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Using Big Data to Identify and Prevent Crimes

Thursday, March 27th, 2014 by

Predictive analytics tools have helped major corporations gain consumer insights, using them to drive profit growth and marketing campaigns. On the other end of the spectrum, law enforcement agencies on the national and municipal levels are using Big Data to identify and predict criminal behavior. Surveillance capabilities aside, the new techniques may discourage so-called “bad behavior” throughout the United States.

A Neighborhood Watch sign in a community.

A Neighborhood Watch sign in a community.

An example of success 
The Wisconsin State Journal reported that Madison, Wisc., police authorities consulted with analysts in the surrounding areas in anticipating a December crime wave that would sweep the University of Wisconsin’s College Court area. Apparently, once students leave for winter break in December, law enforcement officials receive numerous burglary reports.

The news source noted that three crime analysts are employed by the Madison Police Department. Operating through a cloud server, the professionals are able to help officers prioritize their efforts. The unit has been with the organization for nearly 10 years, garnering headline-worthy attention when one analyst helped a detective identify patterns in a string of bank robberies that occurred earlier this year.

Caleb Kelbig, one of the data experts working with the authorities, told police in Madison and surrounding cities that the perpetrator could hit 1 of 11 possible targets on the afternoon of March 5 or 6. Amazingly, the robber appeared at one of the locations in Middleton, Wisc., at about 2:30 pm on March 5.

Prioritizing intentions, citing appropriate uses
Jignesh Patel, an expert in Big Data use and a professor at UW-Madison, noted that cloud computing has made predictive analytics tools easier to use. Developments in IT have also opened up new avenues through which digital information can be collected. For example, smartphone software has contributed significantly to the data-gathering trend.

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Cloud Computing Relieves Stress for IT Professionals

Tuesday, February 25th, 2014 by

The growing requirement for superior network performance has significantly increased demand for IT professionals. Every successful business, regardless of the industry in which it competes, needs a team of knowledgeable personnel capable of assisting the rest of the company with maintaining customer satisfaction. Many industry watchers agree that if an IT team doesn’t possess the appropriate tools, a company won’t be able to keep pace with its competitors. With new technology being implemented on a regular basis, businesses are looking toward cloud computing to assist in-house experts with day-to-day operations.

A technician diagnoses a data center issue.

A technician diagnoses a data center issue.

“Implement a structure that gives shared visibility and metrics to development and IT teams, so the health of an application is easily viewed by both,” said Jennifer Schiff, a writer for PC Advisor.

The report stated that IT managers would be able to easily access project status reports and information updates via a cloud management system.

Resolving the issues
Let’s say an issue arises with the company’s email, for example, and a member of the IT team is assigned to solve it. The problem is that his computer lacks the applications necessary to do so, forcing him to travel to a separate location. According to Cloud Tweaks, a cloud server possesses the capability required to resolve a problem from a remote location. All the employee needs to do is communicate with another machine connected to the hosting cloud that can perform the required task. After the problem is solved, the remote machine delivers the data back to the employee.

With Big Data collection expected to rise significantly in the near future, a business must be able to use a platform capable of handling the information. If an on-site data center is overwhelmed by an influx of information, it’s likely that a member of the IT team will be required to physically upgrade the hardware.

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The Big Data Storage Opportunity in the Cloud

Friday, February 21st, 2014 by

The Big Data phenomenon has encouraged organizations to pursue all options when accumulating increasingly diverse information sets from highly disparate sources. The trend has essentially expanded the network and caused an influx of traffic. Unfortunately, conventional IT systems with minimal or limited bandwidth simply can’t live up to the constantly changing levels of data transit. This complication is causing some organizations to stop in their tracks, ending Big Data initiatives before they can provide any proof of positive returns.

The big data storage opportunity in the cloud

The Big Data storage opportunity in the cloud

The good news is that the volume of Big Data doesn’t have to be a deterrent. Instead, experiencing problems with increasingly large amounts of information can be a wake-up call for businesses to implement new technologies like a flexible storage and warehousing environment that are capable of scaling on-demand.

Enter: cloud computing.

Although the cloud has received a lot of attention in the application development, backup, and disaster recovery markets, its highly agile nature makes it an especially beneficial solution in the Big Data realm. By implementing a cloud storage architecture, for example, organizations can gather massive amounts of information without worrying about hitting capacity. And because the cloud is so scalable, decision-makers pay only for what they need when they need it, making the hosted environment ideal for the constantly changing demands of Big Data.

