Smart Data: Definition & Uses

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson goes over something known as smart data. You'll learn what it is, how it contrasts with big data, its uses, and see an example of it in action.


Smart people have been around for millennia. But it was only recently that terms like smart cars or smart homes were coined. You can add another one to that list of recent smarts. It's something known as smart data.

We're going to take a look at what this is and how it's used.

Smart Data & Uses

While you might not be that familiar with the term smart data, you've probably heard of big data, right? To better understand smart data, it's best we compare it to big data.

Big data is information that comes in at a high pace, in high volume, and/or in high variety. In so many words, big data is all the data you can get your hands on. It can be overwhelming, perhaps meaningless, and thus it takes a lot of time and effort to make good sense of it. Big data is like someone stacking 100 textbooks of legal, medical, and financial information (which can be highly disorganized) on your desk every minute. Good luck with that.

In contrast to big data, there's smart data. Smart data refers to smaller sets of valuable and actionable information. So, if big data is about volume, speed, and variety then smart data is more focused on creating value, meaning, and accuracy (veracity) for some sort of purpose or outcome.

Smart data is therefore more actionable than big data and thus helps a business function, gain critical insights, or make important decisions. If correctly placed, smart data can be used immediately, in real-time, for some sort of decision-making process.


Let's go over an example that helps makes the distinction between big and smart data clear as well as how the latter may be used.

We'll say that you run a website that sells sports and hiking shoes. Via your website, you collect a vast amount of data on your customers such as surveys, purchases of customer information from third parties, and information from an app that takes the user's data. This data comes in large volume, at high velocity, and is highly varied. In other words, the totality of this data is big data.

It's pretty in actionable. This raw, big data, isn't going to help you directly in your marketing efforts. You, or perhaps software you use, will have to isolate the most valuable, accurate, and appropriate information about your customers.

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