How is big data used in the real world?

It seems like big data is the hottest trend at the moment, most major companies are already working with it and those that aren’t want to be. It is constantly evolving and being used in almost every aspect of life from disaster prevention to space. Here at KDR we love to know all about the uses and development of big data. So with this in mind we asked the team at KDR offices to tell us their favourite uses of big data in the real world.

Traffic Management

Big data and analytics are increasingly being used on our roads and Leon believes this is massively helping with traffic management. Transport and traffic agencies are using real-time traffic and weather sensors, alongside eye-witness testimonials on social media to make better, real-time travel decisions. In December 2015 Exeter council announced a new scheme ‘The Engaged Smart Transport project’ to help reduce congestion and make better decisions by using big data. With better data coming from new sensors and traffic reports being incorporated with smart-cars, it can really help the traffic agencies and councils alike plan future road construction and manage traffic to improve travel time and reduce emissions and congestion (to the joy of many drivers).

Big Data in Space

With his head in the cloud recruiter Mike told us about NASA and big data. NASA collects a vast amount of data each day, in a blog post from 2014 NASA stated that “in the time it took you to read this sentence, NASA gathered approximately 1.73 gigabytes of data from our nearly 100 currently active missions!”, with this amount being collected in 2014, 2 years on this amount has got to be rising. This data is not only affecting the Earth but space as well. The data collected for Earth can help deal with disasters in real time, predict climate change and eco-system behaviour, give warnings on natural disasters and even provide education. The data they collect for space is another matter, it can be used to search for distant galaxies, to verify theories and monitor ice caps on Mars. The data NASA collects is constantly growing and who knows what they will be able to predict in the future.

Preventing Fraud

Big data and analytics are increasingly being used in the financial services industry and that’s why Ethan believes 2016 will be a big year for data and finance. By using big data and analytics banks and other financial institutions are able to crack down on fraud by identifying behaviour patterns of consumers past history. The data will be able to tell the financial institution what the consumer normally spends on average, if a transaction is a lot higher than what the data presents the bank can identify fraudulent activity a lot quicker. There are still places to go when fighting against fraud in finance, and now we’re in 2016 the future of how the financial services industry uses big data will be an interesting one to keep an eye on.

Better Customer Service

Coming from a personal experience Amy likes how big data and analytics can help to improve customer service and ultimately her shopping experience. Most major high street stores have several different departments depending on what you want, for example they will have a sales department and a complaints department and the likelihood is these two will not communicate with each other – that’s where data can come in. By using data software effectively each department should be able to see the exact movement of the customer, such as how many times they have called, what they have ordered, how they have been dealt with, as well as previous shopping habits. By using a system like this the shopping experience should be seamless.

Protecting the Vulnerable

The previous examples show how big data can affect the world around us but can big data affect real people? Operations Director Mel told us about how big data is being used in America to protect children in the foster system. In Allegheny Council they are planning to use data to anticipate trouble before it happens. The council plans to use data to “predict a child’s future” and prevent them from being put in foster care. The data they collect will be used to create a scoring system to analyse a child’s home life and the risks of them being put in danger. This plan is still not in place as some consider it quite controversial however the council hope that this will help them to identify children that are of a higher risk of abuse.

These are just some of the uses of big data in the real world. Keep an eye out for the next part in our series where more of our recruiters will tell us what they think are the best uses of data.

What is your favourite use of big data in the real world?

KDR Recruitment is the home of the best data, technology and analytics jobs. For more big data news and views follow KDR on LinkedIn.

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