Big Data Cuts ER Visits

Big Data is all the talk these days. Everyone wants to play, but no one has really found a way to monetize this data.

The State of Washington has found a way to monetize the data, but not really in the way that everyone is hoping. They are using the data to save money as opposed to generating income.

The State of Washington instituted a state-wide mandatory ER tracking system. With this system, doctors are able to quickly see what a patient has been recently treated for…regardless of what other hospital in the state they were treated at.

This information allows physicians to make better and more accurate decisions around treatment.

Although the savings can’t be fully attributed to this new tracking initiative, the state quoted a savings of $33.7 million in 2013.


Tech Allows New Business Models

New technology continues to redefine the way business is done. Adobe, a huge provider of software, has long licensed their software as a one-time fee per user. As technology and business has changed, however, they saw a new path. Adobe went with a monthly subscription fee as opposed to huge, one-time fees.

At first, there was a lot of backlash over the change, but the model has proven surprisingly popular. They now have 1.8 million subscribers, 405k of which were added just in the last quarter.

This model offers several benefits for consumers including constant upgrades at no charge; you always have the latest version. This is also great for Adobe since they have a constant stream of revenue.

As business continues, I’m sure we’ll see more and more companies moving to a subscription model as opposed to one-time fees.


Location Tracking in Retail

Location tracking has long been a popular topic in retail. Retailers have often used varying methods to track consumers’ location including:
– Security Cameras
– Wifi Connections
– Bluetooth

These methods were often costly to implement, unreliable, and clunky in general.

Apple’s solution is iBeacon. Although iBeacon is still new and relatively undisclosed, Apple is still making major plans for the platform. Options they have considered included hyper-local marketing, customer habit tracking, and even for payments.

Similar uses already exist minus the iBeacon technology. For example, Apple’s own Passbook application utilizes location technology to show relevant documents when you approach certain areas.

This technology is slated to continue to grow as more and more retailers adopt the platform.


Brilliant Solution to Hacking Attempts

As we’re all well aware, hacking continues to be a huge issues for companies around the globe….no matter how large or how small. Everyone from Adobe to Target has been subject of some sort of security or data breach.

In this article, Ari Juels and Thomas Ristenpart discuss their new technique for thwarting hackers.

Instead of simply trying to make your data secure, make some of it totally insecure. Basically, have a fake data source that is available to hackers fairly easily. Hackers will find this fake data and focus on that…not even realizing the data is actually fake. By the time they realize it is fake, you’ll have had a chance to identify them and their method/point of entry.

This could save companies billions…not only in lost data but also in reputation.


Big Data Saves Money

Big Data continues to be a big topic in the technology industry. Specifically, however, the topic often varies. Sometimes companies are worried about the collection; sometimes they are worried about the management; other times they are worried about the actual application.

UPS recently announced that they spend over $1 billion per year on big data. The results of this spending often result in lowered fuel expenses, more efficient routes, and ultimately faster and cheaper deliveries for the customer. Big data helps UPS shape the future of the shipping business.

The fact that they are already spending $1 billion per year is quite shocking. Big data has only recently become a serious “thing.”


Technology Allows Alternative Locale Strategies

For many years, businesses have focused on placing infrastructure near their customers. This has also been the case for technology businesses as well; data centers were placed near customers for the best connection speeds at the lowest cost.

As the times have changed, however, connection speeds have increased and the expense to make those connections has decreased. For those reasons, these companies are no longer bound to being nearby their customers. Instead, the businesses are turning to alternative locations that offering them other benefits. Frequently, these companies are now placing data centers in locations that are subjected to extreme cold. See, data centers get VERY hot and one of the largest expenses in technology is keeping servers running cool and efficiently. Placing data centers in cold areas allow the companies to bring cold in from the outside (at very low costs) and use that as opposed to AC. They are also, when possible, placing these data centers in locations where affordable energy is available.


Great Resource going forward:


Power of Blogging in Business

On January 28, an HBS Professor posted a blog post that called into light the “shady” practices of, until recently, billion dollar digital media company Blinkx.

The blog post accused Blinkx of utilizing advertising techniques that users do not like which ultimately ends up costing advertisers money. After his post, Blinkx dropped $400 million in market cap…nearly 1/3rd of their value.

The professor does disclose that a portion of his blog post was prepared at the request of an unnamed client.

This is a prime example of how companies can utilize the technology of today to wage warfare on other individuals and businesses. Who is to say Google isn’t the unnamed client of the professor? With one blog post, they have severely damaged a huge competitor and potentially cost investors around the world their lives savings. This perfectly emphasizes the power of a blog in todays environment.