How Big Data is shaping the future of 8 areas

Big Data is a term used to describe a collection of data that is huge in size and yet growing exponentially with time. In short, such data is so large and complex that none of the traditional data management tools are able to store it or process it efficiently. There was the earlier discussion on Big Data misuse, data collection by governments and decisions taken for us. But let’s have a look on how Big Data and Big Data Technologies are used today generally.

Big Data Birthplaces

Large IT companies is the place where the science of data was born, so their “inner kitchen” in this area is the most interesting. The Google campaign, the birthplace of the Map Reduce paradigm, has created a whole division within itself whose sole purpose is to educate its programmers in machine learning technologies. This turned out to be their competitive advantage: after gaining new knowledge, employees are implementing new methods in different Google projects. Imagine how enormous is the list of areas which companies can revolutionize. One of the examples: neural networks are used to optimize energy costs in data centres.

Apple is also competing with the search giant and integrates machine learning into all of its products. Its advantage is the presence of a large ecosystem, which includes all the digital devices used in everyday life. This allows Apple to gather more user data than any other company. At the same time, the privacy policy is very strict: the corporation has always boasted that it does not use customer data for advertising purposes. Accordingly, user information is encrypted so that Apple lawyers or even the FBI with a warrant cannot read it.

Big Data on Four Wheels

A modern car is an information storage device: it accumulates all the data about the driver, the environment, connected devices and itself. Soon, a vehicle like Tesla Model S electric car will generate up to 25 GB of data per hour.

Automotive manufacturers have been using transport telematics for many years, but now they are lobbying for a more sophisticated data collection method that fully utilizes Big Data. And this means that now technology can notify the driver of bad road conditions by automatically activating the anti-lock braking and slip system.

Other companies, including BMW, use Big Data technology in conjunction with information gathered from test prototypes, a bug memory system and customer complaints – to identify model weaknesses at an early stage of production. Now, instead of manually evaluating the data, which takes months, a modern algorithm is used. Errors and the costs for eliminating those are being reduced, which allows to accelerate the workflows of information analysis in BMW.

Using Big Data enables to create safer and more functional vehicle. Thus, Toyota, by embedding information communication modules (DCM), connects new cars to Toyota Big Data Centre. This tool, used for Big Data, processes and analyses the data collected by DCM in order to further benefit from it.

Big Data in Medicine

The implementation of Big Data technologies in the medical field allows doctors to more thoroughly study the disease and choose an effective course of treatment for a particular case. Thanks to the analysis of information, it becomes easier for health workers to predict relapses and take preventive measures. As a result, a more accurate diagnosis and improved treatment methods may be developed.

The new technique allowed to look at the problems of patients from a different perspective, which led to the discovery of previously unknown sources of the problem. For example, some ethic groups are genetically more prone to heart disease than others. Now, when a patient complains about a certain disease, doctors take into account data about representatives of his race who complained about the same problem. The collection and analysis of data allows one to learn much more about patients: from food preferences and lifestyle to the genetic structure of DNA and metabolites of cells, tissues, organs, etc. The Kansas City Center for Pediatric Genomic Medicine, for instance, uses data analysis technologies to quickly decrypt patients’ DNA and analyse the mutations in the genetic code that cause cancer. An individual approach to each patient, taking into account his DNA, will raise the effectiveness of treatment to a qualitatively different level.

With an understanding of how Big Data is used, the first and very important change in the medical field follows: when a patient undergoes a course of treatment, a hospital or other healthcare institution can receive a lot of significant information about a person. The collected information is used to predict relapse of diseases with a certain degree of accuracy. For example, if a patient has suffered a stroke, doctors study information about the time of cerebrovascular accident, analyse the intermediate period between previous precedents (if any), pay special attention to stressful situations and severe physical exertion in the patient’s life. Based on these data, hospitals give the patient a clear plan of action on how to prevent the possibility of a stroke in the future.

Wearable devices also play a significant role, which help identify health problems, even if a person does not have obvious symptoms of a disease. Instead of assessing the patient’s condition through a long course of examinations, the doctor can draw conclusions based on information collected by the fitness tracker or a smart watch.

Those are only few cases that show why the use of Big Data in the medical field today plays such a significant role.

Data Analysis Changing – the Core of Retail

Understanding the user requirements and targeting those needs is one of the largest and most widely publicized areas of Big Data tools’ application. Companies seek to expand the traditional data set with information from social networks and browser search history in order to form the most complete client picture. Large organizations sometimes choose to create their own predictive model as a global goal.

