Have you ever heard a marketing slogan that conveys the idea that you are a person rather than just a number? If so, it’s time to rethink things. In the modern world of big data and analytics, you and I are represented as numbers more often than we care to believe. We are represented as tiny bits of information in the vast ocean that is big data, an ocean that is being combined with analytics and signal processing to shape everything from healthcare to the arts.
The average American generates a plethora of data every single day. Just through routine daily activity, we are generating data via our smartphones and computers. We generate data every time we drive the car, do a bit of shopping, and even watch television. All of that data is being used to create individualized worlds for each one of us. For good or bad, it is the reality we live in.
Big Data and Entertainment
A great article from Boston University explains just how pervasive big data is today. It cites two examples – Netflix and Spotify – explaining how data and analytics are shaping what people watch on television and listen to on their devices. The article makes the case that data is actually shaping how art is created.
In the case of Netflix, the software that powers their platform is constantly collecting data from millions of users around the world. It collects data on what is being watched, who is watching it, and when it is being watched. The software even collects data on how viewers respond to thumbnail images. In fact, the Netflix platform collects data on nearly every aspect of customer interaction.
All of that data is compiled and organized before being run through advanced signal processing algorithms designed to extract certain data points. From those points, Netflix programmers can figure out exactly what works and what doesn’t. Does it work? You bet.
According to Boston University, upwards of 80% of Netflix original programming succeeds in the marketplace. That is twice the 40% average enjoyed by traditional programmers. The Netflix advantage is that they are creating programming they know viewers will like based on the data those viewers have already generated. Traditional programmers are forced to put something together and see how it plays.
Big Data in Healthcare
Taking advantage of big data for creating art is one thing but using it to improve healthcare is another. Thankfully, the healthcare sector is benefiting just as much as the entertainment sector through the use of data, analytics, and signal processing.
Rock West Solutions, a California company that specializes in data analysis and signal processing solutions for the healthcare sector, says that the same kinds of things that are helping Netflix produce better programming are being used in healthcare to improve patient quality of life.
For example, data generated by a large group of people being treated for the same condition can be analyzed and put through signal processing algorithms to create predictive analytics for the future. Those analytics can be applied in order to predict who might be diagnosed with the same condition years down the road. Preventive measures can then be taken.
By combining all the data we generate in our daily lives with signal processing and advanced analytics, we are learning new ways to improve everything from healthcare to the arts. In that respect, it’s okay to be just a number. All of those numbers add up to create a treasure trove of information some very smart people are using to do exciting things.