With the proliferation of social media, the ease of digital transaction processing, and mass adoption of mobile technology, the amount of data transmitted per second is near incalculable–which is precisely why it’s called “Big Data.” Big data is generally defined as “a collection of data sets so large and complex that it becomes difficult to process using on-hand database management tools or traditional data processing applications.” (Wikipedia)
IBM reports that there are 12 terabytes of Tweets posted each day. This is big data just on Twitter, alone. People, consumers, are posting 12 terabytes of personal information that can be studied by policy makers, retailers, insurers, employers, advertisers, researchers, and more.
Think about all the customer loyalty cards you have floating in your purse or on your keychain–that information about your shopping habits is used to predict future behaviors in order to make better-informed decisions that increase a company’s profits. If you’re like me you have approximately 23 cards you know about and probably 107 more long-forgotten ones floating around your house. In other words, you yourself are likely to contribute to big data in a big way.
Why should you care? McKinsey Global Institute recently released “Big data: the next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity” which explains things much better than I could ever hope to do. Their observations include ways to get value out of big data, identifying which sectors will gain most, talent shortages, and more.
You’re not going to get away from “Big Data” any time soon–and you thought you were tired of hearing “Fiscal Cliff”.