Big data is an evolving term or buzzword that refers to any large amount of data available in structured or unstructured form. Everything around us is producing data. A picture clicked, a voice recording, email, social media exchange, a smart device, a sensor embedded in any living or non-living thing, all are producing and sharing data. Advent of ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’ has exponentially increased this growth and availability of information.
Why ‘Big data’ is gaining so much popularity? With so much data in hand, the vision is to mine and extract useful information that can help individuals, organization and society to make better decisions. Big data is changing the paradigm of organizations and creating a new culture where business and IT specialists are joining hands to utilize the value of big data. People and organizations are taking data from various sources, applying relevant analytics and mining techniques to find answers that can help them in making better decisions. Some of the applications of “Big Data” are:
Better customer segmentation and customer engagement – Customization of the products is a major requirement and concern for all the international companies as the requirements and tastes of customers vary around the globe and is an essential factor to build customer loyalty and engagement. Big data provides organization the strength to collect, analyze and act on the data by gaining useful knowledge about customer behaviors and preferences
Optimization of business operations and processes – Application of analytics on big data helps to optimize business operations and processes such as enabling organizations to cost effectively optimize their stocks, delivery route, supply chain and HR processes
Applications in the field of Medicine – Big data analytics is already being used to monitor patients in clinical trials and helping doctors to predict infections before appearance of symptoms. With the advent and increasing popularity of wearable devices, availability of data is increasing exponentially and by applying right tools, this data can be effectively used in monitoring, predicting and curing various illnesses.
Smart cities and countries – Big data is already in use to improve infrastructure of various cities and many researchers are predicting it as a mean of converting cities into ‘Smart cities’.
Better law-enforcement and security strategies – Law-enforcement companies are using big data analytics to catch criminals, foil terrorist plots, avert cyber-attacks, prevent frauds and even predict terrorist or criminal activities.
Smarter Machines – Big data analytics is improving machine performance. For example, a car can call hospital emergency in case of an accident or a washing machine can decide to start the work when energy demand is lowest etc.
This is just a glimpse of how “Big Data” is working in the current business and social environment and with rapidly growing data and popularity of the concept, many surprises are yet to discover by the researchers.