Over the past fifteen years, big data has emerged as one of the most transformative forces in today’s economy. Initially, big data made its presence felt within the IT industry, where new software frameworks such as Hadoop were developed to handle the huge amounts of information being generated by the internet. Internet marketers soon found that insights into search engine and customer data gave them a major competitive advantage. As other businesses began adopting Internet marketing tactics, big data applications spread to other industries, as companies learned to leverage business intelligence in a wide range of contexts, including everything from marketing and sales to financial planning and project management. Today, you would be hard-pressed to name an industry that has not felt the impact of big data.
This includes some industries that most people would not intuitively associate with big data. Here’s a look at some of the surprising ways big data is transforming today’s business world.
1. Media and Entertainment: Understanding Advertising Audiences and Mining News Data
One sector where big data is having a surprising impact is the media and entertainment industry. With everything in media revolving around understanding advertising audiences, big data is proving invaluable for gaining insights into viewer demographics, preferences, and trends. For example, Netflix popularized the practice of offering customers viewing choices based on their viewing history. Building on this strategy, the data that YouTube collects on video audiences includes data on what other videos are popular among viewers of a given video. This enables advertisers to have a deeper understanding of what their target audience wants, allowing for more targeted advertising. Similarly, video publishers can compare the viewing habits of an individual viewer with those of other viewers with similar tastes, allowing them to suggest customized content and ads. TV channels and gaming companies can leverage big data in similar ways to understand their audiences and hone their advertising.
News reporting is also benefiting from big data tools. Investigative journalists can comb digital public records with analytics tools in order to uncover patterns that would not be evident from manual research, yielding potential breaking news stories and deeper insights into news angles. For instance, a journalist researching a story related to real estate, local government, or local energy resources could use DataTree’s Land Services tool to rapidly locate all public records relevant to a given property.
2. Healthcare: Improving Care and Empowering Research
Another industry where big data is gaining surprising currency is healthcare. The most popular use of big data in healthcare is the collection and analysis of patients’ electronic health records, which contain a vast amount of information that can be leveraged to improve care quality. For example, Kaiser Permanente’s HealthConnect database lets providers share patient electronic records across all medical facilities. This approach has allowed teams of physicians, nurses, and specialists to work with survivors of heart attacks to drastically improve post-attack survival rates and cholesterol management, thanks to better implementation of medication and lifestyle adjustment therapies.
In addition to helping individual patients, big data is empowering medical researchers to gain better insights into diseases by pooling data from large groups of patients. One important application is the National Cancer Data Ecosystem, an initiative of the Cancer Moonshot program to accelerate cancer research. By creating a national infrastructure to connect cancer data research collections with big data analytical tools, the ecosystem aims to achieve goals such as understanding the causes of hereditary cancer for earlier detection and intervention.
3. Banking: Improving Service and Detecting Fraud
The banking sector is also reaping the benefits of using big data analytics. Banks can use customer data to track items such as spending patterns and transaction channel preferences, enabling customers to be segmented based on their profiles. This can allow banking institutions to extend customized product offers based on a customer’s financial background, helping banks better serve customer needs.
Another important function of big data is detecting and preventing fraud. Fraudulent transactions tend to follow patterns, and to depart from patterns characteristic of legitimate transactions. In some cases, these patterns are not easily discernible to the naked eye, but can be detected through a big-data analysis of large-scale patterns. For instance, if a normally cautious account holder who usually pays with their card suddenly attempts to withdraw large amounts of cash from an ATM, this may be a sign that their card has been stolen. Similarly, mortgage fraud attempts can often be intercepted by using big data tools to do a due diligence records search. DataTree’s legal solutions suite includes a feature that lets lending institutions automate the process of searching national real estate databases, improving your ability to spot applicants exhibiting suspicious behavior.
Big Data Can Benefit You
Big data is providing beneficial in surprising ways to many industries. The media and entertainment industries are finding insights into user data invaluable for market research, advertising, and public records mining. The healthcare industry is using big data to improve patient care and empower research. Banks and are deploying big data to improve service and prevent fraud. No matter what industry you’re in, chances are that big data can benefit your business. If you’d like to learn more about how DataTree’s analytics tools can help you, use our online form to set up a demo and free trial.