One of today’s biggest buzzwords is Big Data. But what exactly does it mean? And where does Big Data start? As a data-driven company, we’d like to give you a quick introduction to the world of Big Data – and tell you how it can be good for your business.
What is Big Data? Maybe we should start by defining when data is big. Of course opinions vary but one common definition is that data are big when they don’t fit onto one disk – and that means anything in excess of 5 terabyte (TB). But what does a number like that mean in practice? If Google were to catalogue and index all the books in the world, it would be impossible to load all this data onto a single data. That’s certainly Big Data.
Big Data have been around for some time but it’s only in recent years that the advances in computing power and artificial intelligence (AI) have made data science a really useful discipline that enables Big Data to be put to good use. Physics, and in particular astrophysics, was one of the fields where Big Data were first collected and, interestingly enough, many data scientists used to be post-doc physicists.
So how does data science work? Put simply, it involves taking raw data and processing it to produce a data set from which statistical models can be developed, analyses undertaken or machine learning predictions generated. Based on these findings, data scientists can develop data-driven products and/or communicate what they’ve learned via reports, blogs or visualisations. Good data science teams – and data scientists usually work in teams – have a number of skills: knowing which questions to ask; interpreting the data collected well; and understanding the structure of data. This is what is known as substantive expertise. And that’s what we’ve got at FleetMon – as well as lots of Big Data. We process 3,500 AIS reports per second – that’s 300 million a day – and store over 100 TB of raw AIS data or around 410 billion reports in all! And what good is that for your business? As a FleetMon customer you can view every single AIS report for the past three years or so. And that’s just one way you benefit from our Big Data.