Big Data in 2014: Cleaner Environment, Finding Bigfoot

By Craig Galbraith Comments
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Big-data analysis was one of the burgeoning technology headlines in 2013, and its future, no doubt, is bright.

Alacer Group has some interesting predictions on where the sector is headed, from helping to make higher education more affordable to solving one of North America's greatest mysteries.

Big changes in higher education. The consultants at Alacer Group note the challenges of rising costs of education and a large number of unemployed who are lacking skills to re-enter the workforce. But online education, they say, is growing, and it's supported by Hadoop and other big-data technologies. "Thanks to organizations such as Coursera and Big Data University, we see everyone having access to education, either for free or for a very low cost."

Solving a great mystery. Might big-data analysis prove the existence of Bigfoot? "A researcher at Penn State University is using analytics to examine 92 years of data to discover patterns that could eventually be used to track the beast once and for all. Or not," Alacer Group said.

Auto industry fights the war against climate change. Ford is using big data to design new cars that lower CO2 emissions. "Ford is also tackling the problem via its sales channels through a new app, the Fleet Purchase Planner, which leverages big data to clearly illustrates how procurement managers can determine their greenest options (i.e., electric, hybrid, etc.)."

Smarter romance. Can big data help you find romance? eHarmony says its users are generating terabytes of data. The website will use better algorithms and deeper analytics to help find you a more compatible match. "For example, perhaps a man thinks he’s attracted to redheads, but he clicks more frequently on the profiles of brunettes. eHarmony know this, and will use the data to understand what the man is truly looking for, improving the accuracy of the dating platform’s selections and responses."

Follow senior online managing editor @Craig_Galbraith on Twitter.

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