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Big Data : Secret Recipe for Success

With more than two billion Internet users today, the amount of online data has been exploding at an alarming rate around the globe. Social networking sites along with other online services have further accelerated the rate of online data boom. Data scientists have been busy at work to capture and analyze these massive loads of online data more precisely. Large data sets, called Big Data, may be the key to unlocking the secret recipe to analyzing large volumes of data in more detailed and meaningful way.

When users log into social networking or retail websites, real time data flows from the users to the organization that might be hosting the web space. These collections of data transport an array of various information regarding user behaviors to machines where the data can be “cooked” up to serve more meaning information. Then, these collections of online data can serve as secret recipes for businesses and organizations that are trying to learn more about their customers’ behavior and market trends.

On top of the traditional data based on web-browser history and sensor networks, effective analyzing Big Data has vastly improved the ability to collect sets of complex data from non-traditional grounds, such as Web-based text, digital images and online videos. Companies around the world now use Big Data to customize their products, make changes to business plans and tune their marketing strategies to attract more customers. In retail businesses like Wal-Mart, web hosts collect massive amounts of “sales, pricing, and economic data, combined with demographic and weather data, to fine-tune merchandising store by store and anticipate appropriate timing of store sales.” Companies like Google can predict the expected volumes of flu-related medicine weeks in advance by looking at the search queries on flu. The applications for Big Data extend far beyond the simple analysis of links in social networks.

With such massive amounts of intimate data available, economy and markets are not the only ones that are being affected. In order to collect more intimate source of information, companies are mining into the users’ personal lives where data mining is becoming intrusive. As more people use and share personal items on the web through social networking sites, users expose their personal lives to the public. Privacies of individuals are being ignored when it comes to companies who are willing to “get to know their customers.” As more private data become available online, more structured protocols regarding online privacy and rules regarding exposure will play crucial roles in constituting privacy laws and personal security.

Massive online data collection has increased complexity of our society’s network. For example, Facebook has reduced “Six degrees of Separation” down to 4.74 degrees. More precise collection and analysis of online data will continue to shrink the separation between individuals in our “Giant Global Network.” As Big Data brings more information to accurately analyzing market trends and individual behaviors, online data can play crucial role in decision makers’ choices and influence behaviors of businesses like in game theory.

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Use Big Data to Predict Your Customers’ Behaviors


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September 2012