Big Data=Big Life Changes

We’ve talked a lot about how big data is bringing big changes to specific industries, such as healthcare, security and even aviation.  As we begin to wrap up 2013, we thought it might be interesting to discuss how big data will help shape global changes in the very near future.  So, as we look into the crystal ball, we see:

  • Big changes in higher education.  In the U.S., we’re currently experiencing two problems: an education gap within a large population of the unemployed who don’t have the skills needed to re-enter the workforce, and the rising costs of higher education (in many ways, it’s escalating faster than healthcare!).  The ability to access education via the Internet is growing in popularity, and is being facilitated by big data platform technologies such as Hadoop.  Thanks to organizations such as Coursera and Big Data University, we see everyone having access to education, either for free or for a very low cost.
  • Solving the area’s greatest mystery.  One of the more intriguing stories we’ve seen lately is how big data is being used to prove the existence of Bigfoot, that elusive legendary creature hiding in the dense forests of the Pacific Northwest.  A researcher at Penn State University is using analytics to examine 92 years of data to discover patterns that could eventually be used to track the beast once and for all.  Or not.
  • Auto industry fights the war against climate change.  According to Jim Motavalli of the New York Times, Ford Motor Co. is using green analytics to drive new auto designs that dramatically lower CO2 emissions.  Ford is also tackling the problem via its sales channels through a new app, the Fleet Purchase Planner, which leverages big data to clearly illustrates how procurement managers can determine their greenest options (i.e., electric, hybrid, etc.).
  • Smarter romance.  According to the successful online dating site eHarmony, it’s users are generating terabytes of data.   Going forward, improved algorithms and deeper analytics will enable eHarmony to suggest better matches, helping the site create more successful pairings.  For example, perhaps a man thinks he’s attracted to redheads, but he clicks more frequently on the profiles of brunettes.  eHarmony know this, and will use the data to understand what the man is truly looking for, improving the accuracy of the dating platform’s selections and responses.

Big data = a Brave New World.

by Ed Sarausad

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