Discovering the what-if potential of analytics
Over the next few years, expect analytics to be far more pervasive and intelligent than it is now
What if you were born in a world where there are no traffic jams, a world where heart attacks can be predicted months in advance before they occur, where machines squeak their status just before they break down? While this looks futuristic, this smart era could dawn on us sooner than you think, if the efforts of some of the pilot projects in predictive analytics succeed.
Consider these projects: Town planners at Los Angeles have built the Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control System. The system synchronizes 4,500 traffic signals across the region, and magnetic sensors in the road at every intersection send real-time updates about the traffic flow. The system analyzes the data and automatically uses this analysis to predict where traffic is likely to snarl. With the new system, the average time to drive 5 miles in the city has been reduced from 20 minutes to 17.2 minutes.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is working with partners like IBM to develop an analytics system that can help doctors detect heart failure years earlier. With enough lead time, patients can make the required lifestyle changes and take the required medications to save their lives.
GE Aviation is experimenting with using predictive analytics to anticipate when a CNC machine, used to make airplane engine parts, is about to break down, so that its staff can carry out preventive maintenance and avoid delaying the delivery of a finished engine. Using analytics, healthcare organizations are even personalizing treatments for cancer patients, based on their DNA. Closer home, IT services firm, Mindtree, is using HR analytics to predict employee turnover for the next 90 days.
Over the next few years, expect analytics to be far more pervasive and intelligent than it is now. For example, IBM predicts that within the next five years, our digital lives will be protected by ‘digital guardians’ who constantly watch over our digital lives using cloud-based analytics to spot deviations and chances of fraud.
A precursor to what can be expected in the near future can be seen from Gartner’s recent prediction, where the research firm predicted ‘your smartphone will be smarter than you by 2017.’ Gartner says that smartphones will soon be able to predict a consumer’s next move, their next purchase or interpret actions based on what it knows. For instance, if there is heavy traffic, Gartner researchers say that your smartphone will predict that you are likely to be late, and accordingly wake you up early for making it in time for a meeting. The decision is made using contextual information gathered from the calendar of the user, weatherrelated information and the user’s location.
The future is much closer than we think, as the usage of analytics is only limited to our imagination.