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Big data is now one of the leading topics of discussion among IT professionals, academicians, and business leaders. It has become the leading game-changer in almost every industry over the past few years. As this technology continues showing immense potential, there has been a change of tact by those concerned. Instead of focusing on the discussion around big data, they now concentrate on the value of this technology to businesses. The majority of organizations now understand that if they collect all the data that comes into their businesses, they can use analytics to obtain insights that can be valuable. While the term “big data” might be new, businesses have been using basic analytics as early as 1950 to uncover insights and trends.

While basic analytics helped businesses back then, the benefits of modern big data analytics cannot be over-emphasized. Businesses today can identify insights for fast decisions. The ability to quickly work and remain agile gives organizations a competitive edge, that they did not have before.

Here are some areas that have benefited from big data.

  1. Banking and securities

The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) uses big data in various areas. One of the ways is monitoring market activity. SEC is currently using network analytics and natural language processing (NLP) to trace and catch illegal trading activities in financial markets. Similarly, banks, retail traders, hedge funds, and other big players in the financial markets are also using big data to analyze trading activity in high-frequency trading to make decisions. They are also crucial in fraud analysis and mitigation as well as in and anti-money laundering initiatives. The finance and banking industries rely heavily on big data analytics for risk analysis and Know Your Customer (KYC), all of which are crucial in business today.

  1. In communications and media

Companies in the media, entertainment, and communications sectors need to analyze data and create profiles for each customer simultaneously. These profiles can be used to create content for the target audience, recommend content on-demand, and measure the influence of the content.  An example is Spotify, an on-demand music services platform that use big data analytics service Hadoop to collect data from millions of its users globally. The data is then analyzed, and customers given recommendations based on insights. Wimbledon Championships also uses analytics to deliver tennis matches to TV, mobile, and internet users in real-time.

  1. Healthcare

The Healthcare industry has been left behind in many areas of technology. Despite the challenge encountered by the sector in utilizing other technologies in the past, healthcare providers are now using big data to reduce the cost of services. Big data is also used to ensure the services offered in healthcare are top quality and meet the demands of patients. Healthcare databases that store healthcare information can benefit from big data analytics by drawing crucial patterns that can be used to make healthcare decisions. Some hospitals are now collecting data from cell phone applications from patients and using data for evidence-based medicine for efficient treatment. Unlike tests that can be expensive, gathering data using mobile apps allows patients to be treated with a lower cost and effectively.

  1. Education

Big data is used in many areas of education. In higher education, for example, Learning Management Systems that track student logs, the time they spent in specific areas, and the overall progress of students over a given time are used. Big data is also used to measure the effectiveness of teachers and the experience of students.

From the above examples and many more, it is clear that big data is making inroads in many industries. Having given a few examples of how big data can benefit different industries, it is now clear that the reason why companies are investing in it is to obtain a competitive advantage. It is for this reason that many developments are to be expected in big data and its implementation going forward.

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Scott Koegler

Scott Koegler is Executive Editor for Big Data & Analytics Tech Brief


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