By definition, big data refers to a volume of data which has become so large that it has become almost impossible for a conventional computer tool, let alone for a human brain, to analyse it.

To qualify as “Big Data Data”, the data must meet four criteria:

  • Volume (more or less massive)
  • Variety (their nature and level of structure are often unclear)
  • Velocity (of production, collection and analysis)
  • Veracity (more difficult to verify)

 

The emergence of Big Data

As a consequence of social networks and the the digitalisation of interactions, companies have access to infinite data for studying the behaviour of their consumers.

Governments, too, are turning to Big Data. In order to encourage the creation of applications for the general public, administrations have embarked on an open data policy.

Transforming Big Data into Smart Data

The real problem companies face is how to transform these vast masses of data, Big Data, into information.

How should it be translated? Getting the data to “talk” is first and foremost a matter of business strategy, the analysis only comes in after that. Implementing a policy of massive data retention without having defined how this data will ultimately be read serves no other purpose than filling a bottomless pit of hard drives.

What is the point of keeping the transaction history of each customer indefinitely? Would it not be better to keep a record of their recent transactions and, more importantly, identify their consumption profile and evolutions? Identifying a punctual customer provides information; identifying a loyal customer provides a different piece of information; the move from punctual to loyal offers yet another. This is exploitable. Beyond a certain period, storing a transaction history is not only useless, it also costs money.

The different applications of Big Data

The field of application of Big Data is also unlimited.

Businesses use Big Data to offer complementary sales to an Internet user on an e-commerce site; Big Data is used to refine marketing targetings in order to segment the customer and prospect database and thus personalise their actions and interactions with them; Big Data enables sales representatives to make offers which are better suited to a particular consumption pattern, etc. Outside the corporate realm, Big Data is also used in the fight against crime, etc.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is coming to the aid of Big Data

As stated in the definition of Big Data, the volume of the data is a key concept. Often, traditional computer systems are not able to process such significant volumes of information.

This is when Artificial Intelligence comes into play. This superior intelligence, capable of learning from experience, is able to immerse itself in the data so as to identify its value and prompt human beings to make the right decisions, while allowing them to save time.

 

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