Applying the Power of Big Data to the Real World
Applying the Power of Big Data to the Real World

Much is written about the vital role of big data for corporate decision making. Companies like Domo and Omniture (now Adobe) spin the cash register with breathtaking advances using big data for more accurate and timely executive action.

Even our iPhone fitness apps alert us of their use of big data to customize a more effective experience to our needs and goals. But while data has been collected for centuries, only in the last few decades have we had the computing power to harness and put the data to practical use.

At a big data conference in New York City, speakers presented examples of fresh technology applications that harness vast data repositories. Experts in prescriptive analytics, clinical risk intervention and predictive analytics spoke of current and future applications while a dozen or more young entrepreneurs sat in the back of the room creating big data dreams of their own.

Two 15-year-old students from Business Technology Early College High School in Queens, N.Y., dazzled attendees with big-picture thinking about the social implications of harnessing big data while protecting our future. The teens shared entrepreneurial thoughts of how to deliver genomic big data solutions without diminishing individual self-worth.

One young man used the example of applying genomic big data to people to create a “Superman” in the future. Yet, he noted that if everyone were Superman, no one would be. In other words, no one would be unique or stand out from the crowd.

Alex Torres, a 20-year-old entrepreneur studying at St. John’s University in Queens, represented the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship (NFTE) at the event. As an alumnus of the NFTE program, which is focused on teaching the entrepreneurial mindset to under-resourced youth, Torres has taken the classroom experience and started his own organization.

He’s interested in big data that benefits the mental health industry. His nonprofit startup, You’re Not Alone, focuses on encouraging young people suffering from depression. His early-stage business interfaces with school districts that recognize the magnitude of this growing problem in today’s schools. He said he wants to make sure that while the digital-data explosion and personalized technology continues to ramp up, people remember that they still need to connect with others one on one, face to face, in real time.

If big data is accessible to these enterprising young people, there’s no longer any excuse for small business owners the world over not to use this resource for their own advances. With inexpensive online tools, they can integrate consumer data with massive collections of information about their target market, general mobile usage, specialized industry data and so much more.

Basically, the only limit to the use of big data for young entrepreneurs and small companies is their imagination. For most small business owners, big data can be accessible through various applications for very real-world results.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company’s Business Energy Checkup allows business owners to perform an easy online self-assessment to track energy usage and compare their energy costs to those of other similar businesses and those who have adopted energy efficient technologies. The solution doesn’t just provide data, it also calculates customized energy efficiency recommendations for your business that can lower operating costs.

Big data doesn’t have to be an overwhelming influence – by taking it one slice at a time, it can have a very real impact on the performance of your business. Start your Business Energy Checkup now.

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