Big Data has always been, by definition, massive. But with constantly increasing numbers of smart connected devices, more and more sensors in machines, and the continuing spread of information technologies worldwide, even that definition no longer does it justice.
In 2011 alone, for example, estimates are that the world collectively created 1.8 Trillion GB of new information; this is expected to multiply many times by 2016. To cite other examples, Twitter recently announced that it processes over 350 billion tweets every day, while Facebook sees over 250 million photos and over 2.7 billion “likes” and comments each day. But today, Big Data is no longer simply about size. Putting it to productive use has gone beyond simply storing it. Indeed, to make the most of Big Data the question to ask is no longer, “Where do we put it?” but rather, “How do we use it?”