Three successful cases of applying BIG DATA

It is Volume, it is Variety, it is Velocity, it is Veracity, and above all, it is VALUE when we apply analytics to Big Data. We already talked about its characteristics and its challenges; today is the day to present some success stories and show you why it can be useful for an organization to apply Big Data Analytics.

Case No. 1 Global Pulse

Generally associated with the topic of Big Data is the business sector but this topic is not exclusive to that sector. Government organizations, or intergovernmental as is the case of the United Nations, seek to take advantage of big data, artificial intelligence and other emerging technologies to meet the objectives that have been proposed. For this reason, the United Nations (UN) 1 This organization was born after the end of the Second World War, on October 24, 1945 and today has 193 member states, within its objectives to promote peace, protect human rights , establish the framework of international justice and promote economic and social progress. [/ note] created the Global Pulse initiative, with which they hope to rely on new technological tools to help distribute humanitarian aid, and promote sustainable development.

UN is not alone, in each of the projects, Global Pulse joins with other companies that possess the analytical capabilities to manipulate large volumes of information. For example, for Ireland, the Global Pulse group joined SAS to answer the question of whether social networks can deepen unemployment?

For that, they captured digital information (social networks, blogs, forums, news related to unemployment), then made an exploratory analysis, and finally carried out a sentiment analysis 2 Sentiment analysis, also called opinion mining, is the field of study that analyzes the views, feelings, evaluations, assessments, attitudes of people, and emotions towards entities such as products, services, organizations, individuals, problems, events, themes and their attributes. [/ note ] and labeled each conversation. Finally, they correlated the mood of the discussion with official unemployment statistics. They discovered that more talks in social networks on topics related to confusion and anxiety caused by work are a good indicator that alerts a peak of unemployment in Ireland and this indicator works three months in advance.

Case No. 2 OPower

Big data and cloud computing generally go hand in hand, such as the case with the OPower company, a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation. This company functions as a platform that assists utility companies in reducing energy consumption and improving the relationships they have with their customers. Using data from thermostats and other devices of Pacific Gas and Electric, OPower captures around 7 million data every day and with that generates reports that are attached to the utility bill as a way to encourage the customer to ration their energy consumption by comparing their behavior with the behavior of their neighbors.

As the volume of data increased, the time required to store and process it increased. Its data infrastructure based on MySQL was not enough, and many data were left unchecked. How to deliver a value proposition to customers in a short time? The answer was to start using Hadoop 3 Apache Hadoop is an open source software that supports the distributed processing of large datasets in computer clusters and is very suitable for running applications in parallel. [/ note] and Datameer, technological tools that allowed him to access and analyze data both to his data scientists and to his product managers. With that change, OPower has drastically reduced the time required to obtain data for analysis and empowered product managers with ideas to help customers reduce energy consumption by $ 500 million and reduced CO2 production by 7 thousand millions of pounds.

Case No. 3 Netflix

Who has not seen a movie or series on Netflix? Personally, the lover of 100 and 3%, waiting for the new seasons at this time. Netflix has more than 100 million subscribers in the world; you can imagine the large volume of data they capture, and that with only one goal: to improve the user experience.

Before being what it is today, Netflix was a company that rented and sold DVDs via mail, subscriptions to Netflix were cheap and did not charge fines if the customer was late in delivery. That business model revolutionized the industry and led other companies, which failed to adapt to changes in the environment such as Blockbuster, to bankruptcy. The founders of Netflix realized the importance of the data and in 2006 launched the Netflix award, which offered 1 million dollars to the group to provide the best algorithm to predict how their customers would rate a movie based on their previous ratings. After that, the use of Big Data helps Netflix decide which programs will interest the user, generate content (the House Cards series was designed based on Big Data Analytics results), among others; What’s more, the recommendation system influences 80% of the content we see on Netflix. The algorithms behind the recommendation system help Netflix save $ 1 billion a year from customer retention (InsideBIGDATA, 2018).

Final Comments

I would like to highlight two aspects of the cases presented. The first is the importance of starting by defining a question of interest to the organization, before making an inventory of the available data or applying analytical techniques to see what could be found. In other words, first, establish which is the north that the organization wants to reach and what the questions are should be able to respond to achieve that goal, then go out and find the appropriate data and methods.

Second, the organization does not have to know them all. UN looked for SAS to be in charge of capturing, storing and processing the data. OPower migrated to Hadoop and looked for Datameer to empower product managers to analyze the data. Finally, Netflix opened a competition for an external team to develop an algorithm.


  1. (s.f). Top Five High-Impact Use Cases for Big Data Analytics. Disponible en
  2. Global Pulse (2013). Big Data For Development: A Primer. Disponible en
  3. InsideBIGDATA (2018, enero 20). How Netflix Uses Big Data to Drive Success. Disponible en
  4. Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible. (s.f). Naciones Unidas. Disponible en

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