Sunday, September 29, 2013

Let big data help you find your true love

Today, almost 20% of all relationships start online, more than 40% of America’s single population use online dating services, and one popular dating website,, alone claims to be responsible for nearly 5% of marriages in the US.

So where does the success of online dating come from? 

Easy answer: the increasing use of big data helps online dating website to improve their matching results. Depending on the website, between 15 and up to 200 questions about personality, interests, education, likes and dislikes, etc. need to be answered to sign-up for their services.

After answering the questionnaires, the websites make billion of calculations for each new member by comparing their answers to the website’s existing members using extensive algorithms to provide new users with several matches. Even after the questionnaire is filled out; the matches are continuously refined based on changing preferences, user activity on the website, or feedback on proposed matches. By using these sophisticated calculations based on the big data about their members, online dating websites aim to propose the best matches to their members.

You’re alone at home at the moment? Let big data help you find your true love and try out online dating websites like or

Thursday, September 26, 2013

And now, the ladies will find you sexy because of Big Data too!

Big Data is a hot topic - so hot that recently Harvard Business Review called data science “the sexiest job in the 21st century”.

Today there is a scarcity for professionals, and companies are fighting for talents. In the next five years, this scenario will be much worse. In the US alone, according to a report by McKinsey Global Institute, 500,000 new jobs will be created but there will still be a shortage of 190,000 specialized professional to fill up them. In addition to that, the market will need over 1.5 million executives and support staff with at least basic knowledge in data related technology.

Probably know what you are thinking:
“Interesting, but how much money can a data professional make?”

Michael Rappa – Director of the Institute for Advanced Analytics in the North Carolina State University – gives us a reference; the average salary for a graduated student is $89,100 - $100,000 but for those with more experience, the answer is a classic economics theory: higher the demand higher the price.

"What does a data specialist do?" 
Here is a list of the principal Big Data Job titles:

-Data scientists: The top level in big data. This role is probably closest to what a 2011 McKinsey report calls "deep analytical talent."

- Data architects: Programmers who are good at working with messy data, disparate types of data, undefined data and lots of ambiguity.

- Data visualizers: Technologists who translate analytics into information a business can use.

- Data change agents: People who drive changes in internal operations and processes based on data analytics.

- Data engineers/operators: The designers, builders and managers of the big data infrastructure.

Now, if you want to be the next talent in big data and don’t know how to start, several of the top world universities are offering a good range of courses and degree in this field.

And if the numbers don’t attract you to the job, remember a job in Big Data is going to make the girls find you sexier!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Fashion trend forecasting, the new big thing in fashion

Imagine as a fashion retailer having access to a large set of data that forecast fashion trends, colors, fabrics and cuts in order to determine what is going to be produce next and displayed on the catwalks. This looks like something extremely futuristic, but for our surprise, retailers are currently taking advantage of this data mining technology. Retailers are  paying a fee that ranges between seven and fifteen thousand dollars to get access this technology. This technology is being developed by companies such as Worth Global Style Network (WGSN). WGSN is based on the UK and according to its CEO, Julie Harris, fashion forecasting have seen double digit growth in the last couple of years and for 2013 it is expected to grow even more.

Retailers are using this source of information to tackle customer demands and needs. Forecasting is and will play an extremely important role in the future success of the retail business. This information has become important in order to tap customers who shop online that demand the latest trends of outfits. Retailers have been able to cut down costs by reducing traveling expenses, freelance such as photographers for photo-shooting, and reduce on time spent on data gathering from the internet.

WGSN generates data by relying on blogs, fashion websites, traveling to fashion cities and attending to world known catwalk events. This data mining process is currently helping companies such as WGSN grow. WGSN will launch a retail analytics tool that will help with comparison shopping. Retailers will be able to check upon competitors and gauge demand for similar products with the use of the analytic tool.

As it can be seen is a win-win situation for retailers, since they are going to be able to cut down costs by having an accurate forecast on trends. Customer satisfaction will be improved by offering customers the latest fashionable tendency and reliability. 

"A satisfied customer is the best business strategy of all" - Michael LeBoeuf

Monday, September 16, 2013

Harnessing GPS data from 3.3M cars in Japan, Toyota sets to change the face of traffic management

Imagine if we could capture all the data on cars' movements, location and speed. Well this is exactly what Toyota has come up with, in there latest system Big Data Traffic Information Service.Toyota is taking advantage of big data by using a Digital Communication Module (DCM), this tool constantly monitors and transmits real time data to Toyota for scrupulous data mining. This data has been harvested from 3.3 million of integrated telecommunication and informatics users in Japan and 700,000 Toyota customers that are equipped. The system can provide users with helpful information such as routes, evacuation routes, the possible heights of tsunamis in case if one strikes, etc.

