What are the 3 V's of big data?

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January 23, 2020

If you are trying to get to grips with what is meant by big data but are finding it difficult, you're not the only one. Big data is a common shorthand that many people don’t truly understand.

However, there is an easier way to understandit, by getting to know three main concepts.

These are the 3 V’s of big data: volume, velocity and variety. By fully understanding these concepts, you can get a better grasp of how big data can open doors for your business and how it can be used it to your advantage.

In this guide, we take a closer look at the 3V's and how they relate to big data and how thy are very different from old data management processes.


One of the key concepts to get to know when it comes to big data is volume.

There are a lot of companies and businesses that consume so much data, maybe because they have a lot of users or because they use AI to feed this data. This includes smart devices in our homes that are constantly learning and taking in their surroundings or something like Uber which has millions of customers at any time - and this is all adding lots of data to the mix.

To better explain this, let's take a look atsome real-life examples such as Facebook, that stores photographs.

Overall, it is thought Facebook stores a whopping 250 billion images in total. This isn’t even taking into account things such as Facebook posts - where there is thought to be approximately 2.5 trillion (and that is only from 2016 onwards).


With big data, velocity refers to how quickly data is coming in. Using the Facebook example from earlier, whilst the social media giant stores 250 billion images, approximately 900 million photos are uploaded by its users each and every day.

With this colossal amount of data coming inevery day, this has to be processed, filed and retrieved.

Another example of velocity is sensor data. With the Internet of Things taking off at a dramatic rate, we will be seeing more and more connected sensors. This will effectively mean more data being transmitted almost all the time.


The third sector of big data is variety. When discussing variety in reference to big data, it means that the data can be very different from one application to another, much of it being unstructured data too.

All of the data does not necessarily fit into one neat database application as it may have in the past.

A clear example of variety in big data are emails. Messages are never identical to another, as each has its own destination, time stamp, possible attachments and different text. Emails, like audio recordings, videos and photos are all data that tends to be very varied and unstructured too.

At Optalitix, we are a big data company and we can help you organise your incoming data and use it intelligently to benefit your business. We are used to building models with structured and unstructured data and then integrating this into your business to help processes, productivity and efficiency. For more information, contact us at info@optalitix.com

Dani Katz
Dani Katz
Founder Director

Dani’s actuarial experience and passion are key. He is a strong advocate of innovation, optimism and communication, both within the team and for the clients. Dani’s ability and experience with data ensure that we always maximise value and efficiency for every project, enabling us to unlock hidden value for the clients business.

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