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The Surprising Industries Making Use Of Big Data Analytics

1 December, 2014

The Surprising Industries Making Use Of Big Data Analytics

Anyone who stays current on tech trends knows that big data is changing the way many business leaders are running their organizations. The specific industries currently incorporating this emerging tool more than any other seem to be healthcare and retail, by a landslide. However, we are seeing more and more niche industries making use of big data and its ever-increasing benefits.

Below is a list of some of the more surprising industries turning to data, and the ways it’s proving to be useful.

Education recently published an article about the increasing number of colleges using big data to predict which students will do well, before they even enroll.

Administrators say they can use predictive analytics to determine whether or not specific students will be successful at their universities by turning grades, professor assessments, essays and other deciding factors into data points that can supposedly tell them who will fail, who will thrive, and who may require extra help. Based off this information they are able to make objective decisions about which students to accept into their colleges and programs and which students to deny.

“We’re only just now starting to work through what opportunities are for leveraging big data in education, and health care is a model for this. We provide prescriptive solutions to help make recommendations to clinicians around potential treatment opportunities, how to intervene with certain patients, and we see parallels in education where we can use data to personalize the educational experience,” says Michael King, VP of Global Education Industry at IBM.


By infusing analytics into every part of a hotel guest’s stay, hotel managers and employees can help maximize the guest’s experience while simultaneously increasing revenue and maximizing profit. According to Kelly McGuire, executive director of Hospitality and Travel Global Practice at SAS, this is done by finding ways to deliver memorable and personalized experiences to each individual guest, then collecting, storing and analyzing the data generated by all guest interactions with each other as well as hotel staff members.

This in turn creates a huge amount of data which is complex but also very valuable if professionals in the hospitality field use it sensibly when making decisions involving things like scheduling, pricing, promotions, décor, location and advertising.


It doesn’t take a sports fanatic to understand that the main goal for any professional sports team is to create a solid fan base that will fill seats and consistently contribute to the team’s profits. Teams like the NY Mets are finding that data can best explain what motivates fans to spend their money on things like television subscriptions, season tickets, collectable jerseys and souvenirs. By knowing the specific data, they don’t have to make random, costly guesses at advertising and marketing campaigns and hope for a good result.

In an article by Baseline, the NY Mets explained how they are attempting to “hit a home run” by applying data analytics to fan relationships and understanding “who the fans are on a more individual level,” says Lou DePaoli, the team’s chief revenue officer.


Perhaps the most surprising industry making use of big data is the biomass industry. We wouldn’t necessarily link such organic things like plants, fuel and waste with high tech terms including analytics, data and dashboards; however, the biomass industry is one that can profit from big data as much as, or arguably more, than any other.

The value in big data, according to Biomass Magazine, comes from looking at the overwhelmingly large number of factors that influence it including: weather, transportation, contractors, employees, biomass specification data, storage management, sustainability, public opinion, public policy, regulatory enforcement and more. When you consider all the interconnected categories and all of their consequential subcategories, the possibilities for big data become endless.

With such diverse suppliers in the field including loggers, farmers, land clearing companies, sawmills, furniture mills, demolition companies and feed mills, it’s easy to imagine how much more untapped potential also lies beyond just those directly involved in the biomass industry itself.


The same tactics enterprises use to influence customers and drive sales are also used in political campaigns to influence people and get them to vote. From a small-scale local level, all the way up to presidential campaigns, big data is showing politicians how to best raise money and track voters in their favor. They can analyze voters’ registration data and online habits as well as customize email fundraising by identifying likely voters.

According to a CSC article, Obama’s victory confirmed the value of using technology and data analytics in a presidential campaign. His team of analysts employed a concept called “psychology of analytics” to prompt action from voters by developing tools that could place TV ads in front of the most optimal audiences for the least amount of money possible.

Furthermore, social media is beginning to play a more prominent role in elections and thanks to big data, politicians can best know where, when and how they should increase their presence among different sites.

The diverse industries making use of big data are increasing every day, and the technology used to display and analyze the information is improving at an exceptionally rapid rate. It’s clear it is only a matter of time before every niche company, big or small, is incorporating it into their operational style in one way or another.

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