The term "Big Data" keeps getting bandied about in business, but what does it mean exactly? What makes data "big"?

Big Data refers to "data that is too large, complex, and dynamic for any conventional data tools to capture, store, manage, and analyze," according to Wipro. What makes Big Data challenging is the volume, variety, and velocity of the data.

Some 57.6% of organizations that Wipro surveyed said Big Data is a challenge, yet 50% of surveyed companies acknowledged that Big Data helps meet consumer demand and facilitate growth.

Big Data can come from interactions among people, such as in virtual communities, social networks, and blogs. People-to-machine interactions, such as medical devices, digital TV, e-commerce, and bank cards, also produce Big Data. Another source of Big Data is machine-to-machine data, such as from GPS devices, surveillance cameras, and sensors.

So, where is all this Big Data? The most amount of Big Data is stored in the United States. More than 3,500 petabytes of Big Data come from North America. More than 2,000 petabytes are from Europe.

Big Data is also being shared lightning-fast: 2.9 million emails are sent every second; 20 hours of videos are uploaded every minute on YouTube; and 50 million tweets are published daily.

To find out more about Big Data and its importance, check out the following infographic:

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Veronica Jarski is the Opinions editor and a senior writer at MarketingProfs. She can be reached at

Twitter: @Veronica_Jarski