Data deluge

Tags: Knowledge

An astonishing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being generated every day, playing a pivotal role in transforming our lives

Data has never had such prominence in the course of human development as it does now. The new digital lifestyle is creating and generating unprecedented volumes of data that is streaming through a labyrinth of digital networks that connect every touch point of human life. An astonishing 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are being generated every day. While much has been written about the power of big data in helping businesses in sectors such as telecom, retail, manufacturing and media make money, here are five areas we believe the technology can and will play a pivotal role in transforming quality of life.

For a healthier

tomorrow

Technology is playing a significant role around the world to improve the quality of healthcare, because the demand for patient engagement, clinical analytics, enhanced resource utilisation, and development of good healthcare infrastructure has never been greater. In this context, big data has the potential to drive meaningful progress in the medical field, particularly as health experts seek cures for life-threatening illnesses that affect more and more people each year. In clinical research arena, for example, the ability to consolidate health data from patients in hospitals all over the world and trend it in real-time against geographical factors, weather, local social customs, and family history becomes very powerful. Armed with the new insights that big data analyses will give them, medical professionals can focus their efforts and accelerate the race to cure terminal disease.

Advance science and

discovery

Advanced scientific research is a game played in the minutiae of life, where discoveries made on the tiniest scale can have enormous implications for the entire human population. Projects are often long and labour-intensive, as researchers conduct a seemingly endless number of iterative analyses on these microscopic events as they look for trends that point to new discoveries. Big data analytics are perfectly suited to this type of work — extracting value from thousands, or even millions, of experimental results are greatly facilitated by IT solutions that can gather, store, and process these in a meaningful way.

Prevent financial fraud

Bank frauds can cost financial institutions millions every year. To protect themselves and their customers, banks have turned to big data-driven solutions, which are particularly effective at consolidating large volumes of unstructured customer data to drive better decision making. Trending information on customer transactions against where, how, and when they regularly conduct their bank activity, for example, makes it much easier for banks to detect fraud and react more proactively to suspicious transactions.

Sports coaching

A football coach must foster the continuous improvement of his team’s performance and develop winning strategies that cater to each player’s strengths. Keeping an eye on every player during a heated match is quite difficult however, which means that coaches gain a limited amount of insight to work with each game. Enter big data analytics — using motion-capture technology to understand player movements throughout a game, coaches can then employ data analysis to visualise and evaluate performance metrics such as how many touches each player had, where on the pitch strikers shoot from most, and who was playing when the opposing team scored their goals, for example. With this higher-level vision of team performance, coaches can take a more dynamic approach to their work and evolve their strategies to improve player results throughout the season.

Predict disasters,

mitigate impact

Climatologists, geophysicists and weather companies are collecting and monitoring thousands of gigabytes of data about atmospheric changes as well as changes taking place in earth’s core. By analysing and co-relating this data to predict patterns and anomalies that indicate an impending calamity, authorities can give adequate warning to public and evacuate them to safer places. When a calamity strikes, Big data technology makes it possible to analyse data received from mobiles and social feeds to help authorities create detailed visualisations of people displaced and damage incurred. These insights help create a more effective disaster recovery plan, potentially saving many lives. The technology was effectively used when Hurricane Sandy hit America and it holds great potential in India to deal with natural disasters like the flash flood that ravaged Uttarakhand in June last year.

zz

(The writer is country

director, Geo Expansion

Programme, Oracle India)

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