To say the world is changing in the midst of the big data revolution would be a massive understatement. Companies, individuals, organizations, and governments are all hopping on board the big data bandwagon, all for their own reasons. Whatever they want from it, big data is here and it’s everywhere. As a result, people are more connected to each other than ever before, even if they don’t realize it. Here a just a few examples of what these connections are and how they’re happening.

Shopping

Simply purchasing some food, a magazine, or clothing might mean shoppers are part of the big data movement. Businesses all over the world are using big data to keep track of their customers, in particular their spending patterns and behaviors. From this data, businesses can gain a better understanding of customers’ habits, like the time they most often go shopping and if they tend to buy things that are trending. Monitoring social media can also gain businesses information on if certain products or services are satisfying to customers. Once this data is collected, businesses can then turn around and target individuals customers with specific ad campaigns and offers. Companies like Safeway have been doing this for several years. Safeway takes big data provided by 30 million customers and creates personalized deals for them. This connection between the business and the shopper leads to benefits for both parties.

Entertainment

Big data is also connecting video and movie companies to people who enjoy entertainment. Companies like Netflix collect mountains of data from customers who watch movies from the comfort of their own homes. This data helps the company determine what preferences they have regarding favorite genres, actors, directors, and other cinematic categories. Netflix has analyzed the big data, and from that data it has created original programming to reach as wide an audience as possible. Amazon operates in a similar way by predicting the shows and movies its audience is most likely to stream. With the accurate predictions bolstered by big data, Amazon can then negotiate for the entertainment its customers want. Though Amazon and Netflix customers may only be sitting at home, they’re still contributing to business decisions made many miles away.

Health Care

Big data is also fostering a deeper, more critical connection between doctors and their patients. The health data collected from wearable devices could allow medical professionals to find new cures and predict patterns for the spread of disease. Big data is already being used for patient care. Babies born prematurely are monitored very closely, and analysis of their heartbeats and breathing patterns can actually predict when an infection is about to happen. The proper medical attention can then be administered before things get worse. Data collected through social media can also be used to predict the spread of flu outbreaks while monitoring them in real-time. A simple Facebook or Twitter update may be enough to connect someone on social media with a medical professional.

Disease and Poverty

In the same manner, big data from cell phones may also be used to predict the spread of serious diseases. Doctors and scientists work together to collect and analyze cell phone data from countries in Africa to better track the spread of illnesses like malaria and cholera. The data is then given to organizations like the United Nations or the World Bank to better assist them with their programs designed to eliminate disease and poverty. In one case, experts were able to use data from cell phone carriers to determine that malaria in one part of the continent simply couldn’t be contained. This connection from impoverished cell phone users to world organizations means time and resources can then be used in a more effective way.

Transportation

A simple act like driving down the road can connect the driver to a car company. Many cars come with sensors that collect information that is then sent to automobile manufacturers. With the latest technology, automakers can connect with the driver in real-time due to fast processing of big data. Automakers can even analyze data coming from other nearby vehicles and alert the driver of dangerous road conditions and other hazardous obstacles.

With technology news being filled with so many stories about big data, it’s no wonder it has entered so many facets of everyday life. Connections are being made all over the world as many tech companies strive to get a better understanding of the world and its people. In many ways, big data is making the world a much smaller place, and the advancements have only just begun.