Has Big Data Driven Down Airline Prices?

Has Big Data Driven Down Airline Prices?

Comparison shopping has never been easier than it is in the age of big data. In addition to all the different websites consumers can cross-check for the best deal, marketplace platforms have emerged as a big player in many industries, including air travel. With the number of apps and websites on the market designed to get passengers the cheapest airfare possible, you might assume that big data has had a major impact on the drop in airfares in the last few years. Last summer, an average round trip domestic ticket was coming in at $240—20% less than the average two years before. However, this drop isn’t necessarily all due to the impact of big data on the travel market—there are other factors involved as well. Here are some of the top influences on airline ticket prices. 

The Impact of Big Data

There are a number of apps and websites up and running to get travelers the best deals on the web. From Skyscanner, which allows users to find the cheapest month to their destination or lets them sort by month to ALL destinations, to Hopper, which allows travelers to track flight prices, there are more ways than ever to leverage data ...


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Big Data’s Powerful Role in Gas Pipe Safety

Big Data’s Powerful Role in Gas Pipe Safety

Infrastructure is a major area of opportunity for big data, and it’s being explored more each year as opportunities to improve efficiency and safety present themselves. Smart grid systems are becoming more common as aging systems are upgraded, resulting in lower energy usage and savings. Gas pipelines, another important piece of our global energy infrastructure, are also being improved with big data—but unfortunately not all of them.

The “Pigs� That Clean Pipelines

Data collection in infrastructure relies on sensors, which can provide valuable information in many different contexts. Smart grid sensors detect what times of day demand more power, while sensors installed on “pigs� that clean pipelines offer insights that can improve safety and maintenance. The catch? These pigs, which look like cylindrical robots, can’t be used on all pipes worldwide. In fact, they can only be used on about a third of the world’s gas lines. That’s a shame, because pigs are a great way to use predictive analytics to ensure proper maintenance and cut costs for manufacturers.

Because keeping pipes in tip-top shape is an important safety issue, pipes that can’t be cleaned and monitored using pigs must be maintained using the old-fashioned methods of conservative prediction based on experience. ...


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The Big Data Startup That’s Disrupting the Industry

The Big Data Startup That’s Disrupting the Industry

Big data has been completely disrupting the way we do business as a society for the last several years. Like many things that disrupt business as we know it, big data has also become mainstream recently—every company wants to leverage its power, and for good reason. Now that the industry is growing in popularity, however, some of its limitations are becoming apparent. Some startups are working to fix inherent problems within the industry and evolve the available technology to make big data even more valuable to companies in every industry. One of the biggest problems in big data today is analysis: it’s easy to collect and store data, but figuring out how to analyze and use it can be a major challenge. Taking on that challenge is Neo Technology’s mission—they’re ready to bring easy big data analysis to any company that wants it.

The Challenges of Big Data

Once the ability to collect, store and analyze large datasets efficiently became available, companies with large budgets began assembling data analytics teams and giant databases. These teams were made up of curious coders who were tasked with finding relevant answers to these companies’ biggest questions about customer behavior, efficiency, and many other queries, ...


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Mobile Payments: Are They More Secure Than Credit Cards?

Mobile Payments: Are They More Secure Than Credit Cards?

With all the buzz that’s been surrounding our online privacy, cybercrime has become an important issue in everyday life. After all, we trust our most sensitive information to many different websites, believing that they have the safeguards in place to keep our private information private. Unfortunately, our data isn’t safe at all—a fact that’s made clear by the large number of data breaches and cases of identity theft that continue to grow each year. Though encryption and cybersecurity are getting more sophisticated every year, so are the hackers intent on stealing our data. Because of all this, many people are worried about the trend toward mobile payments isn’t secure—that it will open them up to having their financial and personal information stolen. Others maintain that mobile payments are more secure than credit cards. So who’s right in this scenario?

Chip Cards vs. Magnetic Strip

Recently, most new credit cards have started to feature “chip� technology, in addition to the traditional magnetic strip. This chip technology is more secure than swiping a card, because it doesn’t store the card number and name of the person in the system—it generates a code unique to that transaction, rather than providing the vendor with the actual ...


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How Big Data Makes the Sharing Economy Possible

How Big Data Makes the Sharing Economy Possible

Long before capitalism and big corporations ruled the world, we used to survive using different tactics: sharing. Bartering, sharing skills, and helping one another in order to feed ourselves and keep sheltered was simply a necessity. These days, we’re starting to shift back to those roots with the “sharing economy”—a concept that would not be possible in modern times without the help of big data’s ability to bring us together. Whether you know it or not, you’re probably participating in the new trend of the sharing economy—but what is it, exactly, and how does big data make this new (old) way of life possible?

What is the Sharing Economy?

