Making sense of Big Data
Big data is a very sexy subject at the moment. Given the enormous volume of digital information in the world, being able to bring it together and analyse it should make it easier to spot overall trends and, in the case of marketing, build up a personalised picture of consumers so you can better target them with products and offers.
Like everything in IT this isn’t anything that new – I remember a story from 20 years ago about a US supermarket that analysed the buying patterns for nappies. They found that lots were being bought at 6pm on a Friday, and by staking out stores saw that the majority of buyers were fathers on their way home from work. By moving beer nearer to nappies, they increased booze sales dramatically as dads stocked up for the sleepless weekend ahead.
What has changed since then is the enormous increase in the number of data sources and the sheer amount of data out there. We live in a digital world and the majority of what we do leaves a data footprint behind us. However in a lot of cases this data is either in multiple formats – or is completely unstructured, such as academic documents (or this blog).
And analysing big data isn’t just about selling us more beer – by comparing and questioning multiple information sources, including patents and scientific papers you can speed up research in areas such as life sciences, helping make drug discovery more efficient. A great example of a company enabling this is Linguamatics, which has just opened its new worldwide HQ on the Cambridge Science Park. Its flagship I2E text mining software uses natural language processing to understand the meaning of unstructured data delivered through a search engine approach that is fast and accurate.
Already used by nine out the world’s top ten pharmaceutical companies Linguamatics is growing fast, both in Europe and North America, but has operated under the radar, focusing on building its business. With big data being flavour of the month, the time is now right for Linguamatics to raise its profile, both in Cambridge and across the world.
No comments yet.