The four V’s of Big Data


I came across this nice infographic and decide to take a closer look. One could argue about what big data actually is, and I absolutely encourage this discussion. In this post, however, I will share some insights from this infographic about data, which should give us a better global understanding of this interesting field.

For starters

The majority of companies see big data as a challenge, with its biggest benefit being the increase of operational efficiency.

Alright, so far for the whole left side of the graphic. Let’s move on.

The four V’s

The infographic in this post contains a number of interesting figures, but what I like particularly is the ordering. The composer of the graphic ordered the info around four V’s: Volume, Variety, Velocity, which ultimately lead to an increase in Value. I dig that.

Let’s take a quick look at these four pillars:


According to the McKinsey Global Institute Report today, over 80% of data is stored in North America and Europe (in total 5500 petabytes). Japan trails with over 400 petabytes. A petabyte is a lot of data (namely 1024 x 1024 GB).


Data comes in all forms and shapes, roughly to be divided in people to machine and machine to machine.

People to machine for example are archives, medical devices, digital TV, e-commerce, smart cards and other cards, computers and mobiles.

Machine to machine can be for example sensors, gps devices, bar code scanners and surveillance camera’s.

Bottom-line: More things will become data-hungry. If you are a device manufacturer, and your device is not connected somehow, make that a priority.


The amount of data is expanding at an enormous pace. To give you an idea: every second 2.9 mio emails are sent, every minute 20 hours of video are uploaded, and every day 50 million tweets are sent. If these numbers (collected by Comscore)  are correct, then the number of tweets per day is swept away completely by the total amount of emails per day (250,560 mio).

Bottomline: we have to understand that we will not be running out of data any time soon…


The university of Austin, Texas, researched the productivity increase for companies after starting to utilize big data, and found out that biggest results increases were achieved in Retail and Consulting.

Remark: What the infographic doesn’t say is what exactly is seen as productivity. E.g. within retail, were the core business (the product) is moving boxes around. I can imagine that the increase in sales from, let’s say, a recommender engine on your e-commerce site, would lead to a better percentual increase than the optimisation of the production process in your steel factory.

Again, this infographic gives us some interesting information as give facts about data. The bottom line is that more devices will generate more data at even greater velocity. There is only one option: Go data driven.

How? I’ll share my insights on that in a next post.

In the mean time: Feel free to share your big data best practices in the comments below!

Take care!

About Walter van der Scheer

With a solid background in marketing technology, Walter is convinced of the marketing shift from media to data that lies ahead. If there is a way, it would be data-driven. Follow Walter on Twitter (@wvanderscheer), Linkedin and Google+.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Quick IQ test to separate humans from computers... *