In the current business environment, big data has reached buzzword status. New stories come out every day involving companies boosting their productivity and increasing revenue levels. However, big data analytics isn't solely about improving corporate processes. A number of organizations in a range of different industries have leveraged a big data strategy to illuminate areas in need of improvement and places within their firms that can be streamlined. Big data analytics have the potential to be beneficial for any type of enterprise, illustrated by these unique use cases:
Big data in farming: John Deere sensors
One innovative way big data analytics is being put to use is within the farming sector namely by well-known equipment vendor John Deere. In the two years, the company has bolstered the ability of its farming machines by adding sensors to help farmers improve fleet management, save fuel and reduce any downtime, according to BigData Startups. The data supplied by the sensors is added to historical and real-time information to create a complete picture of the farmer's activities.
The initiative has seen considerable success, especially with the inclusion of mobile features.
"The information is presented in the MyJohnDeere.com platform as well as on the iPad and iPhone app MobileFarm Manager in order to help farmers figure out which crops to plan where and when, when and where to plough, where the best return will be made with the crops and even which path to follow when ploughing," the source stated.
To provide this analysis to users, the company leverages an open source software model that can forecast seasonal demands, crop yields and to illuminate the best utilization of land space. However, this isn't the end of John Deere's big data analytics initiatives.
"John Deere has many plans for the future to improve their already intelligent technology and to put big data to use as much as possible," BigData Startups stated. "They want to help farmers plan, run and analyze their entire farming operation through the entire farming cycle as efficiently as possible."
Big data in the music industry: Iron Maiden boosts ticket sales
Big data is also applicable to the music industry, where heavy metal band Iron Maiden is leveraging analytics related to music downloads to improve their ticket sales. According to Rolling Stone, the band consulted with Musicmetric, a company based in the U.K, to analyze the number of illegal downloads taking place across the globe.
"Using data from the company, the group has begun booking tours that focus on areas where interest in Iron Maiden – whether legal or illegal – runs high," wrote Rolling Stone contributor Kory Grow.
In this way, instead of punishing enthusiasts for bypassing the purchasing system and downloading their music for free, the band is taking these fans into account when planning their tours. Their thinking here is that even though these individuals may not pay for a song, they will likely shell out the cash to see their heavy metal idols live on stage.
Grow noted that despite some sideways glances from others in the industry who typically look down upon free, illegal downloads, the strategy has paid off for Iron Maiden. Since taking up the big data analytics initiative, the band has seen considerable boosts to its online fan page numbers.
"Maiden have been rather successful in turning free file-sharing into fee-paying fans," said Gregory Mead, CEO of Musicmetric. "If you engage with the fans, there is a chance to turn a percentage into paying customers."
Big data in sports: "Move over, Moneyball."
Another surprising way big data analytics is currently being put to use within sports arenas, where teams are trying to to improve fans' experiences, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
While the industry was admittedly slow on the uptake for big data, it is now utilizing analytics to drive better decision making and to ensure that fans keep coming back. Currently, many teams are taking cues from the retail industry, utilizing information about their customers in rewards and incentive programs to boost their business.
For example, the Penguins recently leveraged big data analytics within their PensPoints mobile app, which first hit app stores in early 2013. The program is a win-win for both fans and the team, as users earn points for typical fan activities to earn points for merchandise and the company collects the data to learn about those supporting the team.