“Technology is made for both, the usual and the unusual. While we have exploited it for major issues in the commercial domain, there still remain a lot of unexplored areas that analysts are now applying big data applications to, which are cool as well as purposive”.
In the words of Andrew McAfee, ‘The world is one big data problem.’ From the manufacturing industry to the legal industry, big data applications have revolutionized the way we gather, process, and study data. However, along with these corporate solutions that technology provides, big data analysts have now started advancing into developing unusual solutions for the common man, like determining the best routes to work or finding the fruit tree nearest your house.
Big data applications
1. Big data for medical research
Collating medical data for research is experiencing a new trend with big data analytics. Apple’s new application, Research Kit, is exclusively developed to collect medical data from iOS devices with the user’s consent. Designed mainly for common medical problems like asthma and diabetes, the application was upgraded to collect data related to breast cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and Parkinson’s symptoms. The application gathers data either from the advanced sensors that the iOS devices have or from other health apps installed on the device. The data collected undergoes predictive analysis and clustering algorithms and is readied for medical research by students and doctors.
2. Big data for foraging fruits
Big data applications are now making natural produce available for urbanites. The website, Falling Fruit.org, for instance, is helping the urban population locate the nearest agricultural and local produce directly from the trees around them. The site collates data from the US Department of Agriculture and municipal tree inventories to integrate maps with street tree databases. This data is then processed to create interactive maps and graphs that point out the location of the nearest fruit trees in a city. The website recognizes a user’s location and lists all the sources of fresh fruit available in the vicinity.
3. Big data for skiing resorts
Ski resorts are popularizing the application of big data for reducing wait times and studying resort statistics with predictive analysis. RFID tags are installed in skiing tickets to keep track of skier movements. The information collected from the tags is used to determine popular routes for skiing by reading the most opted skiing routes. The data can be processed to give insights into the duration of individual skiing cycles, the frequency of the skiers around the year, and the busy hours of the day. Mathematical models are then designed to analyze this data and wait time, pricing, and skiing schedules can accordingly be decided to engage more people in the sport.
4. Big data for product marketing
Another unusual application of big data is its use in social physics for answering plain-language business queries. An MIT initiative by Alex Pentland and Yaniv Altshuler, Endor,is a predictive analysis platform that allows a user to enter a raw business-related query, analyzes it, and provides an accurate answer in just 15 minutes. Running relevant searches for the data required in the query, the platform studies the current customer social behavior and models a prediction of the future behavior. Based on this extrapolation, the platform authors an answer to the requested query. The app is said to be ‘Inventing Google for predictive analysis’ and has the potential to replace data scientists in the future.
What we now see is just the tip of the big data iceberg. There are many more applications that are employing the technology to simplify or improve the current methods and standards. The technology is expanding its limits and is being made available for most of the industries and sectors. But, there is a still a long way to go for big data to completely assimilate into our daily lives.