4 Breakthrough Uses for Big Data and Why You'll Benefit From Them

4 Breakthrough Uses for Big Data and Why You'll Benefit From Them
đź‘‹ Hi, I am Mark. I am a strategic futurist and innovation keynote speaker. I advise governments and enterprises on emerging technologies such as AI or the metaverse. My subscribers receive a free weekly newsletter on cutting-edge technology.

Big data analytics used to be reserved for large enterprises with deep enough pockets to fund both the IT infrastructure and the data scientists necessary to derive insight from massive data collections. Sure, smaller companies might collect or gain access to big data, but getting actionable information from it was an enormous challenge.

ll types, city engineers have learned how to read clusters of data to determine where rats are likely breeding so sanitation crews know where to direct their efforts. Their algorithm uses 31 variables related to resident complaints about problems like food poisoning cases and overflowing trash containers. In many cases the city can address rodent infestations days before ordinary citizens ever notice a rat. Chicago wants every service agency to have big data analytics by 2016, with capabilities on par with leading smart cities like Seoul, Barcelona, and Amsterdam.

3. Higher Crop Yields

Data analysis can now be used by individual farmers to improve yields.

A few years ago, engineers Craig Rupp and Corbett Kull designed a $500 drive that collects data from farm equipment and beams it to a mobile device, where it's geo-tagged by an on-board GPS. Farmers can either view data in real time, or collect the numbers from the cloud later and gain insight into, for example, which locations are receiving too much fertilizer. Now big data analytics is being touted as the next revolution in agriculture. A San Francisco-based company called Climate bought Rupp and Kull's business and it now combines climatology data analysis with farm data collected from the field to improve farming productivity further.

4. Discovering Unexpected Drug Interactions

Scientists from Stanford and Columbia Universities as well as Microsoft used big data analytics on search engine queries to identify previously unreported prescription drug interactions before such information could reach the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). By examining queries related to an antidepressant and a cholesterol lowering drug, the researchers' data analysis found evidence that the drug combination caused high blood sugar levels. Normally, the FDA only learns of adverse effects when physicians notice something and report it. However, search engine data analysis was able to automate discovery of this drug-drug interaction by identifying individual searches on the drugs, searches on both drugs together, and relevant searches about symptoms.


Small businesses are no longer excluded from the big data analytics scene due to breakthroughs that help eliminate the need for doctorate-level data scientists and massive IT infrastructure investments. Moreover, big data isn't just about predicting consumer behaviour, but is being put to work addressing disasters, running cities better, helping farmers increase production, and alerting medical professionals to problems well before they might know about them otherwise.

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Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr Mark van Rijmenam

Dr. Mark van Rijmenam is a strategic futurist known as The Digital Speaker. He stands at the forefront of the digital age and lives and breathes cutting-edge technologies to inspire Fortune 500 companies and governments worldwide. As an optimistic dystopian, he has a deep understanding of AI, blockchain, the metaverse, and other emerging technologies, and he blends academic rigour with technological innovation.

His pioneering efforts include the world’s first TEDx Talk in VR in 2020. In 2023, he further pushed boundaries when he delivered a TEDx talk in Athens with his digital twin , delving into the complex interplay of AI and our perception of reality. In 2024, he launched a digital twin of himself offering interactive, on-demand conversations via text, audio or video in 29 languages, thereby bridging the gap between the digital and physical worlds – another world’s first.

As a distinguished 5-time author and corporate educator, Dr Van Rijmenam is celebrated for his candid, independent, and balanced insights. He is also the founder of Futurwise , which focuses on elevating global digital awareness for a responsible and thriving digital future.


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