“Big data” may seem like just another buzzword for 2020, but in reality, it is one of the most important concepts of modern times. Our unprecedented ability to collect and store data is revolutionizing the business world and giving companies predictive insight that they have never dreamed of before. Motor companies can now anticipate breakdowns, credit card companies can apply personally tailored rates for their clients, and mega-retailers like Costco and Wal-Mart can track sales with accuracy that almost seems psychic. Big data is changing the way business gets done in every facet of the game. From marketing to biotech, humanity’s ability to collect raw numbers, turn them into actionable information, and then dig them up for later use is staggering and changing the world at rapid speeds.
Data for data’s sake
One of the most noticeable ways that big data is changing the world is by making the collection of data one of the biggest and most profitable practices in the world. So many companies started looking for third parties to collect and process their customer’s data that an entire boom industry was born out of it. Billions of dollars are being made every year by companies specifically existing just to deal with all the raw data that is being created by other companies. There are so many things being watched over by these corporations that it would take a whole new company to just count them all. Big data is being asserted in every single facet of life. They are collecting our personal data, business data, consumer data, product data, and so on. Knowing the numbers can make any business more profitable and more efficient.
Economies to scale
Sometimes people hear words like data and statistics and think that their companies are too small to benefit from a strong data collection program. But studies show that no matter the size a company is, it can still benefit from keeping track of all their fundamental data. From Wal-Mart down to the family drugstore in Anytown, USA; keeping an eye on the margins and vigilantly tracking the numbers is proven to increase profits. The rise of big data has led to many workplaces working more efficiently in all areas of the business. This is the chief reason why it is such a proven profit booster: efficiency breeds profitability. Companies of all sizes have been able to gain a lot more insight into their profit centers than ever before. Keeping track of your companies data can act as a road map to financial viability and growth.
All of the data collection being done in the modern world has far-reaching applications that go way beyond boosting businesses’ profits. Big data is also being applied to individuals. Now more than ever companies are taking stock of what products their customers are buying, where they travel and what companies they book with, what music and TV they watch, what movies they rent, and a wide range of other personal habits. The data being collected is then used to direct targeted marketing at people because there is so much more understanding of what people actually want. Of course, those algorithms can be tricked, and sometimes it’s fun to see what buzzwords can be used publicly to reform your own algorithm. But, it’s also pretty neat to have advertisers sending ads for products and services we may actually use, instead of just being inundated by whatever company paid the most for ad space. What a wild time we live in where the companies we purchase goods and services from aren’t focused on selling us stuff anymore, they are focused on buying us!
As time marches on, our ability to gather, store, and interpret data is only going to get more powerful and more efficient. We are moving into a future where grocery providers will be able to make educated guesses when you run out of milk so accurately so they can deliver you a new carton. Engine failure in cars, airplanes, and farm equipment will be set to a timer so repairs can be made before it ever becomes an issue. Music streaming services will be able to predict what we want to listen to at any given time before we even ask it. No, the biggest companies in the world didn’t hire psychics, and it certainly isn’t magic. Big data is a place where intuition meets technology and it’s changing the game of what it means to be alive.