In the News: Everyday Applications of Analysis

While big data has become a staple of savvy business strategies, its applications are becoming increasingly consumer-friendly. The majority of data analysis occurs behind the scenes, but we’ve reached the point where smartphone apps offer pocket-sized predictive models to improve users’ decision making. These stories highlight some fascinating uses of data analysis that improve the everyday lives of people all over the world.

Farmers Use Big Data for Better Crops

Farmers need to be experts in efficiency, and the optimization of their resources is more essential to their success now than ever before. The world’s farmers will need to double their current production in order to meet the needs of a growing population, and a big data tool has been developed to help. The tool, called FarmLogs, uses data from connected sensors and satellite imagery to ensure crop land is used effectively, according to VentureBeat. The tool is already used to optimize a quarter of U.S. crop farms. It’s exciting to see big data spur innovation in an age-old industry.

Facebook Analyzes Love Stories

Facebook prides itself on providing a community for its users, but the tech giant has also become well known for cutting edge data analysis. A post on Business 2 Community highlights a fascinating use case Facebook shared around Valentine’s Day. The social media site can predict the start of a relationship by analyzing the number of posts and messages sent between two users, and also foresee a breakup by looking at a user’s interactions with their friends. The platform has become prized for its advertising potential and such data-driven insight into its user base’s behavioral and emotional patterns is central to that appeal.

Introducing Predictive Personal Finance Tools

Personal finance management tools like Mint are steadily gaining popularity. They’ll see increased adoption as technological capabilities improve and financial decisions become increasingly important to millennials and Generation Z. According to VentureBeat personal finance apps will be an outstanding example of predictive analytics improving daily life for the public at large — they’ll be able to get to know their users and offer extremely personalized advice. We’re big believers in democratizing the benefits of data analysis, so we fully support more people consulting a quick analysis before a big purchase.

Analytics Improve the Online Retail Experience

The advent of online retail revolutionized the way most people shop and predictive analytics are key to the evolution of customer experiences. E-commerce platforms built by startup SmarterHQ use analysis to predict which items on a retail site will appeal to a new visitor and place them accordingly, according to Forbes. By analyzing a visitor’s online behaviors — both on and off the site — retailers can make shopping a more efficient and engaging experience. Personalized service is of particular importance now and predictive analytics tools enable precise targeting on an unprecedented scale.