As humanity moves more and more of its business, entertainment, and communication online, we also generate exponentially larger amounts of data with each passing year. So much, in fact, that we have trouble keeping track of all of it, let alone organizing or analyzing it. Welcome to the age of Big Data, where today’s exabytes of information will soon be as quaint as the floppy discs of yesteryear.
Big Data Is a Potential Goldmine
Although its origins are somewhat murky, the impact of Big Data has become crystal clear. With more devices connected to the Internet than ever before, humanity is generating about 2.5 quintillion bytes every day. This data includes not just Internet traffic, but feedback from automated traffic monitors, financial and legal transactions, and even global climate technology that tracks earthquakes, polar ice and weather events.
All this information is a potential goldmine for commercial, educational and humanitarian efforts, and the need to create, organize, and analyze large sets of data has become much more than a simple buzzword flying through the electronic ether — Big Data is big business.
Companies specializing in handling Big Data have sprung up seemingly overnight to meet the challenges — and take maximum advantage of the opportunities — presented by the global swell of information. Using advanced database management technology such as Apache™ Hadoop®, companies, universities, governments, and medical organizations are looking beyond the mere harvesting of information to improve their bottom lines or improve efficiency.
How Big Data Increased Information by Combining What It Collects
With Big Data, it’s possible to coordinate huge swaths of data that can help us better understand complex phenomena like weather and traffic.
And properly aggregated and analyzed, large sets of data can give us the ability to reduce the cost of education (thanks to the power of large-scale, high-volume information delivery across the ‘Net), boost efficiency and productivity by eliminating needless redundancy and errors, and even improve the job market thanks to correlated data sets that actively match job hunters with employers eagerly seeking their specific skills.
And that’s just the tip of the information iceberg. With research already underway to use Big Data to fight crime, improve Web security, and even predict disasters (both economic and natural) long before they actually occur, big changes in the way we live are likely to keep coming as our data — and our mastery of its intricacies — continues to grow.
7 Ways Big Data Could Revolutionize Life by 2020
With the evolution of the Internet has come a vast amount of data. In fact, IBM reported that 90% of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. Today, we create 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day, and innovators are discovering ways to put that data to good use. The big data market is expected to be worth $50 billion by 2017, up from $5 billion in 2012.
The manipulation of big data not only presents an opportunity to make a significant economic impact, but is also likely to revolutionize our lives.
1. Websites and apps will be safer (and more functional)
Big data can be used to identify and track fraudulent behavior to improve the security of websites.
- 63% of website owners don’t know they were hacked.
- Over 90% didn’t notice any strange activity on their site.
- About half discovered their site had been hacked when they visited it and received a browser or search engine warning.
Big data is predicted to bring new visibility into what’s going on within a company’s network and how external data sources can help predict upcoming attacks.
Experts predict that big data will bring better scalability and performance to security information and event management (SIEM) with the ability to analyze new types of data and increased analysis speed.
Founded by ex-Google engineers, Sift Science (SiftScience.com) fights fraud with large-scale machine learning — systems that can learn from data to recognize patterns of fraudulent behavior based on past examples.
- Today, the system can detect up to 90% of the fraud happening on sites and services.
- Clients include Airbnb, Uber, and Listia, among other online marketplaces, payment networks, and e-commerce sites.
Another machine-learning program, MLSec (MLSec.org) uses supervised learning algorithms to identify networks that are home to malicious actors. The system has been accurate in 92-95% of cases tested.
2. Everyone could have access to higher education
The U.S. has a talent gap issue. In 2012, it saw the highest number of job openings in nearly 4 years, while 22 million people were unemployed or underemployed.
Yet college tuition costs have been rising twice as quickly as healthcare costs and 4x more quickly than the Consumer Price Index.
Today, several online programs like Coursera (coursera.org), Venture Labs (venture-labs.org), Khan Academy (khanacademy.org), and Big Data University (BigDataUniversity.com) are making courses from leading universities available for free.
These programs are also testing the effectiveness of a college education.
And they’re offering courses that are applicable to today’s high-tech environment.
BigDataUniversity.com is using big data to teach big data, offering tutorials on how to utilize big data technologies like Hadoop.
With 400+ free courses from 83 educational institutions, Coursera has developed an educational platform at big data scale.
- It offers in-lecture interactive quizzes that are in sync with every student and provide immediate feedback and recall before a student has the chance to fall behind.
- Over 4 million students have signed up and some courses reach tens of thousands of people.
3. Landing a job will become easier
With more than 80 million unique visitors and 1.5 billion job searches per month, Indeed.com offers easy access to some of the information it’s amassing on employers and job-seekers.
For example, users can use Indeed’s database to determine whether their skills are in demand, which markets are the most competitive, where employers are hiring for their skill sets, etc.
4. Roads will be safer
Car accidents are the leading cause of death in people ages 16-19 in the U.S.
75% of these accidents have nothing to do with drugs or alcohol.
With big data, scientists and computers can make reasonable predictions on how cars and their drivers will behave on the road.
Intel is working on technologies that allow cars to communicate through the exchange of data so drivers will be able to see 3 cars in front of, behind, and to each side of them at the same time.
- Data-swapping cars will be able to predict future events to avoid accidents.
- They’ll detect if a driver is looking forward, looking down, or having a cup of coffee.
Ford is developing vehicle-to-infrastructure and vehicle-to-vehicle systems that warn drivers of potentially hazardous traffic events, such as when a car is about to speed through a red light.
Google’s self-driving car takes the use of data in the auto industry to a whole new level.
