For every warning that the use of big data will also bring about the rise of ‘Big Brother’, there are thousands more benefits that it will introduce to almost every area of people’s lives.
Many of these come from the sheer level of “connectedness” there is in the world today, with our data being captured from our browsing habits through to our social media posts.
When everything from people’s cars to their fridges are producing and sharing data, the potential will be almost limitless. Until then, here are four key benefits that can already be enjoyed.
>See also: Big data vs. privacy: the big balancing act
Finding the products and services people want
Every time an consumer connects with a retailer or service provider online, they gather vital information about their preferences, habits and even what time of day they like to do certain things. The more that they can learn, the more closely targeted the things they offer people will be.
Even the BBC are starting to use big data to provide a better service, with iPlayer users now needing to log into an account. The BBC aims to make the iPlayer viewing experience more personalised to each individual user.
Saving us money
One sector that relies on knowing as much as possible about consumers is the insurance industry. Only by understanding behaviour and previous history can they ensure premiums are carefully calculated.
One piece of kit that is already enabling them to do this is the telematic or black box, which some insurers offer to drivers – especial younger or more inexperienced ones. While there are many myths as to why these black-boxes are used, such as insurers using them to increase premiums for poor driving, they are actually used to reward good drivers and minimise costs of insurance.
The sheer amount of health information available can have a huge effect on people’s wellbeing, both individually and globally.
For example on a personal level, the data generated by fitness trackers can show trends, improvements and set targets while on a broader scale, huge amounts of data can be gathered about diseases and epidemics both in terms of their treatment and the likelihood of them occurring.
The use of big data has already picked up on different ways to treat and diagnose people based on a wider array of factors.
Law enforcement agencies all round the world can now pool data to help prevent serious crimes – something that has never been so important in this age of global threats and major cyber attacks.
The use of big data has also proved very effective in identifying people whose profiles suggest they may be at risk of committing a crime.
There’s no doubt that big data has a huge role to play in many different areas and, as it’s undoubtedly here to stay, that’s got to be good news for everyone.