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3Vs is "a term used to define the different attributes of big datavolume, variety and velocity.[1]


The declining cost of collection, storage, and processing of data, combined with new sources of data like sensors, cameras, geospatial and other observational technologies, means that we live in a world of near-ubiquitous data collection. The volume of data collected and processed is unprecedented. This explosion of data — from web-enabled appliances, wearable technology, and advanced sensors to monitor everything from vital signs to energy use to a jogger's running speed — will drive demand for high-performance computing and push the capabilities of even the most sophisticated data management technologies.

There is not only more data, but it also comes from a wider variety of sources and formats. Some data is "born digital," meaning that it is created specifically for digital use by a computer or data processing system. Examples include email, web browsing, or GPS location. Other data is "born analog," meaning that it emanates from the physical world, but increasingly can be converted into digital format. Examples of analog data include voice or visual information captured by phones, cameras or video recorders, or physical activity data, such as heart rate or perspiration monitored by wearable devices. With the rising capabilities of "data fusion," which brings together disparate sources of data, big data can lead to some remarkable insights.

Data collection and analysis is being conducted at a velocity that is increasingly approaching real time, which means there is a growing potential for big data analytics to have an immediate effect on a person's surrounding environment or decisions being made about his or her life. Examples of high-velocity data include clickstream data that records users' online activities as they interact with web pages, GPS data from mobile devices that tracks location in real time, and social media that is shared broadly. Customers and companies are increasingly demanding that this data be analyzed to benefit them instantly. Indeed, a mobile mapping application is essentially useless if it cannot immediately and accurately identify the phone's location, and real-time processing is critical in the computer systems that ensure the safe operation of our cars.


  1. Techopedia, "What does 3Vs mean?" (full-text).