Big data is a source of new economic value and innovation. Big data’s ascendancy represents shifts in the way we analyze information that transform how we understand and organize society. Now with so much data already generated, big decisions in many firms are taken after analyzing the past trend.
We have several areas where big data has improved the overall performance. Some of them are-
- Understanding and Targeting Customers Companies are keen to expand their traditional data sets with social media data, browser logs as well as text analytics and sensor data to get a more complete picture.
When the sales of XUV500, one of Mahindra and Mahindra Ltd’s best-selling sport utility vehicles, started dropping after a strong run for a-year-and-a-half, the company turned to social media and traditional feedback channels to work on a turnaround strategy. The sales and marketing team began monitoring Facebook posts, YouTube videos and tweets that involved the XUV500, and used the feedback and analysis to eventually launch a variant of the vehicle that was stripped of certain features to make it more affordable. The launch of the cheaper variant helped the company boost sales.
US retailer Target was able to identify that one of their customers was expecting a baby by just studying her shopping pattern. Target identified 25 products that when purchased together indicate a women is likely pregnant. The value of this information was that Target could send coupons to the pregnant woman at an expensive and habit-forming period of her life.
- Personal Quantification and Performance Optimization For many years economists and scientist believed that happiness and income were directly correlated: increase the income and a person on average will get happier. Looking at the data on a chart, however revealed that a more complex dynamic is at play. For income levels below a certain threshold every rise in income translates into a substantial rise in happiness, but above that level increase in income barely improved a person’s happiness. If we were to plot this on a graph, the line would appear as a curve rather than a straight line.
- Improving Healthcare and Public Health Big data techniques are already being used to monitor babies in a specialist premature and sick baby unit. By recording and analyzing every heart beat and breathing pattern of every baby, the unit was able to develop algorithms that can now predict infections 24 hours before any physical symptoms appear. That way, the team can intervene early and save fragile babies in an environment where every hour counts. Personalized medicine is another hot topic in the healthcare field. It involves tailoring medicines to a person’s unique genetic makeup – and is developed by integrating a person’s genetic blueprint and data on their lifestyle and environment, then comparing it alongside thousands of others to predict
4. Improving Sports Performance Adidas has a system called miCoach that works by having players attach a wearable device to their jerseys. Data from the device shows the coach who the top performers are and who needs rest. It also provides real-time stats on each player, such as speed, heart rate and acceleration.That kind of real-time data could help trainers and physicians plan for better training and conditioning.
5. Optimizing Machine and Device Performance Google’s fleet of robotic Toyota Priuses has now logged more than 190,000 miles (about 300,000 kilometers), driving in city traffic, busy highways, and mountainous roads with only occasional human intervention. The project is still far from becoming commercially viable, but Google has set up a demonstration system on its campus, using driverless golf carts, which points to how the technology could change transportation even in the near future.
6. Improving and Optimizing Cities and Countries Big data is used to improve many aspects of our cities and countries. For example, it allows cities to optimize traffic flows based on real time traffic information as well as social media and weather data. A number of cities are currently piloting big data analytics with the aim of turning themselves into Smart Cities, where the transport infrastructure and utility processes are all joined up. Where a bus would wait for a delayed train and where traffic signals predict traffic volumes and operate to minimize jams.
7. Improving Security and Law Enforcement. Big data is applied heavily in improving security and enabling law enforcement. The National Security Agency (NSA) in the U.S. uses big data analytics to foil terrorist plots (and maybe spy on us). Others use big data techniques to detect and prevent cyber attacks. Police forces use big data tools to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity(eg. movie ‘Minority report’ ) and credit card companies use big data use it to detect fraudulent transactions.