Big data - Statistics & Facts

'Big data' refers to data sets that are too large or too complex for traditional data processing applications. Additionally, the term is often used to refer to predictive analytics or other methods of extracting value from data. To benefit from big data, businesses need several things, including raw storage and processing power, as well as strong analytics capabilities and skills. In 2015, annual revenue from the global big data market was put in the region of 22 billion U.S. dollars, with predictions suggesting this could double in size within the next four years. The largest share of big data revenue stems from professional services, representing almost 40 percent of the market, with the big data compute and storage segments trailing some way behind. Some of the largest providers of big data services include IBM, SAP, Oracle, Hewlett Packard, and Accenture.


Not every piece of data will make its way into the big data ecosystem, nor is all data useful, but a number of figures already suggest at the challenge of finding useful data amongst the rest. In 2015, mobile data traffic was measured at 3.7 exabytes (3.7 billion gigabytes) a month and is showing no signs of slowing down. That same year, cloud computing traffic was estimated at approximately 106 exabytes per month in North America alone. Furthermore, while the Internet of Things is expected to connect the digital and physical worlds through a network of sensors, the number of connected devices speaks to the amount of data that may need to be processed: some forecasts put the number of connected devices worldwide as high as 50 billion by 2020.

At present, big data is most likely to be used in the areas of marketing, sales, IT, and finance; however, as the reliability of big data improves, businesses see further, long-term opportunities for big data in the areas of risk management and logistics. Nonetheless, some caution is required as big data is not without its challenges. These challenges range from maintaining the quality of data to complying with domestic and international laws governing the use of data. Businesses that rely on poor quality data risk wasting time, losing sales, and lowering their margins due to inefficiency.

One other industry benefiting from the growth of big data is that of cloud computing. The amount of processing power and/or storage required to make use of big data is such that many businesses have taken to hosting and processing their big data sets in the cloud. In one survey, 69 percent of respondents said that their organization used cloud technology for data storage and backup, while 56 percent said their organization was using cloud computing for data analytics.

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Big data - Important statistics

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