The Midst of Major Disruptions, Thanks to Data

Research suggests that some 90 percent of the data in the world today was created within the last two years, and our current output is an estimated at 2.5 quintillion bytes per day.

Hiding in those virtually endless strings of ones and zeroes, we suppose, are all kinds of insights, ready to help improve the way we do business and live our lives. All we need is good business intelligence, which is what allows our best and brightest, to convert data into ideas we can actually act on.

Big data is useful in nearly every industry, but over the past year, it’s been making a statement and disrupting the standard in four industries in particular. As 2018 approaches, let’s take a look at how analytics can continue to shape these verticals.

Related: How is Big Data Streamlining Business Operations

1. Urban planning.
In just over 30 years, the United Nations predicts that two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas, with the greatest expansions happening in developing regions of Asia and Africa. Cities in these areas will be challenged to meet the needs of their citizens, so it’s important to understand not just how cities will grow, but how to make them smarter and sustainable as they do.

Using a simulation like the classic SimCity game, where you build a virtual city and watch it grow and evolve, can be helpful in developing new urban areas, but it isn’t a perfect solution because of the way it uses generalizations about how the people and organizations within the city behave. These simulations can be useful as general guides, but without nuanced, intelligent accuracy, it can’t be as helpful as we need it to be.

For example, MasterCard recently worked in collaboration with Cubic Transportation Systems to develop a new data analysis platform. They combined MasterCard’s transaction data with Cubic’s transportation data, analytics and visualization platform to develop the Urbanomics Mobility Project to provide insight into the way transit and economic activity are linked together in cities.

2. Education and job training.
Job training is a necessary and potentially costly endeavor for businesses. On-the-job training is a good solution since it allows for being trained while working. But supervisors and more experienced employees may not have the skills for training others. Just because they were good at their work and earned a promotion doesn’t make them effective teachers.

Using e-learning in conjunction with training can make the difference. E-learning is a massive industry. In 2015, the market was worth somewhere around $165 billion. At a 5 percent increase every year, we should be hitting a $182 billion market this year and reaching close to $240 billion by 2023. As it continues to grow, we can expect to see data collection and analysis change the face of education as we know it.

While education traditionally relies on test scores to determine how well a student has learned the material, not everyone learns the same way, and exams can easily be cheated, so grades are not necessarily an accurate reflection of someone’s ability to do the work.