Types of Big Data – Structured and Unstructured

One could find many random articles on Big Data but still very few understand it in the actual sense. Other than that, only few are those who will know it in deep, others have just a basic idea. Most middle to large scale businesses are using it because of its so many advantages. But before knowing of what Big Data is, it would be too soon to jump into its other details.

what is Big data? The Four V's of Big data

Big Data

The term Big Data is used for those data sets which could no longer be handled by traditional data processing application software because of rising size and complexity. It is high time that the large volumes of data, both Structured and Unstructured, is handled by something which sounds more flexible, reliable, and as well tackles consistent challenges like querying, updating, sharing, transferring, capturing, storing, visualizing, analyzing, including the privacy and what not!

Both types of organizations, whether it belongs to the government or is a private sector, big data is a necessity because of the data increment and the difficulty faced by such organizations to handle such enormous data. But before these organizations decide they must also know what strategies they must adapt.

Unstructured Data

It is that kind of data which traditionally does not have any organized row-column format. For instance, email texts, images, audio files, video files, presentations, webpages, and any kind of multimedia or business contents. These kinds of contents do not fit neatly into a database. In order to sustain in the competitive environment, it is an essential step for managing the unstructured data in such a way that one could extract even the most difficult information at any given point; which is why most organizations would go to any extent in designing their software with a flexible format as much as possible. They do this also because they believe that their unstructured information keeps valuable data which could help them make better decisions. The unstructured data is growing rapidly and most organizations are quite aware of that; they thus efficiently make utmost use of the available space and extend as well, if required.

Big Data : Unstructured data and its types

It is estimated that Unstructured data comprises of 80 to 90 percent of the total data in each organization. It is also predicted that the Unstructured data will always be growing in count much rapidly as compared to its Structured counterpart.

The Unstructured data is further divided into – Captured and User Generated data.

Captured data is passively based on user’s behavior. For instance, if someone types something on the search bar through Google, it is captured at the moment to have a basic research on what’s on trend and case studies in future. Another example could be the GPS via smartphone that captures each moment someone searches for something and gets a real-time output.

User-generated data is that kind of unstructured data which is put on internet each and every moment by the users themselves. For instance, the Likes, Shares, Tweets, Re-tweets, Comments, on Facebook posts/photos/videos, YouTube, Twitter, etc. are all user-generated.

Structured Data

As the name suggests, it basically refers to that kind of data which is organized and has a fixed size, so that it could be easily stored and managed within relational databases. The data model in this case, is already decided, like how the data will be stored, processed, retrieved and manipulated in any way. This means that the datatype, size, etc. will be pre-defined and the protocol will be followed throughout. These have the advantages of being easy. Learning the Structured Query Language (SQL), first introduced by IBM and later modified by Oracle Corporation (through developing relational model), is what it all requires to manage these kinds of information.

Created data is being generated either by user or the organization itself. The organization such as school or hospital create the record of a new pupil/patient. On the other hand, firms like Facebook provides its users the facility to generate their own profile, which once created, is there and managed till it is in existence. It is growing rapidly and obviously needs to be managed and controlled within Big Data so that nothing is permanently lost.

#Big Data - The importance of big data

Provoked data is generated in real time while a user provides a review or a feedback of his/her own experience based on, say a restaurant, employee, purchases, etc. Sites like Yelp generates these kinds of data.

Transacted data is that information which is collected during each transaction being carried by the user. It includes both kinds of shopping – whether the consumer purchases via online shopping cart OR goes directly at the store and does the cash payment or card swiping process. This kind of data is a powerful medium to understand the consumer’s behavior, like how they got the information at the first place, what was bought and when they bought it. This gives a detailed idea of the likes of consumers and accordingly launching the products in the market.

Compiled data comprises of the gigantic database that keeps a huge collection of every household, such as credit scores, demographics, location, purchases, registered vehicles, etc.

Experimental data, also a combination of created and transacted data, usually refers to something of different marketing pieces and messages, so as to conclude what worked best for whom. The strategy is informative when it comes to trial-and-error and drawing some conclusion based on real-time experience. This helps businesses grow.

Every business needs Big Data if it firmly believes that its growth is at an accelerated pace, because managing the tremendous amount would be tricky. With time the strategies might evolve but the core concept will be the same, with even more technological advancements.


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