The modern-day World Wide Web is a mere 22 years old -- barely old enough to order a drink at the local bar. But since its formation, the Internet has grown exponentially with well over half a billion websites, creating a wealth of information and data at the fingertips.
As the Internet gained traction, information could be shared instantaneously and business became increasingly global. With such monumental advances, data began to surge and a new medium was born: big data.
Big data is the measurement of large, complex data, specifically data that falls into the "3V's model": high volume, high velocity and high variety. For example, big data can be applied to the wealth of information derived from social media or data obtained from the billions of mobile phones in use daily.
In a business sense, big data is a facet of analytics that relies on analytic application to ascertain predictive information and trends about consumer behaviors and drive competition.
TrendPointers founders Rich Spitzer and Mike Shutty have been involved in Internet research since before the dot-com bust. In 2000, through their extensive research, they noticed an escalation of news about the internet bubble and thoughts on what was about to happen.
"There was a trajectory of information circulating; it was the old connect-the-dots. We were looking to speed up the availability of information and we were working on harvesting that type of news in every measure that comes out. People were anxious to figure out what was happening next during this time," says Rich Spitzer.
The idea was out there, and big data was starting to take form. Modern communication and behavioral research strategies have been around for decades, but with the Internet, public information and attitudes toward behavior could be captured instantaneously with new tools available.
"With big data, it's all about identifying what's coming up, as it is coming up and getting it out there. Now, data is mined in three days instead of four months. Plus, the data now serves as a better early indicator of the likely impact of economic information before it's reported in the conventional indicators," says Spitzer.
In business, big data has proven fruitful for companies improving their forecasting with stock market applications. TrendPointers reviews thousands of articles and information from news sources, covering the business media, mass media and social conversations, and codes them daily and report each two-week cycle.
This digital data is critical for market trend analysis and identifying new challenges and opportunities. The medium requires specialized skills and experience to mine this data and extract meaning to create key forecasts for businesses, investments and consumer behavior.
The functionality of big data is immeasurable. Big data has proven to be an essential component of 21st-century business practices, instilling a measure of order in the chaos. But with the internet still in infancy, big data is just beginning and evolving.
"It is a very volatile world. With this comes big data, fast data and volatile data," says Spitzer.