So what’s the catch?
There’s no doubt that cloud infrastructure services can be an appealing technology for companies looking to take advantage of the Big Data movement without encountering bandwidth or performance issues. However, that doesn’t mean the cloud is perfect. Some firms may encounter issues when using the cloud for the first time because the hosted services themselves are relatively new. The initial migration to the cloud, for example, can be difficult for enterprises that aren’t used to outsourcing or have never used managed services of any kind.

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Big Data Can Knock Down Technical Barriers in the Boardroom

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014 by

The boardroom plays an important role in the ongoing development of an organization. Filled with executives and partners of all types, this room is the place where most decisions about a company’s future are made. Traditionally, discussions about the trajectory of enterprise programs were built around old conversations and past experiences, which guided decision-makers to either fund or kill prospective projects, depending on how rewarding managers believed certain initiatives would be in the long run.

Big data should knock down technical barriers in the boardroom

Big Data can knock down technical barriers in the boardroom

Today, some companies are embracing similar mentalities, which isn’t necessarily helping them, especially as new technological and operational trends emerge within the enterprise. Other firms are taking a more innovative approach and embracing the tectonic shifts happening within the IT landscape. In the past, IT movements were generally ignored by the boardroom because these projects were considered too technical, which meant that most employees were unaware of the direction of IT. The Big Data phenomenon has changed all of that.

Why bring data into the boardroom?
Businesses of all sizes and industries are quickly realizing that information is the key to success. Although this ideal has been reinforced in the past, the repercussions of not using data as a guide are becoming more widely understood.

Boardroom-level decision-makers used to base their expectations on gut feelings. Doing so was sometimes beneficial, especially when executives were highly experienced and aware of what was happening within their companies and competing firms; however, there was no effective way to guarantee their beliefs were accurate until it was too late to change their minds. Instead of following this antiquated approach to decision-making, executives can now use information to their advantage.

The digital world of today is fueled by a massive increase in available information because almost every activity carried out on a smartphone, tablet, or other computing device leaves a trail of data crumbs. By gathering these scraps of information and analyzing their trajectory, organizations can essentially predict the future and build strategies to maximize return on virtually any investment.

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5 Ways Big Data Can Improve Your Business in 2014

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014 by

The concept of Big Data escapes many, but those who take the time to understand and use it benefit significantly. It’s predicted that Big Data will become huge in 2014, but companies that make business intelligence solutions a priority early in January will undoubtedly gain an edge over their competition. From data-based decisions to improving customer satisfaction, here are 5 ways Big Data can improve your business in 2014.

How big data will change your business in 2014

How Big Data will change your business in 2014

1. Access trends through social media
Big Data and the analytics that decipher it can easily zero in on a particular trend in social media and capitalize on it in ways that are advantageous to your business. Quobole uses the example of a location-based trend. That means a business can detect when a store is getting a notable amount of buzz on social media through unstructured data. Using that information, the business’s marketing team can then send out a blast on social media encouraging users to visit the store and give them an incentive to make a purchase. That’s just one example of capitalizing on social media trends with Big Data.

2. Rely less on gut feelings
In the past, many business decisions have been made based solely on instinct. Increasingly, however, companies are relying on data collected through market research or online trends. Big Data gives companies even more information to go on, enabling them to make business decisions that are more factually based and considerably less risky. If you have actual data, you can weigh real-life pros and cons before plunging into the deep end.

3. Stay ahead of the competition
Because Big Data is expected to go mainstream in the next year, businesses can get a head start on the competition by familiarizing themselves with business intelligence solutions. The sooner businesses start to use trends found by unstructured data, the larger head start they’ll have on the competition. It’s strategies like this that can turn underdog companies into market leaders and keep these top businesses at the forefront of their industry.

4. Make customers more satisfied
One of the biggest ways Big Data is changing businesses is by improving customer service. According to The Wall Street Journal, Netflix began using unstructured data for this purpose in 2008. After an outage, the company used the data to spot problem areas and improve the technology. It also used the data to inform the future viewing suggestions they offer customers. Big Data lets Netflix know where the most traffic is on their website and helps on-site engineers plan for better network capacity. Now, Netflix is a top company for on-demand Internet streaming.

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