Feb 01, 2013

What are some good Big Data examples to use with non-tech people?

The number of questions I get about Big Data has been on the increase, and a lot of them are at a very fundamental level. What are some good examples of Big Data use that I can refer to that demonstrate "real world" use and benefits?


I was going to say Netflix, but I wasn't fast enough to get dibs. Another example that most people would be familiar with would be Obama's get out the vote efforts. In 2008 it was called Project Narwal, I don't know what it was called in 2012. Of course, the problem with that example is that even mentioning it will set off some people, so it could be dicey to use as an example of tangible benefits of data analytics. Perhaps if you can discuss it from a purely academic perspective, you can even point to Romney's efforts as what can go wrong if you just throw money at it without thorough planning.


Here is a Slate article about Project Narwhal

Christopher Nerney

You could use Netflix as an example of a company that relies on big data to improve service. Netflix uses information to shape personal recommendations from customers, and also users big data to improve streaming video, as the Wall Street Journal reports:


"Hadoop processing power allows the company to run massive data analyses, such as graphing traffic patterns for every type of device across multiple markets.

"That effort helps Netflix improve the reliability of video feeds on different platforms and plan for future growth of streaming movies and shows. For example, the greater processing capabilities can allow engineers to see where traffic on the network is running slower, allowing them to plan for additional network capacity."



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