or massive data refers to such large data sets that they exceed the capacity of traditional computer applications to deal with them in a reasonable time.
Big data consists of developing mechanisms capable of processing and managing massive data that comes from various sources and is used to find repetitive patterns, predictive models or more precise statistics within those millions of data. Ultimately, the goal is to process this data to convert it into information capable of being interpreted by humans and to help them make decisions.
Where does big data come from?
Every step we take or every move we make generates information that can be processed by big data. The sources of data generation and supplies are greater and more varied every day, such as:
- Transactions between individuals and organizations: Bank movements, billing, calls, email crossing …
- Daily actions of people : sending whatsapp, updating social networks, geolocation of our mobile phones, visits to websites, advertisements …
- Machines: There are a multitude of instruments that constantly emit data such as temperature sensors, light, sound, GPS, bracelets that emit data on the sleep of each individual, steps walked, pulsations, instruments of physical and chemical measurements …
- Biometrics: Fingerprint readers, retina scanners, DNA scanners … and other elements that are part of security and defense.
Data can be obtained:
- Structured: Those that have the fields defined, such as, for example, the databases where each field contains; province, phone, name … These are stored in predefined tables.
- Unstructured: Those that lack a standard format and cannot be classified, such as a freely written text. Natural language processing must be applied to interpret the content and extract data that can be managed.
What is done with the extracted data?
With all the data generated through software, APP, websites and other tools, it is stored in the cloud. Each company or big data specialist develops algorithms capable of processing information and crossing the data that are of interest at all times. Through these mechanisms, behavior patterns are identified to later generate predictive models based on historical and almost immediate data.
This supply of information is used or bought by all those interested who can help them in their decision-making.
What are the benefits of big data?
These are the main sectors where big data has had a great influence:
- Health: Monitoring of vital signs to improve quality of life. Through bracelets that analyze data about our lifestyle, we can be able to avoid sedentary lifestyle, detect abnormalities in the pulsations, in the dream…. And help medical researchers make predictions with data about people’s health.
- Banking and insurance: Financial institutions and insurance companies already use the monitoring and crossing of customer data, with operations carried out, behaviors, etc. that allows them to predict customer movements, segmenting them according to their behavior and level of risk. These segments will allow offering more suitable products to each client according to their needs and reducing the risk of non-payment that they may incur.
- Geolocation and transport: Thanks to big data in real time, there are applications capable of configuring faster routes, with less traffic, public transport routes … This will save drivers time and money, as well as reduce pollution levels and road saturation.
- Business development: The generation of big data on issues of production, distribution, sales, billing, etc. that companies generate, can be crossed and managed to predict business behavior. With this data, it is possible to analyze the competition and adapt to the business, as well as generate synergies or discover new business opportunities. All the information that is generated will help business decision making and reduce uncertainty.
- Human resources: Big data and artificial intelligence can also be applied to the field of human resources. In terms of selection, automatic database filters can be used to obtain those profiles that best suit a specific position and reduce the time spent on curriculum screening. Through performance evaluations, productivity levels can be measured in order to optimize the time and results of each employee with the job.
- Marketing and sales: Every time we surf the internet we leave a trace, that is, we generate millions of data that can be crossed and analyzed for various purposes. The big data that we generate can be used to improve the usability of the websites, optimize advertising, identify the most profitable sales channels and carry out segmented campaigns according to the tastes of each individual through SEM positioning, extract market studies that help to change advertising or commercial strategy …
- Industrial, chemical or meteorological processes: Through sensors that measure temperature, pressure, atmospheric conditions … infinity of data can be extracted with multiple applications in the field of scientific and industrial research.
- Detect criminal activity: Thanks to the big data that we generate, criminal acts, criminal content, message crossing, identification of psychological profiles of a certain region can be identified, etc. In the US they have already tested this system and are getting data and conclusions that until now they were unaware by traditional methods.
- Policy: By crossing data in social networks, with the location and social profiles of those who publish content, it is possible to identify what concerns citizens, what their interests, problems … and use that information to develop a tailored political campaign and win the vote of citizens.
Ultimately, organizations can benefit from the use of big data to identify new business opportunities, optimize their processes, reduce costs and increase revenues. For anyone, big data can improve their lifestyle, help predict diseases that can be cured earlier, improve their user experience on the web, when it comes to consuming advertising and simply looking for a job. In this article we can see in more detail how big data is changing our lives.
Big data challenges
We live in the information age where society is becoming more digital every day and the value of big data is increasing every day. Its multiple applications and sources of data collection are growing at exponential rates.
One of the main challenges of society is to create a regulatory framework about this new concept, where individuals are aware of where the data that we generate is going, where we want it to arrive, how and for what purposes.
One of the professions of the future, without a doubt, is the expert in big data and business intelligence. It is a new field where there is much to discover, to analyze and experts in the field are needed.