Essentially, the sharing economy is the concept of crowdsourcing goods and services from others. This is usually done off of an online or mobile platform that fields requests and provides “matchmaking” services to facilitate sharing. This might mean calling a ride from someone with a car and a few extra hours to spare, buying a meal your neighbor cooked, or renting out someone’s apartment when you’re visiting a new city. You can even start a business by leveraging peer-to-peer lending—a process that bypasses banks and allows individuals to invest in a business via ...


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Dark Matter: How GPS Data is Helping to Unlock the Universe’s Secrets

Dark Matter: How GPS Data is Helping to Unlock the Universe’s Secrets

Data is essential to the way we live our lives here on Earth. But it’s also proven to be very helpful in exploring the mysteries of the universe beyond our tiny planet. Because there are so many phenomena observed in space that are difficult to measure, many mysteries remain about how the universe functions, changes, and evolves. Dark matter has been of particular interest to researchers, but it has been notoriously difficult to study—because all that has been detected of the elusive matter is its gravitational pull. New research has revealed that there may be a way to find this matter, however, using a common technology that we use every day: GPS satellites and data. 

What is Dark Matter?

Dark matter is one of the most elusive and mysterious substances that exists. It’s the stuff that is thought to be responsible for the formation of galaxies, but very little is known about its nature, aside from the hypothesis that it makes up 85% of the galaxy’s matter, and that its gravity is thought to keep galaxies together. Scientists have been hunting for answers about dark matter for years, with few solid answers. Even extra-sensitive sensors haven’t been able to detect dark matter ...


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Could GPS Satellites Be Replaced with Synthetic Diamonds?

Could GPS Satellites Be Replaced with Synthetic Diamonds?

Today, we take GPS (Global Positioning System) technology for granted. Thinking back on the days of navigating with maps seems like a long time ago, even though modern GPS systems are really fairly new. That’s because the technology has been so revolutionary to the way we live our lives, that we can’t really imagine life without it. It helps us to navigate while driving, help us track our steps, and even crowdsource crime analysis maps to help keep us safe. Technology is always evolving, however, and there may be something new on the horizon that could make GPS obsolete: synthetic diamonds. 

How Does GPS Work?

Currently, GPS works using three different devices: satellites, ground devices, and receivers. Satellites, of course, orbit the Earth and are able to relay positioning data back to the ground devices. The ground devices then use radar to confirm positioning. Our receivers are the devices we use on an everyday basis: our phones, GPS units in the car, smart watches, and any other instrument that can enable GPS. While this system works perfectly well for most of our needs, there are some limitations on the accuracy and speed of GPS. For some technology, like driverless cars, we’ll need ...


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Why Drones could be the Future of Real-Time Mapping

Why Drones could be the Future of Real-Time Mapping

For some, drones are nothing but a punch line—Amazon’s next attempt at replacing humans in their day-to-day operations, or a device that crashes at the drop of the hat. To others, they’re a sign of an uneasy future—a future they’re not comfortable with. Despite these misgivings, there are a lot of exciting uses for drones, and they’re earning a spot in our world. Mapping is something we all take for granted, but it takes a lot of work to keep those maps up-to-date and secure. It can be extremely frustrating when they’re not. The big players—Google and Apple—still use trucks to provide map data—but that might be changing in the future.

Bring in the Drones

Apple has had a hard time competing with Google’s dominance in the mapping space, but it may have found the answer: drones. The company has already gotten approval from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to move forward with the plan, though drone laws are always evolving, and may not fall in Apple’s favor. The drones may not be coming right away, but it’s an option that will help Apple compete with Google’s massively popular Maps application. The drones, in addition to the other features the company is building ...


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How Big Data Can be Used Responsibly in Higher Education

How Big Data Can be Used Responsibly in Higher Education

Big data has been used to improve almost every aspect of our lives, and higher education is no exception. Over the past few years, universities have been working hard to figure out how to leverage the massive amount of data they’re collecting to make their schools perform better and assist students in completion. Predictive analysis of data sets can be used to improve efficiency and tailor the college experience according to students’ needs. However, some insights gained can be used for irresponsible purposes, and higher education organizations need to be aware of these pitfalls and avoid them. Here are some of the ways big data can be used responsibly in higher education.

1. Improving Graduation Rates

Universities have been challenged to maintain high retention rates for years, and many state schools receive funding based on several performance benchmarks that include retention, on-time completion, and transfer rates. Georgia State University achieved great success in using data analysis to help improve graduation rates for low income and minority students. Using the data they collected from students, Georgia State amped up advising efforts and was able to close the gap between these low income/minority students and the rest of the student body over a ten ...


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Smart Homes: Are the Security Risks Worth It?

Smart Homes: Are the Security Risks Worth It?