Having a car connected into a cloud system is relatively new in the market but is quickly moving from concept to reality, it promises safer roads and other benefits. Big data could potentially give the following benefits to the car users in a near future:

  • If customers are willing to share their driving habits, more cloud connectivity could offer GPS updates tailored depending on which ones are the driving habits of the drivers.
  • A human-auto interaction will lead to work in progress, it could be achieved by having a better human machine point of interaction.
  • Cloud usage, would give the ability to store car data on the cloud in order to digitalize the business process. Maintenance checks would be easier to perform due to the data gathering. Tackling a potential problem would be easier. 
  • A cloud connected information and entertainment system that personalizes your settings and automatically download content. 
  • Data mining of information, based on driving behavior will include information to help you navigate the last mile of your trips accurately. 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Lose Big at the Casino? Big Data Helps Draw Customers Back to the Casino after Losses

Casinos specialise in customer service, they seek to provide the best environment and experience for you to spend money on tables, slot machines, entertainment and hotels. To provide the best customer services requires differentiation of service. This commonly relies on Parento’s rule where, “for many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes” (Wikipedia 2013). Meaning it pays to look after the highest value customers.

The journey of differentiation of customer service started with the collection of data through customer loyalty programs. These programs have been around since the 1990s, and collect data on preferences, personal data and importantly payment transactions. Big data goes a step further to combine customer loyalty data with hotel booking data, restaurant bookings and even CCTV footage on the preferences and choices of bets. 

Caesars Entertainment is leading the curve in the adoption of these big data practices to provide tailored services to different customer groups. Tariq Shaubkat, Chief Marketing Officer of Caesars Entertainment explains in this short video how if you lose too quickly, Caesars will often intervene to offer to buy you dinner or tickets to a Celine Dion concert in order to improve your customer experience and stop customers defecting to a competitor’s casino.

Interestingly, the Flamingo Hotel (part of Ceasars Entertainment) employs 200 Data Scientists alone to analyse, manage and make decisions about the insights! This hot new job title coined by DJ Patil and Jeff Hammerbacher, is part of a growing profession in the field of big data. 

So next time you are at the casino, look out, as big  data ‘brother’ will be watching your every move.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Big Data algorithm and analytics in professional sports

Professional sports are going through a reformation by using technology and adapting sensor technology to it's development in order to obtain the largest set of data as possible. This set of data would bring competitive advantage to the team that adopts it well. Professional teams in the National Football League (NFL), National Basketball Association (NBA) and the English Premier League are using this technology and achieving great results as well as improving their learning curve regarding the topic. 

USA Professional Teams Logo

Big data in sports is relatively new, but now a days some professional teams are taking advantage of it. The Baltimore Ravens of the NFL is a clear example on how big data might be used in order to win a really competitive championship. The Raven's have won the Super Bowl XLVII by being able to prevent injuries, performance optimization, advanced scouting by usage of big data analysis. By having a large set of data available, it is easier to predict trends and patterns that at first sight are not easy to perceive.These set of data provides a competitive advantage that helps differentiate the good from the best. 

Baltimore Ravens Superbowl XLVII

Adidas have developed the MiCoach technology that helps you track your performance with the addition of an intelligent chip to a soccer boot in the case of soccer. It helps to improve performance on professional and amateur players with a really user friendly software. This chip lets you track the distance that the player moved on the pitch, how many sprints where taken, the active time, the maximum speed achieved. The data can be compiled in a historical trend in order to see evolution. By having access to these set of data players and coaches can focus in the weakness and work on improvements. It is a great way on comparing physical activity and capacity of players from the whole squad. The way on how trainings should be conducted could be modified accordingly to the necessity of the squad. 

Big data is playing and will play an extremely important role in the future of sports. Do not let the lack of technology bring your A-game down, take advantage of it and start boosting your performance and train like a champion.

"I hated every minute of training, but I said, "Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion". (Muhammad Ali)

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Big Data in Banking

Banks are currently generating and collecting a gargantuan amount of data each day. There is the potential to use this data in real time to determine consumer risk profiles, detect fraudulent actions across the world improving customer relationship management and customer experience. In the following info-graphic you can see the role that big data plays in this industry.

Due to the large quantity of data that is being manipulated, establishing and maintaining trust in data represents a challenging task as the sources and data variety grows. A bank that can harness big data can derive more insight about their business and build competitive advantage. 

According to a recent study by Thomas Davenport and Jill Dyché at the International Institute for Analytics working with SAS Institute, several US banks are using big data in order to understand how customers use their different channels such as branches, online, mobile, call centers and ATMs.

As it can be seen, banks are getting a better understanding of the consumer, but there is still along way yo go. The Financial Technology Innovation Lab is run by Accenture in collaboration with a group of the UK's leading financial service institutions, angel investors and venture capital firm. Six finalist will join the program from January to March in the City, London and pitch their ideas at the "Investors Day".

Interested entrepreneurs need to enter before 8 September 2013 at the following address: