What is Data Compression?

Here’s how it works, the types of data compression available, and why it’s important for your organisation.

April 28, 2022

In a world where data is created, consumed, transferred, and proliferated in ways that seem endless, the need to process and store this vast resource is ever more important.

Every industry in the information age requires data to operate optimally in what is becoming an increasingly decentralised way of working. So, it’s no surprise that data has been hailed the new oil as more companies source, refine and analyse data to gain new efficiencies and advantages in their industry.

As a result, various data-focused solutions have evolved to keep pace with the digital environment and among them is data compression – a long-established solution, invented between the 1970s and 80s, that has since advanced to improve the way people communicate daily.

The classroom has taken many forms over the last few years, from the traditional in-person setting to the remote, online and distance learning formats that have taken precedence around the world. Creating a teaching environment that is accessible, inclusive and meaningfully engaging is a challenge every teacher faces, regardless of the format the classroom takes.

So, we’ve created a checklist of the most important elements every teacher needs to transition to a more hybrid and smart teaching environment.

  • What Is Data Compression?

Data compression is the process of reducing the size of data objects into fewer bits by re-encoding the file and removing unnecessary or redundant information (depending on the type of data compression you use). By reducing the original size of the data object, it can be transferred faster while taking up less storage space on any device.

  • What Are the Types of Data Compression Available?

There are two main types of data compression: lossy compression and lossless compression.

The first type achieves file size reduction by removing unnecessary bits of information, thus changing the representation of the original file. In most cases this change in representation is unnoticeable for smaller file types but can affect the quality of a much larger source file.

Lossless compression (the type used across Niflink’s e-learning, security and telemedicine solutions) reduces file size by removing redundant bits of information while also reconstructing the original file. In this way, lossless compression can ensure that a data object does not lose its original quality.

Here’s a simple overview of how each compression type works:

Infographic image of how data compression works
  • Where Is Data Compression Used and What Are the Benefits?

Most types of media formats can be compressed: MP3 audio files, MP4 video files, images, executable files, and text documents.

 File size reduction and transfer speed are the primary benefits of data compression. However, these benefits lead to other efficiency gains in daily tasks, such as:

  • Faster and improved connection speeds across your data communication systems over heterogeneous networks (including slow networks).
  • Less congestion on your bandwidth on a shared internet connection.
  • Uninterrupted livestreams with buffer-free multimedia experiences.
  • Less data usage.
  • Lower storage costs.
  • High-quality media preservation.
  • Improved reach and interactive connectivity.
  • Time saved in downloading, transferring, or streaming data. 

With Niflink’s proprietary data compression framework, your files can be compressed by up to 90% of their original size while retaining their quality.


  • Do You Need a Data Compression Solution for Your Business?

From sharing medical data with doctors in rural areas, to maximising the reach of teachers through distance learning, or improving the levels of safety with remote video surveillance – data compression has been at the heart of our mission to connect communities to critical data.

Our NIF compression technology has been used across several industries through bespoke solutions designed to suite each client’s operational needs.

Learn more about how our state-of-the-art data compression solution can help your organisation:

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