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Firefighting, Running and Beyond: Big Data Success Stories

You hear about big data all day long. But do you know how it’s used in the real world? Here’s a look at use cases where big data solved real problems.

One of the reasons big data has become so popular is the variety of things you can do with it. As the following use cases illustrate, the list of ways that data can be put to work is virtually unlimited.

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Netflix Predicts What Users Want

Producing a television series is expensive. If you make the wrong bet about which type of content your target viewers want to see, the costs could be enormous.

Traditionally, predicting which television content will sell has required a mix of expert analysis and luck. Using big data, however, the process can become more automated and reliable.

For proof, take Netflix, which used big data to determine that producing the series House of Cards would appeal to its viewers. The data insights turned out to be right — which was good, because with each episode costing $3.8M, this would have been an expensive bet to get wrong.

Improving Firefighters’ Work

Fighting fires is a dangerous job. A Dutch researcher and firefighter, Bart van Leeuwen, is working to make it safer using big data.

By collecting and analyzing data related to firefighters’ work, van Leeuwen strives to highlight problems in common firefighting techniques and provide the foundation for creating innovative firefighting devices. The results will be faster control of fires and safer working conditions for firefighters.

Streamlining Construction

Material waste and work mistakes account for 35 percent of expenses in the construction industry. That means that vast sums of money are lost that could easily be saved during building projects by improving builders’ ability to use material and labor more efficiently.

This is what companies like JE DUNN are working to do by leveraging big data. Real-time analytics allow builders to make more accurate projections when planning and executing projects.

Helping Runners Go the Distance

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Want to run a marathon? You’ll have to put in hard work and lots of practice. There is no getting around that.

However, big data can make preparing for a marathon (and running in general) easier and more effective. Data collected from devices during runs can help runners improve their performance. Additionally data-based analysis of runners can be used to improve their technique.


These are just some examples of how big data is being put to use in the real world.

The problems that big data is solving in these cases may not be the types of challenges that first come to mind when you think of big data. The fact that data can be applied to the problems discussed above highlights that it’s useful in a range of cases.

For more insights, check out our recent webcast, 2018 Big Data Trends: Liberate, Integrate, and Trust Your Data, to see what every business needs to know in the upcoming year.

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