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7 Ways Big Data Affects Your Everyday Life

23 June, 2014

7 Ways Big Data Affects Your Everyday Life

This is the so-called digital age. We can stream music, look up directions on a GPS, send a picture to our friends and buy a new shirt, all at the same time. With information so readily available, it is inevitable that big data will become integrated into our everyday lives. It is already starting to influence how we work, drive, exercise and shop. And this is just the beginning.

Here are seven ways big data already affects your everyday life.

1. Mobile Maps

Our GPS is available because of big data. Thousands of reports and other maps are scanned in and used to make our GPS devices as accurate as possible. By brining in data from incident reports, construction zone areas and individual data from apps, GPS devices are now more trustworthy than in the past.

2. Medical Records

Medical records are now being put into computers to create electronic records for hospitals and doctors. This allows easier access to medical histories and helps doctors detect trends across all of the data. While this may feel like it jeopardizes patient privacy, take into account how doctors will be able to determine effectiveness of treatments better than ever before.

3. Online Shopping

Ever notice how the ads on your browser are similar to something you just bought or just looked at buying? You can thank big data for that one. Big data is also responsible for any “Recently viewed items” or “Featured recommendations” you might find on websites. This allows companies to target customers with ads specifically for them. This might be good for you, but bad for your wallet.

4. Music Streaming

Streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify use big data to deliver music that is geared towards your taste. When you like or skip a song, that data is added to everyone else who has liked or skipped that song. This helps the streaming services hone in on the right style of music for you.

5. Wearables

Seeing someone wearing a fitness band is more common than ever. These wearables analyze your everyday activities to tell you how healthy or unhealthy you are. Many of these have services that let users compare their habits and lifestyles with those of similar weight, age and activity. That is only possible because of big data.

6. Crime

Knowing the crime rates of cities can affect where you want to live. Thanks to big data, many cities are able to reduce the amount of theft and burglaries that occur. Police departments in Los Angeles and Santa Cruz, California use big data to determine where they are expected to be most needed and where crimes are most likely to occur.

7. Urban Planning

MIT is using mobile phone data to see how peoples’ locations and traffic patterns can be used for urban planning. By looking at all of the data, they can help determine best practices for stoplights, construction and parking.


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