Tech moves fast! Stay ahead of the curve with Techopedia!
Join nearly 200,000 subscribers who receive actionable tech insights from Techopedia.
Real-time data refers to data that is presented as it is acquired. The idea of real-time data handling is now popular in new technologies such as those that deliver up-to-the-minute information in convenience apps to mobile devices such as phones, laptops and tablets.
The basic definition of real-time data is that it is data that is not kept or stored, but is passed along to the end user as quickly as it is gathered. It is important to note that real-time data does not mean that the data gets to the end user instantly. There may be any number of bottlenecks related to the data collection infrastructure, the bandwidth between various parties, or even just the slowness of the end user's computer. Real-time data does not promise data within a certain number of microseconds. It just means that the data is not designed to be kept back from its eventual use after it is collected.
Real-time data is enormously valuable in things like traffic GPS systems that show drivers what is going on around them. It is helpful for all sorts of analytics projects and for keeping people informed about their natural environment through the power of instant data delivery. During the early days of computing, the model was to capture any data for storage. Now, with the proliferation of mobile devices and other advancements in technology, it is becoming more common for software to simply port collected data directly to an end user.