As one of our first posts in the new years we want to recap the year that passed by sharing with you our top 10 impacts of Big Data in 2013.

1. Google’s Driverless car: In order to evaluate its direction, its surroundings, its speed and any other necessary information Google’s driverless car is constantly evaluating information from a surround Laser system and other sources using algorithms.

2. Target knows you’re pregnant before you do: Target had identified a selection of products that are particularly likely to be bought at every stage of a pregnancy and adapted its customer mailings based on that information. In one case Target had started suggesting pregnancy-related products to a minor, which prompted the enraged father to complain to the management. It later turns out he was not fully aware of everything that was happening in his house and Target knew his daughter was pregnant before he did.

3. Smartphones as weather base stations: Many Android phones already contain the necessary technology to turn them into tiny weather monitors. OpenSignal collates all that data and analyses it, making for much more accurate and detailed weather prognoses.

4. Smart Meters can mean custom pricing: As more and more smart meters are installed in homes utilities providers can start measuring when and how much electricity is being used. In fact, as each individual device has a specific usage stamp, they can track and identify usage on a device level and develop pricing systems based on that (i.e. using the washing machine at 3am will make it cheaper).

5. Predicting Heart Disease: IBM wants to use Big Data to detect signs of heart disease a long time before it actually surfaces based on EHR data of patients. Early symptoms that occur at a higher probability much earlier point in time among those affected by heart disease might come to light and thus prevent deaths by treating whoever is at risk once the symptoms surface.

6. Optimising Product Selection: Analysing its sales data Walmart found that people purchased many more poptarts than usual when stocking up on supplies prior to a hurricane. As a result stores that are in affected areas start placing poptarts just inside the entrance. (The strawberry ones are particularly loved by the way).

7. Tailoring fan services: Lady Gaga’s manager is a major believer in data analytics. In tailoring her fan site to the demands of the fans Troy Carter used insights gained from analysis of facebook and twitter to motivate as many fans as possible to migrate to the fansite.

8. Research in healthcare: In another example of applying Big Data analytics to the healthcare field the AHIMA wrote a paper on what she feels can be done with the immense quantities of unstructured data that exist in the form of x-rays, CT-scans, doctors notes, patient files etc. Primarily it would aid research, but that could then mean more specific medicines e.g. in fields such as psychology where specificity is severely lacking currently.

9. Gamification: Techniques that were long used to optimise games according to their player’s preferences (Fishville for example started offering more transparent animals when they found that they were more likely to be bought) are now entering the non-gaming area. Creating incentives for certain actions for example is one tactic, but it requires knowledge of what they will respond to – knowledge that Big Data can deliver.

10. Crop Insurance based on Big Data analytics: The Climate Corporation offers live tracking of the current conditions on your field, e.g. precipitation, humidity and even growth stage. Since it aggregates that data and is able to process it on a large scale it offers crop insurance customized to the individual fields.

These are our top ten impacts of Big Data but we invite you to share yours in the comment section below.

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