Big Data analytics and sensors: How they are transforming our world

Big Data analytics has already made an impact in some large enterprises. But when you combine sensors with Big Data analytics, you have the potential to change the landscape of just about everything under the sun. As every year goes by, an increasing number of companies are allocating more and more of their budgets and time to understanding the vast swathes of data inside and outside their organizations. However, the impact of Big Data analytics is not confined to companies alone. Here are some ways in which the world is being transformed due to sensors and Big Data analytics.

Impact of Big Data and analytics

Big Data analytics: Governmental planning

Marty Walsh, the mayor of Boston, Mass., is using data to measure everything from building permits, potholes, shootings, to education issues. Dashboards at his office display critical KPIs from the past month so that he is able to set goals and compare actual accomplishments against expectations he has. The dashboards also give him an at-hand glimpse into those problems that are most pressing for the city.

The mayor’s goal is to ensure that all levels of government get comfortable with a data-driven approach. He plans one meeting every month to review the data and is requiring top officials to submit reports with regards to progress on the mayor’s goals.


Studio executives, Hollywood producers, and leading film financiers are starting to turn to analytics for guidance with regards to the creation of screenplays. A statistician named Vincent Bruzzese is tapping the vast collection of existing screenplays from centuries of making movies. With this resource at hand, he is able to point to major and minute details in the screenplay that could lead to a big success or a deflating flop.

For up to $20,000 per script, Mr. Bruzzese’s team compares the story structure of the draft at hand with those from already released movies to look for clues for success at the box office. His company also analyzes an existing database containing focus group results of similar films. It also surveys 1,500 possible moviegoers asking them what they liked about the script and what they did not.


big data analytics

Analytics is playing an increasingly critical role in pro sports. While some games such as baseball have long been deep into statistics, now the statistical revolution is spreading into most other sports also. Soccer’s EPL now has data trackers built into uniforms that are used to monitor player performance in real time. This information is being used by coaches to make predictions regarding a host of aspects including chance of injury, long term performance to projected performance in the next game. Nineteen of the 20 EPL teams are today using analytics software with each team having its own data scientists and performance analysts looking for correlations and conclusions regarding player performance, match turning events and season wide trends. And the National Football League is using Big Data analytics along with sensors in the form of chips inside players’ uniforms to give viewers and teams a deeper insight into statistics and the games themselves.

Poverty alleviation

Data including social media activity
Flickr / Chris McClanahan

Governments and nonprofits are collecting and analyzing data from countries all around the world to drive the development and delivery of social services to the most needy. Data science has the ability to help provide better access to education, health care, and financial services to the poor, all the while reducing corruption and increasing transparency.

Digitalized payment histories, for instance, can permit people to accumulate credit histories with which they can access loans and aid programs. Similarly, access to Big Data can help governments and non-governmental organizations react more efficiently to natural disasters, epidemics, droughts, and famines.

Disaster recovery

Several years after an earthquake devastated the city of Christchurch in New Zealand, the country is utilizing Big Data to assist in the rebuilding and recovery efforts. The project will analyze a wealth of data in real time. This includes data from cameras, sensors, traffic systems, utilities, air quality data, and water quality data. Such data can also serve as an indicator of the extent to which the city is rebounding. The scope for analytics is immense in such situations. For instance, you could have sensors providing feedback on cyclist movements, safety hazards, and the like. You could also have sensors providing information on the scale of reconstruction that has happened.

Improving health care

Data analytics can also be used to improve health-care systems. BroadReach Healthcare has made it its mission to gather and analyze a comprehensive set of data and make it available to health-care administrators. The kind of data that are going to be gathered include distribution of clinics, pharmacies and schools, staffing stats, access to piped water, child health metrics, nurses training levels, performance on TB and HIV treatments, availability of consulting rooms, and statistics regarding employment.

The company’s goal is to make a comprehensive set of data available to health-care administrators so that they can determine which clinics and health interventions are the least and the most successful among several African countries.


Several business schools have started offering programs in analytics as part of their offerings. Given the fact that companies recognize the relevance of Big Data in terms of future planning and problem solving, there has been a significant surge in training programs in Big Data, data science, and analytics.

Energy industry

The influence of sensors and Big Data analytics is very prominently seen in the case of the energy and utilities sector. Customers and utility companies are benefiting from the use of Big Data in this sector. Utilities companies are harnessing a wealth of data related to energy consumption throughout the day. This kind of data is very valuable because analyzing it can lead to clear conclusions as to the trend of energy consumption through the day, the month and the year. Analyzing this sort of data can help utilities companies optimize their generation side operations.


Politicians and political organizations are using Big Data analytics to connect personally to voters. They are analyzing comprehensive swathes of data including social media activity, club memberships, magazine subscriptions, and gun licenses to know voters deeply and connect with them better. It is extremely important for politicians to know their target demographic and establish a deep connect with them. Analytics can also help provide answers to questions such as why voters crossed party lines to vote for a candidate.

Photo credit: Pexels

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