For example, using the in-depth data analysis and its own forecasting system, Target store chain can determine with high accuracy whether a woman is pregnant or not. Each client is assigned an ID, which in turn is tied to a credit card, name or email. The identifier serves as a kind of shopping basket, which stores information about everything that a person has ever purchased. Network experts found that pregnant women actively acquire non-flavoured items before the second trimester of pregnancy, and during the first 20 weeks they rely on calcium, zinc and magnesium supplements. Based on the data received, Target sends coupons for children’s products to customers. Discounts for children goods themselves are “diluted” in coupons for other products, so that offers to buy a crib or diapers do not look too intrusive.

Even government departments have found a way to use Big Data technology to optimize election campaigns and examples of those stories you can read here.

Big Data Guarding Law and Order

Over the past few years, law enforcement agencies have been able to figure out how and when to use Big Data. It is a well-known fact that the National Security Agency applies Big Data technologies to prevent terrorist attacks. Other agencies are using a progressive methodology to prevent smaller crimes.

The Los Angeles Police Department uses its own analytical system. The system oversees what is commonly called proactive law enforcement. Using crime reports for a certain period of time, the algorithm determines the areas where the probability of committing offenses is the greatest. The system marks such areas on the city map in small red squares and the data is immediately transmitted to patrol cars.

Chicago cops use Big Data technology in a slightly different way. The law enforcement officers from the City of the Winds also have a special algorithm, but it is aimed at outlining the “circle of risk”, consisting of people who may be the victim or participant in an armed attack. According to The New York Times, this algorithm assigns a person an assessment of vulnerability based on his criminal past (arrests and participation in shootings, belonging to criminal groups). The system designer assures that while the system studies the criminal past of a person, it does not take into account secondary factors such as race, gender, ethnicity, and location of a person.

How Big Data Technologies Help Cities to Grow

Data analysis is also used to improve a number of aspects of the life in cities and countries. For example, knowing exactly how and when to use Big Data technologies, you can optimize traffic flows. For this, the movement of cars, social media and meteorological data are analysed. Today, a number of cities have embarked on the use of data analysis to integrate transport infrastructure with other types of utilities into a single whole. This is the concept of a “smart” city in which buses are waiting for a late train, and traffic lights can predict traffic congestion in order to minimize traffic jams.

Based on Big Data technologies, Long Beach has smart water meters that are used to stop illegal watering. Previously, they were used to reduce water consumption by private households (the maximum result is 80% reduction). Saving fresh water is always top priority.

Representatives of Los Angeles’ Department of Transportation have joined the list of those using Big Data. Based on the data received from the sensors of road cameras, the authorities control the work of traffic lights, which in turn allows you to adjust traffic. About 4,500 thousand traffic lights throughout the city are under the control of a computerized system. According to official figures, the new algorithm helped reduce traffic jam by 16%.

Progress Engine in Marketing and Sales

In marketing, Big Data tools allow the identification of which ideas are the most effective at a certain stage of the sales cycle. Using data analysis, it is possible to determine how investments can improve the customer relationship management system, which strategy should be chosen to increase the conversion rate, and how to optimize the client’s life cycle. In the cloud business, Big Data algorithms help to minimize the cost of attracting a customer and increase their life cycle.

Differentiation of pricing strategies depending on the intra-system level of the client is perhaps the main thing why Big Data is used in marketing.

According to the Forrester research team, data analysis allows marketers to focus on how to make customer relationships more successful. Exploring the development of customers, specialists can evaluate their level of loyalty, as well as extend the life cycle in the context of a particular company.

Data analysis is a way for companies to get a full view of the key aspects of their business. Increasing revenues, reducing costs and reducing working capital are the three tasks that modern business is trying to solve with the help of analytical tools.

Data Analysis for the Planet

No less curious is how these technologies are used to reduce human influence on the Earth. It is possible that machine learning will ultimately be the only force capable of maintaining a delicate balance. The subject of human influence on global warming still causes a lot of controversy, therefore, only reliable predictive models based on the analysis of a large amount of data can give an accurate answer. Ultimately, reducing emissions will help us all: we will spend less on energy.

Now Big Data is no longer an abstract concept. It is a working set of technologies that can benefit almost all areas of human activity: from medicine to policing and from marketing to sales. The stage of the active integration of Big Data in our everyday life has just begun, and who knows what the role of Big Data will be in a few years? Please feel free to complete this list with what is coming up to your mind.

*Featured Image and other images retrieved from https://unsplash.com/ – The internet’s source of freely usable images.

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