Because we deal with an explosion of unstructured data every day, businesses are constantly researching better ways to store, analyze, and make sense of it all. We’ve come a long way from using log books and ledgers, but there’s always room to improve today’s digital databases. For instance, the search function is an important component for users to access information quickly. We even have a tutorial on how to add a search bar on Wix.
In this context, vector databases work well. The term “vector database” has recently been gaining traction in the tech space and improving the search function is just one of those reasons. Let’s explore what they offer further.
What is a vector database?
In a traditional database that organizes data in tables, relationships between different pieces of information are defined only by rows and columns. In contrast, a vector database deals with a complex data landscape by using “vectors” to represent the relationships between data.
A detailed post by MongoDB on vector databases explains this further. Vectors are ordered lists of numbers that represent some characteristics of a piece of data. For example, a vector of a cat image would include color, texture, the presence of ears, and more.
Because it uses these vectors, a vector database can efficiently handle search queries. Users can find items that are similar based on characteristics, even if they are not exactly the same.
How Vector Databases Can Improve Your Business
Now that we better understand what a vector database is, let’s look into the ways they can impact businesses in 2024.
1. Effective Data Searches
As described earlier, vector databases improve the search function by allowing for a wider range of characteristics to be considered. This is especially helpful for ecommerce sites, as it can boost sales. According to Google Cloud’s retail research, 69% admitted to purchasing additional items after a successful search experience.
2. Robust Recommendation Systems
Just like search, recommendations in a vector database are not limited to exact matches. Instead, the system can suggest items that are similar yet different in some aspects. For example, if you’re looking for a thriller movie, the system may recommend a sci-fi thriller or a crime thriller.
One famous example of a company leveraging recommendations is Netflix. In their published paper on ACM, the streaming giant revealed that 80% of hours were streamed as a result of the recommendation system.
Various industries can benefit from advanced recommendation capabilities. Essentially, any business that deals with an extensive catalog of products or services should take advantage of such tech.
3. Advanced Analytics and Insights
The flexible nature of vector databases can also be used for deriving important insights in data analytics. Algorithms can uncover trends, patterns, and correlations that might otherwise go unnoticed in a traditional database.
One use case of this could be for the healthcare industry, where doctors can find patterns in patients’ medical histories and symptoms to predict future health issues.
4. Powerful Anomaly Detection
Vector databases can be invaluable in identifying anomalies in large sets of data – a task crucial for cybersecurity or financial auditing, for instance. By representing data as vectors, these databases can efficiently map patterns. This makes it easier to spot deviations.
PwC’s survey on global economic crime and fraud noted that cybercrime is the most disruptive economic crime globally. With this in mind, it’s crucial to invest in effective security measures like vector databases.
How to Set Up a Vector Database
Thanks to advancements in cloud computing, business owners have a wide range of options available to them in terms of databases. Vendors like MongoDB and Pinecone offer database-as-a-service products, including vector databases.
These types of providers allow you to set up a vector database without having to shoulder the costs and labor of maintaining the infrastructure. However, since there are several on the market, proper research and evaluation are crucial to choosing the right one for your business.
Vector databases are just one type of tech you can explore for 2024. If you’re looking to upgrade your tech stack, make sure to read our previous post titled “Why These Tech Upgrades Are Necessary For Your Business This Year”. Here’s to a year of technological advancement and success!