Are You Using Big Data?

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While in Shanghai, I had the opportunity to watch two fascinating shows on Big Data on NHK World. (It’s a Japanese TV channel: you can see it at Both focused on how companies/countries can creatively use big data to mitigate the damages of a potential disaster situation. Disaster Big Data: Preparing Tokyo Residents for the Worst and Disaster Big Data: The Key to Recovery The Great East Japan Earthquake.  By capturing data from cell phone usage, GPS movements of cars, etc., and mapping the changes in frequency of these events over time, the local governments are learning how to help their citizens before the next disaster occurs.

When I first got involved with evaluation technology several decades ago – and eventually spearheaded the first national study of the needs of handicapped children for Head Start services –, I was fascinated by what was then the “state-of-the-artâ€: the use of unobtrusive measures (e.g., recognizing that when museum tiles are worn out they tell you which displays are most frequent). Now I focus on Big Data.

If you’re new to the area, read Mark Van Rijmenam’s new book, Think Bigger: Developing a Successful Big Data Strategy for Your Business. It nicely discusses 7 Vs of data: Velocity, Variety, Volume, Veracity, Variability, Vsualization and Value. It also provides many great examples of how companies are using the data to better serve their clients/customers and earning more money.

How are you using Big Data now? Do you have plans to do so?  Share with us.  If you’re interested in more information on it in the future, let us know.