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5 businesses harnessing the power of big data in smart ways

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Executives at the helm of some of the most powerful businesses are experimenting with big data to add value in ways never been seen before. Here are 5 of the most exciting.

Trends emerge in all industries.

Affective computing promises to instil the next generation of AI with lifelike responses, customized learning is set to empower a generation of students, and peer2peer lending is changing the way young companies gain liquidity.

Yet all of these trends are sector specific, and it’s rare for something to emerge that transcends all. Big data is an exception to that rule.

It refers to the process of analyzing complex data sets to discover information that can help inform better decisions, or aid in the finding of particular patterns.

Cheaper storage and ubiquitous computation has not only meant that data is more widely available, but that processing is far cheaper and more efficient, which for businesses and humanity, means insight into real-world topics that can be put to use.

It certainly has its critics, but indisputably, when used correctly it can create a huge amount of value for every corner of society. These companies are all utilizing big data to make some serious digital waves.


catapultThe day after transfer deadline day (the day which marks the end of the English Premier League’s transfer window) is always one of mixed emotions. It depends on the team you support of course, but there’s a unified sentiment amongst soccer fans, who for an entire day, close themselves off to the world and glue their noses to the nearest screen.

Everyone recognizes that the amount spent on transfers is ludicrous.

Catapult earns its place amongst the most innovative big data companies using for taking the guesswork out of injury prevention.

The summer transfer window of 2015 saw total outlay by all PL clubs reach £870m. Fans scoff at the amount spent, however a topic equally as costly and seldom discussed are injuries.

In the US for example, one estimate suggests that MLB teams lost $665m on the salaries of injured players. NBA teams lost $358m.

One company wants to reduce this.

Catapult earns its place amongst the most innovative big data companies using for taking the guesswork out of injury prevention. It monitor’s athletes health, measuring metrics like power and efficiency of movement to tell early on whether or not an athlete may be developing an injury.

Catapult now works with nearly half of NFL teams, a third of NBA teams, and major colleges too.

Next Big Sound

NextBigSound_Logo_ColorTraditionally the role of A & R departments has been to source the hottest unsigned music performers. The role includes standing nonchalantly at the back of gigs, bopping their heads slowly in an attempt to fit in.

Next Big Sound wants to change that.

It makes the list for the most innovative big data companies for its ability to analyze an unending plethora of musical data to help it predict the future of music.

It sounds like sci-fi, but the New-York based analytics company managed to call the success of artists Iggy Azalea, A$ap Rocky, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis more than 2 years before they hit the big time.

The company uses data from social media sites to come up with a score for individual artists that represents their chances of taking the billboard 200 by storm in the coming 12 months.


NetflixAccounting for one third of peak-time Internet traffic in the US, Netflix’s rise to fame has been astonishing, and in part, a result of its smart utilization of big data analytics.

For cleverly taking up more of our time, Netflix makes the most innovative big data companies list.

If you’re a subscriber, the 2014 announcement that it had signed up 50 million subscribers around the world was fantastic news. Why? Because it means that Netflix is getting smarter.

Data from each and every subscriber is constantly monitored and analyzed to help better understand viewing habits.

The result has been a plethora of data points, helping dictate thematically its ‘original content’. No longer just a distributor, Netflix increasingly wants to position itself as a content producer.

Smash series like House Of Cards, Better Call Saul and Orange is the New Black were all decided on by big data. Even the range of colors used on the cover image for the House Of Cards series was selected to draw viewers in, based on data.

For cleverly taking up more of our time, Netflix makes the most innovative big data companies list.


ibm-logoIBM introduced the world to Watson as the technology able to beat humans at Jeopardy! as well as the platform able to diagnose humans with cancer better than doctors.

The icing on the cake, and displaying just how powerful the application of big data analytics can be to just about anything, was seen during last year’s SXSW. ‘Chef’ Watson teamed up with a food truck, helping inform the best combinations of food based on consumer requests.

For showing us just how much better a computer can be than a human at just about anything, IBM warrants its place on the list of the most innovative big data companies.

Flatiron Health

FlatironHealthEvery year 8 million people die from cancer, and 14 million people are told they have the disease. This New York based startup plans on wading through mountains of clinical data in an effort to beat the disease once and for all.

Its vision is to collect data on patients, so that it can organize and make it usable for physicians, patients and stakeholders to ultimately improve cancer care.

Flatiron describe it as the world’s largest source of oncology data, with the hope that it will accelerate personalized medicine and research.

Google believe in it so much, that it’s investment arm, Google ventures have written a cheque to the tune of more than $100m.

For its valiant efforts of using data to try and beat cancer, Flatiron is a deserving part of this list focused on the most innovative big data companies.