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Emerging Uses of Big Data

As the world of big data continues to expand in size and influence, new, sometimes unexpected use of the technology is being made to affect positive change in a number of sectors from health to lingerie. The service will evolve in the various ways in which it can be used as cloud computing slowly but surely becomes the norm in how we communicate and work. Here are some of the most boundary-pushing examples of big data being used today, and innovative ways companies are harnessing its significant power.

Big data used to predict and monitor influenza outbreaks
Gigantic Chinese Internet company Baidu has announced it will make use of big data to help monitor and pinpoint the location of flu outbreaks for the coming season, and is rumored to be taking cues from a similar stateside effort from Google to do so. Wall Street Journal blogger Chao Deng reported on the firm's plan, which remains tightlipped thus far.

"The firm, which says its search engine attracts more than 160 million users daily through mobile devices alone, is working with the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention to use big data to forecast flu outbreaks," Deng said. 

Baidu is said to be improving on existing flu tracking algorithms to help predict where outbreaks of bird flu, SARS and other variations on the virus will occur to take preventative measures in advance.

The big data brassiere
When you think "cloud hosting services," the first thing to come to mind likely isn't ladies' underwear. Think again - according Wired writer Issie Lapowsky. San Francisco lingerie company True&Co has been gathering data about women's bra preferences since 2012 in order to refer them to the right company, make and model, and are now using big data to engineer its own product.

"Since the company launched in 2012, True&Co has collected some 7 million data points on their customers, from details about different breast shapes to what percentage of women experience strap slippage," Lapowsky explained. "Now, having successfully sold products from other designers, the company is officially launching its own line of lingerie that's been specially infused with data."

This clever use of cloud hosting already puts True&Co CEO Michelle Lam way ahead of the game in knowing her clientele. Because of all the data collected in past years, Lam has identified over 6000 types of female bodies, each with their own needs for a comfortable fit and knows exactly how to market products to these niche customers. The idea has already begun to spread, and several custom-fit competitors have already cropped up in the industry.

Making use of the cloud infrastructure to work for your industry may not be intuitive at first, but every sector is slowly discovering new ways to make use of data to turn a profit and, even more valuably, learn their customers inside and out. As these trends continue to develop, there's no limit on how big data can change the way we live and consume goods.

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