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Big Data Visualization: How AR and VR Is Transforming Data Interpretation

Every day, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data and over the last two years alone, we have created over 90% of the world’s data! The amount of data we produce is staggering making it difficult for the data analysts all over the world to analyze data and project the results of such analysis into an understandable form.

The Ever-Growing Big Data

Though there are a lot of data at hand, enterprises aren’t exploiting it to its full potential. In fact, according to Forrester, between 60% and 73% of all data within an enterprise goes unused for analytics. While this is the case of enterprises, this percentage will be even higher for small businesses indicating that there is a lot of unused data in the world.

The main hindrance to using such data is the ability to perceive the data as facts which makes the dependence of the efficiency on the visualization techniques. Pie charts and bar graphs are used to visualize these data into a readable form but there are certain limitations to it. This 2D representation of the big data analysis restricts our imagination and therefore, our conclusions from the data gathered.

With big data gaining momentum exponentially, it’s important to get a hold on the insights obtained from it. What is the point of having so much amount of data yet not able to pick a proper, coherent interpretation out of it?

Visualizing Big Data Through AR and VR

The broader the canvas of visualization is, the better the understanding is. That’s exactly what happens when one visualizes big data through the Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). A combination of AR and VR could open a world of possibilities to better utilize the data at hand. VR and AR can practically improve the way the data is being perceived and could actually be the solution to make use of the large unused data.

By presenting the data in the form of 3D, the user will be able to decipher the major takeaways from the data better and faster with easier understanding. Many recent researches have been carried out which shows the VR and AR has a high sensory impact which promotes faster learning and understanding.

This immersive way of representation of the data has enabled the analysts to handle the big data more efficiently. It makes the analysis and interpretation more of an experience and realization than the traditional analysis. Instead of the user seeing numbers and figures, the person will be able to see beyond it and into the facts, happenings and reasons which could revolutionize the businesses.

You can cross-reference data and figures across years through a lot of factors with much ease which isn’t possible when you are seeing the data scattered on a pie chart or a bar graph. As you are observing the data in 3D, you may want to see how it correlates with a past incident or a strategy. You can easily pull that data and see the correlation between them, compare and gain a whole lot of perspective from it. VR and AR can greatly help in the multi-dimensional analysis of your business problems and reach the solutions sooner.

Every data is trying to indicate something. When you can actually see the data swimming before your own eyes, it becomes simpler to understand what it says. You can stack the data, move it around in front of your eyes, arrange it as you like and do whatever you want to, like a physical set of beads.

Interact with Data – Literally!

As data was seen previously in computer screens, it seemed more theoretical and less interactive. But when you can actually around in the middle of your data, literally, wouldn’t you be able to comprehend it better?

With the data projected on X, Y and Z axes with hundreds or sometimes thousands of data points marked all around with various factors governing it, you can see it plainly about what these data collectively are conveying. Based on the size and color of data, you can differentiate between them, compare these data with some other data of the past or update it with new data.

You can actually point at the data, shuffle it, organize it, highlight it and do what you can like seeing it all physically. You could point your finger at a group of data and say, these are the reason why our last marketing campaign failed and it would totally make sense too!

When you start seeing the data physically, like some sort of an object, you can see clearly about what the data is trying to represent. Another advantage of VR-based data visualizations is that the user can focus more clearly on the data and its interpretation which will further improve the conclusions derived.

The visualization of big data using VR and AR can cut down the time one spends on data analysis drastically and what’s more is you can get better insights from the data comparatively. The future of big data visualization with AR and VR is the only way to not waste the mass amount of data generated and gathered and gain a better understanding of them.

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Comment by Pepi Petrova on July 17, 2020 at 9:10pm

Dear Samuel,

I like the way you explain it. Thank you. And I agree. Would you recommend some tools to get started with such a visualisation. 
I will appreciate. 

Comment by John Hammink on November 29, 2018 at 11:36am

If I wanted to start looking into trying visualization for AR and VR, where would I start?  Same goes for developing. I've been meaning to get into this.

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