Thursday, November 06, 2014

Big Data, and why Mobile applications and Infrastructure have to be a big part of it!

The problem with the typical perception of Big Data on mobile phones, is that it is only about invading one's privacy, as shown in the Etisalat scam where telecom surveillance software was installed on Blackberry phones as a part of their regular update in 2010 and the Xiaomi Mi5 scandal where the Indian Airforce banned use of these phones by their personnel.

The truth is, that Big Data doesn't have to be about privacy at all.

If the basic etiquette followed, is that phone numbers and names are not collected, then we can see sufficient use cases where good mobile applications, can be used as a check on actual infrastructure of huge countries like India and Russia.

For example, a simple pothole detector application, used effectively, may be used to actually help in identifying traffic flow and areas of congestion.

Another great use-case, is the school bus tracking system currently in place in various parts of the country.

Data collected over a period of three years, is enough to help the police identify periods of traffic congestion and then use this data to pre-empt periods of traffic congestion.

For example, holidays like Diwali and Ganesh, create huge traffic situations in coastal belts like Goa's Baga region, hence a pre-emptive warning, would ensure that the police take relevant steps to reduce and co-ordinate the same.

Analysis of density of specific age-groups, can be used by relevant FMCG brands, to target these age-groups using events focussed around these locations at the relevant time.

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