How did it become a driving force?
It all starts with the explosion in the amount of data we have generated since the dawn of the digital age. This is largely due to the rise of computers, the Internet and technology capable of capturing data from the world we live in. Data in itself isn’t a new invention. Going back even before computers and databases, we had paper transaction records, customer records and archive files – all of which are data. Computers, and particularly spreadsheets and databases, gave us a way to store and organise data on a large scale, in an easily accessible way. Suddenly, information was available at the click of a mouse.
We’ve come a long way since early spreadsheets and databases, though. Today, every two days we create as much data as we did from the beginning of time until 2000. That’s right, every two days. And the amount of data we’re creating continues to increase rapidly; by 2020, the amount of digital information available will have grown from around 5 zettabytes today to 50 zettabytes.
Nowadays, almost every action we take leaves a digital trail. We generate data whenever we go online, when we carry our GPS-equipped smartphones, when we communicate with our friends through social media or chat applications, and when we shop. You could say we leave digital footprints with everything we do that involves a digital action, which is almost everything.
Multi-structured data refers to a variety of data formats and types and can be derived from interactions between people and machines, such as web applications or social networks. A great example is web log data, which includes a combination of text and visual images along with structured data like form or transactional information.
On top of this, the amount of machine-generated data is rapidly growing too. Data is generated and shared when our “smart” home devices communicate with each other or with their home servers. Industrial machinery in plants and factories around the world are increasingly equipped with sensors that gather and transmit data.
The term “Big Data” refers to the collection of all this data and our ability to use it to our advantage across a wide range of areas, including business.
Explain the historical events leading to it.