Big Data has become a big game changer in most modern industries over the last few years. Certainly, industries have been generating huge volumes of data every day. Hence, it is harder for them to deal with and to draw insights from such data through traditional systems. Thus, resolving this difficulty has now become their area of focus. Whether it is retail or sports, media or banking, all produce and use Big Data!
Some numbers on Big Data-
Gartner Survey, 2015–
More than 73% of companies (i.e. up by 15% from 2012) are investing or are planning to invest in Big Data in the next two years.
Forbes Insights Survey–
90% of businesses report medium to high levels of investment in Big Data analytics.
The graph compares the sector-wise investment in Big Data of 2011 to that of the 2017 forecasts. It clearly shows the stellar growth of Big Data applications over a span of less than half a decade.
How have industries used Big Data to their benefit?
Many companies are leveraging Big Data to solve business problems, gain insights and thus achieve success.
1. Banking and Securities
A recent study shows that the industry is using Big Data for detecting fraud (i.e. at an early stage), archiving audit trails, keeping track of transactions, and analyzing trading and compliance analytics.
SEC prevents insider trading
The SEC (i.e. Securities and Exchange Commission) uses Big Data technologies to monitor financial market activities and also catch illegal insider trading activities in the financial markets. The SEC collects 400 gigabytes of market data daily. This includes data on each trade that takes place across numerous exchanges. It uses this data to prevent illegal insider trading.
Morgan Stanley predicts financial trends
High-Frequency Trading is a new area of application for Big Data. Retail traders, banks, hedge fund managers, and others in the financial markets use Big Data for trade analytics, pre-trade decision analytics, sentiment measurement, predictive analytics, etc. Financial behemoths, such as Morgan Stanley, are using Hadoop to store and analyze data. This provides better portfolio analysis and also predicts the impact of global events on financial markets.
Did you know? Big Data will have a key role in the fields of risk analytics, anti-money laundering, KYC (Know Your Customer), and fraud mitigation.
2. Communications and Media
The communications and media industry is using Big Data technologies for collecting, analyzing, and utilizing consumer insights and preferences. It is also leveraging mobile and social media data to comprehend patterns in media usage. It analyzes customer and behavioral data to create and recommend content for different target audiences.
Vodafone and AT&T identify weak spots in coverage
Telecom giants such as Vodafone and AT&T use Big Data analytics for customer experience management and network capacity planning and optimization. The data collected in the cell towers then helps them in identifying the weak spots in their coverage area.
Spotify recommends music
The on-demand music service uses Hadoop to collect data from millions of users worldwide. Based on this data, it provides music recommendations to its users. Spotify users create approximately 600 Gigabytes of data per day. Spotify currently has 28 Petabytes of storage, spread out over 4 data centers across the world.
Netflix predicts viewers’ interests
Netflix (i.e. an online streaming platform for films and TV series) tries to predict what the customer wants before he or she knows what they want! In fact, Netflix, with its sophisticated algorithms, has successfully used Big Data. It analyzed the interests of its 74.76 million worldwide viewers before coming up with the popular sitcom series, “House of Cards.”
Shazam predicts popular artists & genres
Shazam allows its users to upload segments of songs they hear on television or radio. It also lets them find out the name, artist, and all other details of the song. Shazam users make 15 million song identifications each day. On the basis of such data, Shazam then predicts the popular artists and genres (that may get attention in the upcoming years).
3. Health Care
Health care data sets comprise both structured and unstructured data (e.g., radiologic images, lab results, ECG, X-ray reports, etc.). It is impossible for conventional legacy systems to analyze such voluminous amounts of data.
Therefore, using Big Data technologies helps in reducing overhead costs, curing diseases, predicting epidemics and enhancing the quality of human life by preventing deaths. Some cases in healthcare are well suited for a Big Data solution. Some healthcare institutions use Big Data for research to identify the cause of terminal diseases such as cancer and HIV. As a result, providing cures (or preventive measures) to the diseases became easier than before.
There are about 3 billion base pairs that constitute the human DNA. One gram of DNA can store a whopping 700 terabytes of data! That is equivalent to 14,000 Blu-ray discs of 50-gigabyte each. (Goodbye CDs, pen drives, memory cards and hard disks?!) Storing and analyzing such volumes of data cannot be done without Big Data technologies such as Hadoop.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta tracks patient signs
The non-profit hospital used sensors beside its beds. This helped in tracking patient signs (such as blood pressure, heartbeat and respiratory rates) continuously. As a result, these sensors produce large volumes of data. Big Data tools, viz., Hadoop, store and analyze such data.