5. We’ll predict the future for smarter business
Organizations can now leverage more data from more sources to make rapid, more accurate assessments.
Hadoop (hadoop.apache.org) is the open-source software platform that leading companies are using to analyze the mountains of data they’re generating about user behavior and their own operations.
- Hadoop users include Facebook, eBay, Etsy, Yelp, Twitter, Salesforce.com, Skybox Imaging, Disney, and many more.
- Market research firm IDC predicts that Hadoop will be worth $813 million in 2016, although that number is likely very low.
Recorded Future (RecordedFuture.com) helps businesses anticipate risks and capitalize on opportunities through clever algorithms that unlock predictive signals from web chatter. It can even predict planned demonstrations.
Data can be leveraged to anticipate the course of technological development, avoid technological surprise, and make informed decisions regarding technology.
Enterprises that generate continuous streams of large unstructured data can use DataTorrent (DataTorrent.com) to process, monitor, analyze, and act on it. Rather than offer batch processing that Hadoop already makes possible, DataTorrent aims at real-time analysis and alerts via text, email, and other methods.
Data can also be mined to improve customer service and user experience by monitoring usage trends.
Retailers like Wal-Mart and Kohl’s leverage sales, pricing, economic data, demographic, and weather data to fine-tune merchandising store-by-store and anticipate appropriate timing of store sales.
6. We’ll predict the weather & protect the environment
Every mile of shoreline evacuated results in a cost of about $1 million.
From 1980-2010, 99 climate and weather-related events caused $726 billion in damages.
The Joint Polar Satellite Mission launching in 2018 will use sensor technology and data to forecast the path of hurricanes and storms with improved substantially, allowing for better planning.
According to CNBC News, big data analysis is turning the guesswork of yesterday’s meteorology into a more precise and predictive science.
IBM’s Deep Thunder division uses big data weather modeling to predict near-term events for clients in a range of industries including utilities, transportation and agriculture, and municipal governments.
Deep Thunder is heading a project in Rio de Janeiro to better anticipate flooding and predict where mudslides might be triggered by severe storms.
EarthRisk Technologies (EarthRiskTech.com) has developed a new model for predicting the weather up to 42 days in advance. The model identifies weather patterns based on over 82 billion calculations and 60 years of data. It then compares those patterns to current conditions and uses predictive analytics.
In the winter of 2011-2012, many natural gas traders increased prices, expecting it to be cold. EarthRisk’s models showed that the atmosphere wasn’t setting itself up for a high probability of cold weather, letting clients position themselves to make money when natural gas prices declined.
Data analytics is being used to fight environmental crime, from tracking the illegal trading of hazardous substances to uncovering the trade of endangered big cats such as tigers in Asia.
The Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) is using big data to paint a more distinct picture of today’s eco-criminals, pinpointing links between seemingly unconnected criminal groups and illegal activities.
7. Healthcare will be more efficient, effective & customized
According to McKinsey & Company, about 50-70% of all innovations depend at least in part on the capture or integration of customers’ own data, rather than purely outside-in analytics.
Today, 80% of medical data is unstructured and clinically relevant.
If the U.S. healthcare industry used big data creatively and effectively to drive efficiency and quality, the sector could create more than $300 billion in value every year. ? of that would be in the form of reducing expenditure by about 8%.
Access to patient data helps caregivers take an evidence-based approach to medicine.
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston is rolling out a smartphone app that gives caregivers self-service access to 200 million data points about 2 million patients.
With more than 150,000 veterans enrolled, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ Million Veteran Program is using blood samples and other health information from veterans to study how genes affect one’s health.
Asthmapolis merges inhaler usage data collected via a GPS-enabled tracker with CDC information to help physicians develop personalized treatment plans and spot prevention opportunities.
mHealthCoach leverages data to support patients on chronic care medication through an interactive system. It can also be used to identify higher-risk patients and deliver targeted messages and reminders to them.
Rise Health takes the wealth of patient data available and aligns it with the goals of each provider to improve healthcare in all dimensions and create new insights.
Big data allows innovation to take place at greater speeds. For example, the Human Genome Project, which took 13 years, could now be completed in hours.
- How Enterprises Can Use Big Data To Improve Security – darkreading.com
- Ex-Googlers Launch Sift Science, A Fraud-Fighting System For Websites, Backed By $5.5M In Funding From Union Square, First Round, YC & Others – techcrunch.com
- 63% of website owners don’t know how they were hacked – zdnet.com
- Machine-Learning Project Sifts Through Big Security Data – darkreading.com
- If cars could talk, accidents might be avoidable – ted.com
- Connecting Talent to Education at Massive Scale – blog.linkedin.com
- 10 Big Data Sites to Watch – foreignpolicy.com
- DataTorrent raises $8M to bring Big Data from real-time to ‘Nowtime’ – venturebeat.com
- ‘Big data’ can predict weather up to 40 days into the future – venturebeat.com
- Big Data and Analytics Helping to Protect Big Cats – newswatch.nationalgeographic.com
- Use Big Data to Predict Your Customers’ Behaviors – blogs.hbr.org
- Forecasting The Weather With Big Data And The Fourth Dimension – forbes.com
- Startup Professionals Musings – blog.startupprofessionals.com
- Big data: The next frontier for innovation, competition, and productivity – mckinsey.com
- Big Data Companies Try to Outwit Mother Nature’s Chaos – cnbc.com
- 6 Big Data Analytics Use Cases for Healthcare IT – cio.com
- The history of Hadoop: From 4 nodes to the future of data – gigaom.com