Source | MetricStream
As you read this, data volumes across the world are exploding at an unprecedented rate. Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp alone process 60 billion messages a day. Instagram has over 500 million active users per month who share more than 95 million photos and videos every day. And that’s just social media. McKinsey predicts that by 2020, as many as 30 billion smart devices will be connected. Can you imagine the amount of data that that will produce?
What’s truly exciting is that we now have the technology to dig deep into these massive treasure troves of data, and draw out meaningful connections and insights that will allow us to make better, faster decisions. We’re finally beginning to make the shift from collecting data to connecting data. Emerging technologies such as natural language processing, machine learning, and artificial intelligence have catapulted us into a new era of human intelligence supplemented and enhanced by data science.
In this exciting new world, the individuals and organizations who are able to truly harness the power of data – those who can turn it into timely insights to drive performance, decrease risks, and pursue opportunities – those will be the innovators, the survivors, and success stories of tomorrow.
Big data is fundamentally changing the way we do things. Take the automobile industry, for instance. Where traditional car safety features like airbags and seat belts were designed to react to accidents, Tesla is shifting the narrative to how we can avoid accidents by collecting real-time data on driver behavior, and combining it with machine-learning concepts to build smarter, safer vehicles.
In healthcare too, we’re not far from a time when big data will provide a way to predict and prevent epidemics, cure diseases, and improve one’s quality of life. Imagine if your smartphone could suggest the single dietary change that would most improve your health based on your unique genetic material and medical history? That and more is exactly what healthcare groups like the Pittsburgh Health Data Alliance are working towards by combining and crunching data from electronic medical records, genomic sequencing, insurance documents, and even wearable sensors.
As for education, big data holds enormous potential to create happier, smarter children by personalizing learning and development programs to each child’s unique needs. Already institutions like the Grand Rapids Public Schools in Michigan are mining data to successfully quantify and minimize chronic student absenteeism.
Meanwhile, cities have begun using the power of data gathered from road sensors and traffic cameras to control traffic lights and reduce congestion. Police forces are using predictive data analytics to anticipate and prevent crimes, as well as to foil terrorist plots. Agriculturalists are exploring how we can end world hunger by using big data to optimize crop production. And all this is just the tip of the iceberg.