Five Unexpected Uses of Big Data
Big data is used by companies to better understand their customers and provide targeted content. Retailers like Amazon, content providers like Netflix and Spotify, search engines like Google, and social media platforms are some of the well-known uses of big data. This article is not about them. This article is about some niche, specific uses of big data, which may even seem odd to some.
The apple does not fall far from the tree
Fallingfruit.org builds a comprehensive map of fresh food resources that are wasted around you. There may be a tree on your street that has fruit and no one eats those fruit, they fall, and thus the food is wasted.
Their own description states “Falling Fruit is a celebration of the overlooked culinary bounty of our city streets. By quantifying this resource on an interactive map, we hope to facilitate intimate connections between people, food, and the natural organisms growing in our neighborhoods.”
Using big data, Falling Fruit predicts when the trees that they map have ripe fruit about to fall. Aside from being economically healthy, it is also environmentally friendly, so it seems to be a win-win endeavor, even though it may appear peculiar at a first glance.
Find a bra
It seems most of the women wear the wrong type of bra. True&Co established in 2012 managed to get data from tens of millions of women and are now helping women with choosing the right bra and bra size.
I do not know how this is seen by the “Free the Nipple” feminist campaigns, but I presume it is better to wear the right type of bra than the wrong type of bra.
I will never buy a woman a bra as a present, as I find it increased risk, nor do I recommend other men to try, but for our female readers, here is an extensive article about how to take the quiz and find out more about yourself.
Magic Mirror is straight out of the phantasy world. The Magic Mirror powered by Bitsmart is a bot that scans your features and you can try different clothes or makeup.
You can communicate with the mirror through text or speech, and just as Siri is your phone assistant, the magic mirror may become your shopping assistant, an assistant that also collects data if you allow it and can improve its suggestion of products in time.
I cannot say with certainty that such technologies will make shopping even more attractive to people, or yield good individual and social benefits, but the technology behind it is truly amazing.
Tennis Australia organizes the Australian Open. Tennis Australia uses big data to set the schedule of play and to analyze player historical data. They also listen on social media and use sentiment analysis to extract insights about its viewers’ needs and adapt the tournament accordingly.
Build your family tree
Ancestry.com send kits to people’s home, collects DNA samples then constructs part of your genome. They give you information about your lineage, hence the name, Ancestry. Ancestry.com has 20 billion records and over 100 million family trees.
Aside from the information that Ancestry provides, you can download your genome and then upload it into other databases and even get updates every time something new is found about some of your genes.
The relationship between Genetics and Statistics is immense, so building such databases of genes is truly amazing for medicine. There are many startups that do this and a huge market will grow out of this business.
Now that I have finished this piece, I will go send my DNA to Ancestry because I delayed it for a month now. This kit is truly one of the best birthday gifts ever. Maybe I will buy a bra as well since I gained a few pounds.