Interest in Big Data Increasing

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Big data, as we know it, hit the scene in about 2001 so it is nothing new. Companies have been gathering this data for years, but recently there has been an explosion of interest in it like it's a brand new thing. This is mainly due to the fact that there are now new ways of analyzing the data.

Big data started out as a way to store a ton of information, but now it has transformed into something where companies are trying to use it in any way they can to benefit from it in different ways. So here is a list of a few reasons why this is happening.

1. Unstructured data is now readily available

Unlike traditional business insight that analyzes structured data, big data focuses on the unstructured data. This includes emails, videos, photos and posts on social networking sites. Millions of photos get uploaded to Facebook, millions of tweets go out every day, and businesses can use this information to understand their customers better. This helps with suggested sales and such.

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2. It has become incredibly cheap to store huge amounts of data

Unstructured data is becoming more pervasive, but tools like Hadoop, which is an open-source framework for storing large scale data, have developed so much in the last ten years or so. These type of tools underpin data processing for some of the worlds largest businesses with the most amount of data to store. It can take care of unstructured data way faster and way cheaper than the generation of tools that came before them.

3. Not only is it now cheaper to process all of this data, but companies are getting usable information out of it

Retail stores are really taking advantage of big data right now. You might ask what they are getting from it. Good question. They are using customer loyalty cards to gather information. This is a really good way to figure out what they sell and what to stock. Like for example, they might not stock a whole lot of low cost generic food brands... But if they see that their customers who spend the most at their store tend to buy it, then guess what they are going to stock more of? Low cost generic foods.

Loyalty cards and even debit cards really give a huge insight to each individual customer. There was a huge story about this last year actually. A Target customer got really mad when they sent his young daughter coupons to buy baby clothes. Because of the things she was buying, when they processed the data, it seemed like she might be expecting a baby soon. It seems like kind of a mess up on their part, but it's actually really smart overall.

4. Big data analytics could lead to productivity gains in four sectors

If big data analytics go mainstream then retail chains and manufacturing companies could see a huge increase of $325 billion to their annual GDP thanks to increased efficiency. Healthcare and other government services could also see a ton of productivity gains as well, as much as $285 billion in the next five years.

5. Big data analytics saw a huge increase in venture capitalist funding in the last 12 months

Venture capitalists have started to check out the possibilities with big data analytics as well. In the last year alone, they have invested about $1.37 billion into different companies. This is an increase of 217% above the last period. This is because big data is now enterprise ready, analytics tools are open to pretty much anyone and can be used very easily, and all of the analyzing can be done in real time.

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