Guest article by James Trumper:

Big data is hard to get your head around. Every single day, we’re responsible for the creation of 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – that’s 2500,000 trillion bytes, or 10 million blu-ray discs’ worth of data. Stacked up, this would measure as high as four Eiffel Towers on top of each other.
It’s how we capture, process, store and analyse data to optimise our lives – and the amount is growing every day. The benefits of big data include better access to, handling of and implementation of information it provides. In healthcare, for instance, this means you can collect niche datasets such as sleep duration and quality, as well as daily steps taken.

Organised into useful weekly, monthly and yearly snippets of insight, you can then compare with others around the world. Then, this data can be used to our advantage – to collate whether how far you walk every day is likely to improve your quality of sleep, for instance. Similar insights can be gained on household bills and finance, travel tendencies and shopping preferences, to name just a few.

The mammoth scale is somewhat hard to get your head around, so we’re going to run through this great infographic for an update on the burgeoning world of big data.

First thing’s first, 90% of the world’s data today has been created in the last two years alone, growing four times faster than the world economy. That might be because the number of people who have access to the Internet today is equal to that of the world’s population in 1960 – at three billion.

Every minute, these users are creating more and more data, including:

  • 216,000 Instagram posts
  • 277,000 tweets
  • 204,000,000 emails sent
  • 72 hours of footage uploaded to YouTube

90% of the data generated is unstructured. In addition to the data above, it includes click streams, log files, audio, photos, customer purchase history, service call logs and much more.

Why big data matters

But what does the sheer amount of data mean? Well, it can help improve our daily lives. Indeed, there has been a bit of a self-tracking phenomenon taking off in recent years. Being able to actively enter data or have it passively recorded means individuals can track sleep patterns, eating habits and emotional health, amongst other things.

Of those taking up tracking their health and wellbeing, almost half in the UK say they’ve experienced “strong behavioural change.” In the US, 34% of self-trackers say the practice affected a health decision. It’s clear that big data can affect our life choices.

It can also help us save money. By monitoring energy use in the home, for instance, we could be encouraged to make reductions and pocket the difference. On the go, we can track the fuel performance of our cars, and airlines have started to use customer data to improve customer service. All in all, it’s good news for consumers.

Other online retailers have started offering relevant deals to individuals too, all based on data collected. Once you start digging, you’ll see the benefits of big data everywhere.

Read the full infographic to find out more about how big data benefits economic development, understanding crime, urban transport and more.

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James Trumper

Posted by James Trumper

James Trumper is a freelance graphic designer originally from Leeds, now living in London. He left the comfortable surroundings of his hometown for the South three years ago and is now a fully fledged participant in the rat race. When he is not designing infographics he enjoys cycling around the city, as well as catching up with friends and drinking mainly in the Peckham area. With London being such an expensive place to live, he is always hunting for ways to save money, which is one of the reasons why he enjoys working with companies like vouchercloud.

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