A little word with a broad meaning

The big discussion during Week 7 of our class discussion for ICC 602 was about big data. According to an article written by my classmate, Jenna, that question is one that yields a variety of responses. In her article “What Is Big Data”? Jenna interviewed top leaders in a variety of industries inquiring about what big data means to them. To the surprise of Jenna, the answers varied extensively. Essentially, you can ask multiple people their definition and you can expect to get twenty different answers.

When my classmates and I were asked to define big data the answers were essentially the same but I believe that was due to the definitions we were giving during our asynchronous work that week. Big data is a little word that has left many people staring blankly into space searching for a proper definition. One classmate stated big data means “a lot of information and using that massive data mining to analyze information looking for patterns and trying to draw conclusions” based on that information. Another classmates stated that big data mean “a lot of powerful data”.

Our breakout discussion for this week was about how big data has changed in a variety of industries from the past to the present. Initially I thought this would be a simple question to answer until I realized just how much has changed. One group discussed changes in the banking/financial industry. When we think in the past we had go into the bank personally to make a deposit. Today we can make deposits from anywhere using mobile apps and other online features.

Another group discussed the education field and how schools utilize the big data received such as demographic information to fulfill admission quotas “to be eligible for government programs, spending, etc.” Group 3 discussed Health & Fitness which I believe is one of the main industries that stands the greatest risk with dealing with big data. My classmates discussed how previously all health records were kept in-house at the medical/dental offices. Today everything is kept electronically which would cause a huge privacy issue if this information in hacked.

Big data affects every area of our lives. The information we provide on the simplest of questionnaires is being stored and analyzed for use in a variety of industries. We discussed the 3 V’s of data mining which helped me better understand big data. Volume references the amount of information to be analyzed (How much). Velocity is the “the increasing rate at which data flows” basically (how fast) the data is processed. Finally we have variety which is the different forms of data. I believe big data is a complex term but the 3 V’s definitely help me better understand the concept.


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