What is big data analytics?

What is big data analytics?

Big data analytics is the use of advanced analytic techniques against very large, diverse big data sets that include structured, semi-structured and unstructured data, from different sources, and in different sizes from terabytes to zettabytes.

What is big data exactly? It can be defined as data sets whose size or type is beyond the ability of traditional relational databases to capture, manage and process the data with low latency. Characteristics of big data include high volume, high velocity and high variety. Sources of data are becoming more complex than those for traditional data because they are being driven by artificial intelligence (AI), mobile devices, social media and the Internet of Things (IoT). For example, the different types of data originate from sensors, devices, video/audio, networks, log files, transactional applications, web and social media — much of it generated in real time and at a very large scale.

With big data analytics, you can ultimately fuel better and faster decision-making, modelling and predicting of future outcomes and enhanced business intelligence. As you build your big data solution, consider open source software such as Apache Hadoop, Apache Spark and the entire Hadoop ecosystem as cost-effective, flexible data processing and storage tools designed to handle the volume of data being generated today.

Examples of big data analytics in industries


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Healthcare big data analytics drive quicker responses to emerging diseases and improve direct patient care, the customer experience, and administrative, insurance and payment processing.

Financial services

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Financial services

Financial analytics improve customer targeting using customer analytics. Businesses can make better informed underwriting decisions and provide better claims management while mitigating risk and fraud.

Communications service providers

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Communications service providers (CSPs)

CSPs can use big data analytics to optimize network monitoring, management and performance to help mitigate risk and reduce costs. They can also use analytics to improve customer targeting and service.


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