Governments are trying to utilize the vast amount of public data generated across different government departments. The data is then correlated for better governance.
FDA treats diseases
The FDA (i.e. Food and Drug Administration) uses Big Data to detect and study patterns of food-related illnesses and diseases. This has resulted in better identification and treatment of diseases, thereby reducing the death counts in the US.
NSA prevents terrorism
U.S.A’s NSA (i.e. National Security Agency) uses Big Data analytics to prevent terrorist activities. FBI and Secret Service are using Big Data techniques to detect and prevent cyber-attacks. Police forces around the world leverage Big Data and image processing to catch criminals and even predict criminal activity. Credit card companies use Big Data to detect fraudulent transactions.
Barack Obama wins elections
Many experts attribute Barak Obama’s victory in the 2012 presidential elections to his effective usage of social media. His analytics team drew key insights from social media posts and used this data to predict polls. Hence, the design of the campaign was altered accordingly.
Governments have been able to optimize traffic flows in cities based on real-time traffic information, social media, and weather data. Many cities across the globe have adopted Big Data technologies with the aim of turning themselves into Smart Cities (where transport infrastructure and utility processes are well integrated).
Insurance companies are trying to use Big Data analytics for providing policy recommendations that are fair to the consumer. Thus, protecting the best interests of the insurance company.
A study was conducted by Marketforce, the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) and the Chartered Institute of Loss Adjusters. It was found that 9 out of 10 insurance companies believe that their pricing accuracy would increase by getting access to real-time claims.
Insurance companies use Big Data technologies to provide customer insights. Insights are obtained by analyzing and predicting customer behavior through social media, GPS-enabled devices, behavioral data and demographical data.
Markerstudy Insurance reduces claims cost
By using the Big Data solutions provided by Cloudera, Markerstudy Insurance has been able to reduce their claims cost by £5 million (approx.) on account of better fraud detection. They were also able to prevent customer churning by 50% and increase their policy counts by 120%.
6. Retail & E-Tail
This industry uses Big Data technologies for analyzing its customer’s needs, optimizing staff, reducing fraud and timely analysis of inventory. Data from social media is being used for promoting products, prospecting and retaining customers, etc. About 6 billion people (i.e. 87% of the world’s population) use mobile phones. This has made e-commerce websites and mobile apps to be popular purchasing mediums.
The graph shows the huge gap between the retailers (i.e. by function) who have adopted and those who are planning to adopt Big Data by investing in such initiatives.
Walmart optimizes stock
The world’s largest retailer, Walmart, uses Big Data technologies too. Walmart predicts trends and lays down preparation plans to meet future demand effectively with the help of Big Data. It optimizes stock based on predictions generated from social media data, web search trends, and weather forecasts.
Data from wearable devices (i.e. GPS trackers and fitness trackers) provides stats on each player such as their speed, heart rate, and acceleration. Coaches can use this data to select the best players and make smarter decisions on the field or court.
Houston Rockets measures player efficiency
Houston Rockets uses Big Data analytics to measure player efficiency and defensive effectiveness. A player’s value is measured by metrics such as player’s efficiency rating, contribution in the wins and skill, and fitness over other players.
IBM SlamTracker predicts players’ performance
IBM along with the United States Tennis Association started the IBM SlamTracker. This offers real-time statistics to tennis fans across six digital platforms, including the U.S. Open’s official smartphone app and website. They use 41 million data points to predict the aspects of a player’s game determining his or her performance in a match.
A Screenshot from the IBM Slam Tracker app
8. Research and Development
CERN, the Swiss nuclear physics lab with its Large Hadron Collider, uses Big Data. The CERN data center has 65,000 processors which they use to analyze over 30 petabytes of data. It also uses thousands of computers present in 150 data centers worldwide to analyze the data. So analyzing the data from particle accelerators and detectors has played a key role in discovering the Higgs Boson particle. This is being extensively used for anti-matter research too.
Big Data has surely revolutionized the way industries work. The growing use of Big Data is all about getting key insights from the data that is generated every day. Thus, various industries can now make smarter decisions based on these insights. It has also enabled them to reduce their operational costs, improve customer experience, analyze market risks and reduce frauds. Hence, it is vital to know about Big Data and the ways to harness it for better productivity.
Have you read our article on 4 Big Data Essentials you didn’t know?