Opportunities Ripe for Data

With today’s technology, we are able to record a large amount of data on our daily lives.  We leave a history of the websites that we visit, our phones can track our location and companies can see what you are buying with your credit card.  Big Data is about taking in this huge amount of data and turning it into useful information. The Wall Street Journal article “Leveraging Data to Drive Innovation” included comments from  Chris Anderson, CEO of 3D Robotics: “We are drowning in data.  But we don’t have enough ability to analyze it.”

If we could come up with efficient ways to crawl through data, we would be better informed and be able to make better decisions that benefit our health.  We could keep track of our vitals constantly, giving us a more complete picture of what we need to do in order to be healthy.  Alternatively, that information can be commercialized. Insurance companies, the food industry, and other commercial interests would use the information to refine their advertising.

By not taking advantage of these pieces of data, we are missing out on potential innovations that can move science and the economy forward.  If homeowners could easily identify what in their home was consuming the most energy, they could take steps towards reducing energy costs.  If automobile manufacturers could reduce emissions from cars by just 1%, that would create a significant decrease in pollution for some cities. It is just a matter of taking the physical world and putting it into measurable data.