By people, for people: big data analytics

IN Big Data General — 08 October, 2013

The human side of big data: People before computer screens. That is how it is referred to in a recent essay with the title "Measured Man" ("Der Vermessene Mensch")  in one of the most recent editions of GEO Magazine. Dunja Riehemann on the human side of big data.

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 A survey commissioned by Blue Yonder and FOCUS Online showed that representatives from all business sectors overwhelmingly view the importance of big data in a very positive light for Germany as a location for doing business. Alexander Pschera wrote recently in Zeit Online: "Big data is not the end of western civilization; simply rejecting data is senseless pessimism." GEO author Christoph Kucklick, in his piece "Measured Man", describes how predictive analytics software "learns" to attain ever more realistic forecasts: "De facto, the machine is simply getting to know the human being.  How the human 'ticks'.  What he does.  In order to then predict human actions based on logical criteria." This functions "just like it does with humans", but is, of course, not possible at all without software, because the human brain would be hopelessly overwhelmed by the sheer data volume and the number of variables, on its own.

 The question of "big data, yes or no?" isn't even asked.  The analysis of the existing enormous and constantly growing data volumes moulds our world, will seep into it more and more and supports private persons and enterprises in many ways. Materials planners, production leads and managers access data that can be analyzed using modern and application-friendly user interfaces, and accurately guide and manage their operative business with them. Big data has arrived in the specialist departments at enterprises.

 Mass decision-making such as automated materials procurement in the food and grocery industry illustrates the business uses of big data. But big data has even more to offer. The book "The Human Face of Big Data"  shows this, using moving images. The human face of big data has so many features.  For example, in one of the projects supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, it is used to fight the spread of polio (infantile paralysis) in northern Nigeria. Prior to that, around ten percent of children there were not immunized, because their villages were too remote. Villages cut off from the provision of medical aid were able to be identified by satellite images.  The immunizations are planned and documented today using an Android app in real time. In that way, thousands of medically-trained Nigerians are able to systematically treat the disease in these polio hot-spots.

 Not so critical to life and limb, but still very nice: Pizza deliverers can optimize their routes in order to bring their hot meals faster to their customers. For companies in catering, commerce, and logistics, it is getting easier to provide excellent services. They boost their efficiency and also increase customer satisfaction. A technology and the applications that result from it can be viewed as good when both sides, enterprises and customers profit from them, as is the case with our SaaS solution Forward Demand. Commercial enterprises plan extremely reliable sales forecasts, using it. The result is that we consumers have everything we need in the supermarket – fresh, and even late at night.

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