From Business to Medicine
Data science is already transforming traditional ways of analyzing problems and creating powerful new solutions. With initiatives such as NYU’s on data science, the techniques that data scientists use will evolve and become more sophisticated, allowing data science to tackle age-old challenges in revolutionary news ways. These are examples of data science in action today, and places data science may take us.
From car design to insurance to pizza delivery, businesses are using data science to optimize their operations and better meet their customers’ expectations.
What’s HappeningTwo-Way Street for the Ford Focus Electric Car
In the Ford Focus Electric car, data about acceleration and braking, among other information, are communicated to the driver while the car is in motion. The data is also delivered to engineers at Ford who aggregate it to gain customer insights that influence product improvements. Utility companies can also analyze the driving data to plan where to build charging stations and keep demands on utility grids in check.
Better Fraud Detection Boosts Customer SatisfactionSantam, South Africa’s largest short-term insurance provider, is using advanced analytics to tease out likely fraudulent claims from legitimate claims. The results: millions saved and drastically lowered processing times for low-risk claims, making customers happier with Santam’s services.
E-Commerce Insights: Domino’s Secret SauceDomino’s Pizza is learning more about its online customers and the effectiveness of its coupons in real time with a business intelligence platform called Splunk. The company says Splunk contributed to its highest volume Superbowl ever.
Using Social Data to Select Successful Retail Locations
University of Cambridge researchers demonstrated how Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin’ Donuts could potentially use Foursquare checkins to predict where a new store will get the most business.
HealthcareTomorrow’s healthcare may look more efficient thanks to things like electronic health records. It also may look a lot more effective. Reduced readmissions, better care, and earlier detection are on the horizon.
Reducing Hospital Readmissions
In a pilot study, Manhattan’s Mount Sinai Medical Center cut readmissions with the help of a computer model that predicts which patients have the highest chances of returning to the hospital. The model draws information on factors like disease and past hospital visits from hospital claims data. Caregivers give follow-up calls and other assistance to those likely to come back to the hospital.
Better Point-of-Care Decisions
When patients who have a high risk of being carriers of the dangerous microorganism methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus are admitted to NorthShore University Health System in Evanston, Illinois, healthcare givers are alerted. The notification is made possible by predictive modeling the hospital developed. With the model, the hospital is able to identify about 90 percent of MRSA in its population.
Medical Exams by Bathroom Mirrors
Dave Evans, Cisco's chief futurist, predicts that instead of yearly medical checkups, people will have a constant stream of information about their physical condition beamed to their doctors. Bathroom mirrors, for example, could read one’s skin temperature, pulse and blood pressure, alerting doctors to early indicators of health problems.
For the first time in human history, more people live in cities than in suburban or rural areas. An emerging field called “urban informatics” combines data science with the unique challenges facing the world’s growing cities.
Taking on Megacity TrafficMumbai is easing its notoriously jammed traffic conditions with a system that allows police officers to remotely monitor traffic flows at key junctions via a network of cameras and sensors. Officers can change the color of traffic lights with a push of a button to prevent backups. Driverless, computer-controlled cars in megacities like Mumbai might one day fill the roads, passing real-time information about traffic conditions to each other, rerouting themselves to keep traffic moving.
Fighting Crime with Data
The Los Angeles Police Department launched a “predictive policing” program in 2011 that officers said resulted in double-digit drops in burglaries and other property crimes. The software driving the program uses a constantly-calibrated feed of data on criminal incidents to tell officers where and when future crimes may occur. The software is built on the same model for predicting aftershocks following an earthquake.
Police department across the globe are interested in the "predictive policing" program.
Instrumenting New York City
NYU’s Center for Urban Science and Progress, or NYU CUSP, aims to use big data to improve cities. CUSP will combine a variety of existing data sources—everything from NYC government agencies to Foursquare checkins—with new sensors and other data-collecting technology to better understand how the city functions. That understanding may lead to remedies to poor air quality, overcrowded subways, and other longstanding city challenges.