Big Data is increasing the amount of information that is collected about a person or demographic and companies have begun to notice. In an ever more competitive global market, companies are looking for any advantage and Big Data is showing big signs of potential. By collecting and connecting big data, companies can identify traits about potential customers that they themselves may not even know. Behavior is much more predictable than you may suspect and this bodes well for companies who lead in collecting such data. Consolidating facts about a person in seemingly unrelated areas paints a remarkably accurate picture of their habits and how they behave. The question for companies is not if they will use this data but how they will use it.

In many ways Big Data has helped level the playing field for countries with limited resources. The UN launched a new initiative named Global Pulse that designed to help countries develop using Big Data. By linking networks, bringing together data, and turning it into information it is possible to predict job losses and economic events before they happen. Where it may help developing countries the most is the ability to predict disease outbreaks that can cripple villages and regions economically. By using this data to combat these issues it becomes more possible to help keep areas from slipping back into poverty because of a devastating event. Canada has even jumped on the bandwagon and Fuseforward, based in Vancouver, specializes in taking data and turning it into an asset that increases a company's competitiveness internationally. This global company is using Big Data to find business opportunities abroad, solving infrastructure problems in developing countries like South Africa.

For companies all over the world, Big Data is a huge opportunity with more and more companies making an attempt at harvesting it. Companies like Wal-Mart analyze sales in relation to economic, demographic and weather patterns to find the most optimal time to have sales promotions. The World Economic Forum, held at the beginning of the year, featured “Big Data, Big Impact” which declared data as an asset, not unlike currency or gold. There are companies that focus strictly on mining data, then selling that information to corporations. The value of this information is extraordinary. Gone could be the days of creating a mass advertising program where one ad is meant to be seen by all. Personal advertisements that are marketed for specific people will be based on interests or hobbies of the consumer. Over time this technology can only get better and data more accurate. Companies must take notice, as the future seems bright with Big Data.

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