How big data will change the world

5 minutes

National security One area that’s greatly benefitting from big data is national secur...

National security

One area that’s greatly benefitting from big data is national security and law enforcement. Data allows police and security forces to identify potential terrorists and flag criminal activity.

Following the 7/7 terrorist attacks in London, the UK police force undertook a large scale consolidation of its data that was held in different departments and police forces. A system was built to enable greater access to the data by anti-terrorism police as well as security partners. Would-be threats can now be identified at an earlier stage and the force’s data strategy has informed similar ones in the U.S, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.


Data science and analytics models that are trained on big data can analyse vast quantities of information, making medical research more efficient. This aids in drug discovery and creation, predicting disease patterns and monitoring patient health.

Data from wearable devices like the Apple Watch can be used by doctors to assess patient health over time, remotely, and in their natural day-to-day. So, the data that’s collected is more accurate than in a hospital or clinic where white coat syndrome impacts results.

Similarly, a Bangladeshi study is using mobile phone data to track population movements. This is used to predict the likelihood of epidemics, like malaria, in certain areas, enabling healthcare professionals to take preventative action.

Marketing and advertising

Marketers and advertisers were quick off the mark when the big data revolution began, partly because of the wealth of customer data they had available. This has made marketing more effective and increased return on investment (ROI), powering multiple marketing and advertising channels like recommendation engines, as seen on Netflix, Spotify and Amazon.

Using data, marketers can predict the likelihood of people purchasing, allowing them to target the most valuable prospects. Greater personalisation also increases the likelihood of conversion.

The future will see this go a step further with data insights used in real-time to inform marketing and advertising campaigns. M&C Saatchi used data to inform an experimental billboard campaign that changed its copy and creative based on the onlooker. Elements which failed to engage consumers were ‘killed off’ whilst successful ones were amplified.

Just the start

These use cases illustrate some ways that big data will change the world - but it’s the tip of the iceberg. Be prepared for big data to impact your industry in a big way. Many organisations are already using it and its popularity will grow as more success stories are shared.

To get ahead, it’s worth investing in a data literate workforce. Not just by hiring a bunch of data analysts, data scientists and data engineers, but also by upskilling your other departments and helping them understand data’s applications in their working lives. This takes time, so start sooner rather than later - or risk being left behind.

We locate and connect with the best talent in big data. To consult with us on your hiring strategy, get in touch today.