December 20, 2016
Big data is one of many buzz words that has been knocking around tech blogs and business publications for a while now. However, it would be fair to say that many of us still aren’t entirely sure what it actually means. Moreover, it’s not always clear precisely how big data helps consumers to save money, work more efficiently, or benefit in any way.
What is Big Data?
Let’s first define what we mean when we say big data. Big data refers to any extremely large data set that requires serious computing power to dig through. Big data is very much a product of the time and it’s only since the advent of cloud storage that we’ve had the means to collect and utilize these huge sets.
Think about how much data a website like Facebook captures. Not only can Facebook tell us the age, sex and location of roughly 31% of the population, but it can also tell us their internet usage habits, their travel habits, and how those factors correlate with the time of year or world events.
The potential applications of all this information are almost limitless but in order to utilize it, we need more powerful, non-traditional tools. That’s big data in a nutshell. And here are some of the new companies leveraging that data to help us save.
Best Reviews Guide is a review aggregator that works similarly to sites like Rotten Tomatoes. Like that site, it takes average scores for different items in order to help users find the best products. However, the difference lies within the amount of data used. Whereas Rotten Tomatoes might take an average score from five to ten verified critical reviews, Best Reviews Guide can look at thousands of reviews for each product. In fact, at the time of writing, the site has scanned and analyzed 2,421,773 reviews!
Instead of trawling the web for hours on end, you have a single site where you can find the best products that have been verified by the crowd. Better yet, you can also see the best prices at a glance if you decide to buy.
Apixio is a cognitive computing firm that was first launched in 2009 to try and make smarter use of the huge reams of clinical data currently going unused. And this sectors needs a lot of help.
“The problem in healthcare is not lack of data, but the unstructured nature of its data: the many, many different formats and templates that healthcare providers use, and the numerous different systems that house this information,” explained Forbes in a recent article.
This is where Apixio comes in, using machine learning and other techniques to make sense of that data and hopefully guide smarter healthcare decisions as a result. The hope is that this will ultimately save us money on a personal level and state level.
Modern AlkaMe is a very unique company that has big ideas for how data could save us money in the future. Right now, the site exists mainly to sell nootropics (supplements that support brain function) but it also has an app currently in beta and that’s where the company’s real vision is.
Users can use tools on the site to get customized recommendations for nootropic stacks that take into account a huge amount of information such as their success with other supplements, their energy levels, possible neurotransmitter imbalances, goals and more. This draws on massive quantities of data already but eventually, the company wants users to contribute to that data by running their own experiments using tools they provide. These tools will help to guide participants through better self-reporting, accounting for confounding variables.
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