While the deafening clamor concerning the new frontier of digital data called Big Data is still on, most of us feel a lot confused in regard to the implication that this is going to take in our life, if not now in the time to come. What exactly Big Data is and what are the possible uses of Big Data is an intriguing question that for some time making the headlines. For a layman's understanding Big Data is not only big in volume but actually it is big in every respect, in speed, variety and in potential for changing the way we live, react, communicate, do business, decide, come to conclusion and think. Yes, Big Data is truly big in its implications on life, on every aspect of life. Though this new field of knowledge and application is still at its budding stage with only an array of tech houses engaged, in just few years from now everyday business reality is literally going to be unthinkable without Big Data. Let us have a look at the definition and top 10 real world uses of Big Data.
What is Big Data?
Unquestionably in a digital world that is proliferating in every dimension data rules everything. From the mere electric bill of your home to the text message on your mobile to the social networking posts to the transaction records in a shopping mall to the real time surveillance camera outputs in a railway station to the audio files in a online radio network to the television commercials or news bytes - everything is digital data and all these classified and unclassified data is growing every second at a bombastic speed thanks to the massively increasing rate of using internet and computing mobile devices. These huge volumes of data is grossly termed as Big Data, but simply volume is not the big promise of digital data that we are talking about, it is the use of these gigantic volumes of data for analytical purpose that makes this data so big. So the real focus in relation to the implications or uses of Big Data is actually on Big Data analytics rather than the volume.
What is Big Data analytics?
There are some quintillions volumes of data in the world at this precise moment and 90% of them are just created in the last 2 years only, so just think the speed at which the digital data is growing in volume. This huge volume of data from different spheres has huge possibilities in terms of data analytics and consequent real life implications. Now combining, comparing and analyzing these multiple data sets for array of end user insights is grossly what is called as Big Data analytics. Big Data analytics opened the new frontier of real time analysis of huge chunks of multifarious data for coming to accurate insights for different decision making purposes. It can be about consumer behavior or buying trend or it can be about security loopholes to mend or it can be about user growth concerning a service. Here below we introduce top 10 real world uses of Big Data.
- Predicting purchase habits through consumer data analytics
- Enhancing security intelligence and law enforcement measures
- Analyzing medical data to improve healthcare
- Predicting changes in price through financial data analysis
- Using data access information to improve data security
- Faster scaling up of business operation using Big Data
- Predicting economic crisis and recession factors to hit
- Forecasting political unrest and terrorist threat by analyzing social network posts
- Improving administrative efficacy through data feedback and analysis
- Predicting breakthrough products and trend through analyzing R&D data
Predicting purchase habits of the consumers or deciphering the potential scopes for achieving better sales figure is one of the foremost uses of Big Data that is increasingly taking over the traditional modes of market research. The input of digital data concerning consumer preference, buying habits and spending patterns can be from diverse sectors. Transaction records in shopping arena to banking information concerning investment, savings and transactions to various billing information to advertisement viewership and appreciation on different digital interfaces all combined together, compared and manipulated into different classifications can provide some handy insights that can really help in predicting purchasing habits and sales of goods in various categories. These predictive analyses in turn can help the entrepreneurs to address the predictive reality with befitting marketing and sales optimized strategies.
Unquestionably the impact that Big Data analytics is going to have on security measures, intelligence functioning and law enforcement agencies, is huge. Processing real time information on bulk transaction records for analytics can really help to make a stricter overview on fraudulent transactions like money laundering in financial sectors. Analyzing large amount of data on movement of people and goods the security can better assess the risk factors and loopholes to initiate necessary actions for the purpose of preventing or combating unlawful activities. When global terrorism is on the rise as a big threat to life and livelihood Big Data analytics can really pave the way for smarter security and law enforcement measures.
Improving healthcare by predictive analysis of bulk medical data for the purpose of assessing medical risks is certainly one of the top 10 real world uses of Big Data and several Big Data companies are engaged in such projects including IBM. Patient history, pharmacological information on consumption of medicines, pathological reports, clinical data, medical insurance data etc. combined together is a big pool of data that can be classified in diverse ways to assess multitude of medical risk factors. Obviously there cannot be a better way to improve healthcare than assessing medical risk factors either on case to case basis or on a larger scale.
While the ever soaring oil price and prices of key materials or real estate prices continue to pose greater challenges for various economies on a global scale prediction of prices through analyzing business and financial data is certainly the next big leap in regard to exercising better control on economic factors and addressing them with appropriate measures. The prediction sometimes can have enough negative impacts on stock market and can cause negative extra cautious attitude in buyers and investors but the pros side is more promising as with such predictive feedback our financial plans can take required steps to avoid a crash or downfall of market.
While Big Data or the huge pool of digital data resources are going to be the next promising frontier to provide required feedback for actionable insights and decision making process, securing digital data itself from data theft and unauthorized access and manipulation is a big concern that can be taken care by Big Data analytics itself. Gathering information on data access across multiple devices and interfaces and classifying as well as analyzing them to identify activities threatening to data security can really make Big Data work for the security and monitoring of digital data.
Big Data analytics would obviously speed up business processes and operation with real time feedback of analytical insights and scaling up a business process in quick time can be one of the big impacts of Big Data. While traditional market research, productivity analysis, business scope analysis, etc. used to take months before setting up a new production facility, with accessible pool of huge data and analytical sophistication now the process can be much speedier and thus production to marketing to publicity campaigns, everything can be scaled up in just no time with the Big Data analytics.
Just think of the huge global impact of the economic recession just a few years back and how business processes were hurt and how hard time they all needed to recover. Could any observer assuredly predict the recession and could there be any analyst who could tell the world how long it would take the market to recover? The answer is obviously negative that shows the limitation of our analytical apparatus, especially in financial and economic matters. Big Data combining all sorts of figurative data from diverse sectors and all sorts of narrative information on people's mood and preferences (investment data to business information to tax bills to transaction records to grocery bills to text messages or social networking posts and many more) can really provide array of insights on imminent economic crisis or factors of recession being prominent across the lines.
Forecasting political and social unrest by analyzing massive volumes of social networking posts is one of the prominent examples of how far the uses of Big Data can penetrate our life and livelihood. While worldwide a whole generation has become identified with social networking sites (Facebook generation or Tweet generation or so on and so forth!) the text messages and posts in these platforms often serve as the gross mood of people in a region and very recently over the political disturbances in some countries the influence of social networking posts in mobilizing people really proved to be huge. So the next big leap can as well be the prediction of socio political unrest analyzing streamed data from these sites.
In an environment where access to huge chunks of data and analytical sophistication is increasingly making organizations transparent, the clumsy administrative atmosphere in government agencies and public practices will also go through a makeover. Access to large scale public data and analysis apparatus can really make decision making smarter, faster and operation much efficient. Processing bulk data on tax payers, electricity consumption and civic amenities can really give our public decision makers some crucial insights as how to address the civic concerns better.
R&D of a company is no more going to be closed door practice in the time to come as rigorous analytics of business data and consumer centric information would make it easier to predict breakthrough products to hit the market and the product trend that is going to rule the market. Considering the rigorous focus of data analytics in gaining insights into consumer preference, predicting R&D activities of companies and predicting next breakthrough in innovation is undoubtedly going to be one of the top 10 real life uses of Big Data in near future.