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Big Data Applications That Surround You

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22nd Dec, 2017
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Big Data Applications That Surround You

The consumer market today is becoming more and more competitive and companies are struggling to offer something unique to their consumers. To be able to do that, companies need to understand the consumers better. The primary way to get meaningful consumer insights is to analyse the existing data collected from users. These insights can then be used not only to continue selling the products but provide customised events and service, which are available at a premium.
This trend is fairly common in new age industries such as e-commerce, even traditional, centuries-old industries greatly benefit from big data and analytics applications. For example, by installing sensors and subsequently analysing them, a railway operator can analyse their fixed and rolling assets. Big data analytics can identify when to carry out preventive maintenance on assets such as bridges and railway lines, increasing economic life and reducing downtime. Hence, data is not just benefitting new-age industries, but the traditional industries as well.

Here are some of the most commonly used big data applications around you, across industries:


Companies collect data of individual customers, the type of purchases they’re making and more importantly where they’re making the purchases. Based on this information, companies are able to segment customers according to their buying behavior. They then make predictions on what they will be buying in the future. This data is also used to cross-sell or upsell items, with the help of attractive offers on these new items.


Another big use of data in analytics is to map areas or locations, as well known by everyone who uses Uber or Ola or Google Maps. Even food delivery apps and other apps that deliver goods to your doorsteps know where you live/work, etc. A huge amount of data gets captured every time you order and it includes all location characteristics in it. This information is also mined from a public policy perspective to look for traffic jams and also for taking decisions like setting up public transportation facilities such as metro stations.

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The advent of big data has had a huge impact on the energy sector. Big data involves a large number of sensors and data collection methodologies which have allowed for the setting up of large systems for preventive maintenance. It enables better forecasting of demand. For example, ten years ago, there were no smart meters. Now, the power utility sector has very good information on how their consumers are consuming their power, the time, and the load that is consumed. This is actually helping them to make their investment decisions much faster. These industries are becoming more efficient both in terms of cost and in operation.

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Every operator is searching for new ways to increase profits during a time of stagnant and competitive growth in the industry. Here is where telecom companies are advancing rapidly in terms of being able to capture data and use it wisely for a variety of uses. Companies around the world are using big data to gain market share with targeted promotions, combating fraud, improving customer experiences and designing newer product offerings.

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This sector is actually now trying to become more connected. Self-driving cars that we all already know about is one of the biggest buzzwords. Underneath it, to make this possible, there is a huge amount of technology that vehicles are collecting, gathering and using in conjunction to come up with these advancements. Increased government encouragement of electric vehicles requires location analytics to establish charging stations.

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What lies ahead?

The only thing that is going to hold back the Big Data industry is the number of people who are skilled in it. The big data applications are actually limitless. There is a huge demand for skilled people at all levels from project managers to raw beginners. As a practitioner who’s been in this industry for some time, I can tell you that there is a huge demand. Companies are facing a talent problem at all levels and the solutions also have to come from different sources, such as increased access to education, training initiatives by companies, awareness spreading by the government.

The 11-month BITS Pilani and UpGrad program for working professionals is exactly the type of program that we need to help people who are ambitious, keen on furthering their careers and following their passions. I think a course like this is very useful because you have a large number of people who come from the industry and are excited to teach. Students will benefit a lot from learning hands-on and through practitioners directly. I am fairly certain that it will involve a lot of problem-solving and casework type methodology. So, I think people are going to have fun while they’re at it. I think that’s especially important when you are doing something on your weeknights and weekends.

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Views shared in this blog are the author’s personal views and they do not reflect the official stance of The Boston Consulting Group (BCG) or any of the author’s clients.


If you are interested to know more about Big Data, check out our Advanced Certificate Programme in Big Data from IIIT Bangalore.

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Sanjay Sinha

Blog Author
Sanjay Sinha currently leads the BCG’s geo-analytics unit in India. He has over 24 years of experience in Consulting, Private Sector and the World Bank in various capacities. He has extensive program management experience spanning more than 50 countries. Using a robust framework consisting of cross‐border regulatory requirements, big data, assessment and implementation of disruptive technology, and techno‐commercial solutions, Sanjay puts in place a system for multiple stakeholders to meet their diverse objectives.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1 How are Big Data applications being utilized in the government sector?

Public services use Big Data to extract the maximum advantages. Some examples are areas like fraud detection, environment protection, and energy exploration. Moreover, Big Data’s contribution to analyzing social claims is another important use of the application. These claims are sent to the Social Security Administration (SSA) in the form of unstructured data. The data analytics then speed up the process to impose fast decisions and detect claims or suspicious activities. Furthermore, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) uses Big Data to study food-related patterns that cause illness or disease. Once data is collected, it can be used to mitigate death and intensify rapid treatment. Several government sectors are using Big Data to protect the integrity of their respective country. In times to come, the benefits of Big Data will emerge in government agencies worldwide.

2How is Big Data helping the insurance industry?

The use of Big Data in industries like retail, entertainment, education, healthcare, transport, etc., has grown immensely. Similarly, Big Data in the insurance industry has also offered a better insight to customers. The industry reads, learns, and uses customer behavior using their data. These data are extracted from sources like CCTV footage, social media, etc. Better customer retention from insurance companies is added benefit in the process. Managing claims with Big Data’s help has ensured faster resolution. Moreover, catching frauds has also become quick. Real-time claims monitoring has greatly helped to offer transparent insights.

3What are the opportunities as a Big Data engineer?

Big Data has become the pioneer for established industries, especially for organizations using it for decision-making. The average salary of a Big Data engineer is around INR 833K. Many data engineering jobs are spread across Bangalore that offers the best opportunities to individuals. Companies like IBM, Amazon, etc., frequently look forward to hiring potential candidates for Big Data Engineer. Therefore, the future of a Big Data engineer is bright and successful.

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