How cool would it be to click off your lights at home—during the day, while you’re at work? Or set your temperature controls to kick on the heat an hour or two before you head home? For smart home owners, these kinds of conveniences are an everyday reality that has lots of perks. However, these early adopters are still working with technology that’s in its infancy, which means that manufacturers are still working out a lot of the early kinks that come with the territory. Unfortunately, some of the biggest problems with smart homes so far have been related to security. Potential smart home owners have some legitimate concerns over the cyber vulnerabilities involved with getting in on the smart home trend. Before smart homes can go mainstream, many consumers are going to ask the question: are these homes worth the security risks? 

Ever-Evolving Features 

One one hand, smart home technology is very appealing—and will only become more appealing with time as the technology develops. Current smart home technology mostly supports fairly simple tasks, like controlling the lights or the television, but as technology integrates new artificial intelligence features, smart homes will be able to make our lives easier in myriad ways. ...


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The Skills and Knowledge You Need to Become a Data Scientist

The Skills and Knowledge You Need to Become a Data Scientist

Want to be part of the country’s hottest new field? Big data is helping businesses all over the world work smarter, not harder, and a lot of people are looking to get in on the action. If you’re one of them, then you’re probably wondering what kinds of skills and training you’ll need to land your dream job. Data scientists aren’t the only players in the big data field, but the position is very appealing for its high salary and interesting description. Is data scientist on your list? There’s a shortage of talent right now, so it’s a great time to jump in—but not everyone’s the right fit. Here are some of the most essential skills and traits you’ll need before starting the job hunt.

An Advanced Degree

Not all, but most, data scientists have degrees beyond a Bachelor’s. Most have at least a Master’s, and often, a PhD. This is due to the complex skills required to be successful in the role. Data scientists’ majors vary, but the most common are Mathematics and Statistics, Computer Science, and Engineering.

Algorithm & General Mathematics Knowledge

Big data is built on algorithms, and data scientists not only need to understand algorithms, they’ll need to be able to create and manipulate ...


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How to Control Crime with Big Data and Predictive Analytics

How to Control Crime with Big Data and Predictive Analytics

Law enforcement has many highly sophisticated tools available for helping to pin down those who commit crimes. Cyber criminals are more difficult to catch than those who commit theft and assault, and still more difficult is preventing crime before it happens. Big data is proving very useful for filling in these gaps in law enforcement technology, providing insights and detecting anomalies that can help officials reduce crime. Since the potential applications of big data in this field are extensive, let’s take a look at some of the ways the technology is already being used to help control crime.

Facial Recognition

In 2013, facial recognition software did not catch the Tsarnaev brothers following the Boston Marathon bombing. However, after the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015, the technology had become advanced enough to help officials find suspects in the case. The hope is that as facial recognition improves, it can be used to help prevent crime before it occurs, identifying individuals like known terrorists as they approach public places. Baltimore police are also using facial recognition in their work, comparing them with photos in the state’s vehicle records. At this time, it’s unclear as to how this is being used in law enforcement, ...


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Big Data: Breaking Down Inefficiency in Global Shipping

Big Data: Breaking Down Inefficiency in Global Shipping

Our food supply, our luxuries, and everything in between depends on global shipping. Shipping to your home used to be a big deal—if you wanted something sent to you, it was going to cost you a lot more than heading to the store to pick it up. Today, online shopping has made this struggle a thing of the past for consumers. Big retailers like Amazon offer free two-day shipping for subscribers, and most websites offer free shipping for orders over a certain spending threshold—some even offer free returns. Global shipping has increased immensely as well, particularly as many e-commerce sites choose drop shipping for distribution. With all this extra volume of packages going out to residential areas, shipping companies have been raking in the profit, and need to keep up with the speed demands of the public. How? As employee telecommuting continues to grow, big data is one of the tools companies are using to keep up. Let’s take a look at how big data is breaking down inefficiency in the shipping industry.

Container Efficiency

Large shipping containers also have a large downside: they’re heavy and difficult to maneuver. Packing them onto a cargo ship efficiently for a multi-stop journey is an ...


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Why Big Money and Big Data Win Elections

Why Big Money and Big Data Win Elections

Political campaigns are anything but simple. They’ve gotten even more complex over the years as industries lobby for their own interests by sending money to the candidates they believe will serve them best. While campaigns have used whatever data they could get their hands on in the past, the amount of specific information now available (thanks to big data) has been a boon to politicians hoping to target specific voters and gain new support. In 2016, all of the major players are using big data in their efforts to gain office. Here’s how analytics and money play a role in election outcomes. 

The Obama Campaign and the Shift Toward Analytics

TV advertising segments used to play an enormous role in American politics. While they’re still a tool that campaigns use to win voters and turn opinion against opponents, they’re less important than they used to be, and they’re more targeted—largely due to the popularity of big data. Using voter databases and information provided by voter surveys, the 2008 Obama campaign used big data successfully to win Iowa, a highly competitive primary state. It didn’t stop there—experts cite the Obama campaign’s use of big data and technology as a major factor in his ...


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How Data Scientists and Other Big Data Jobs Drive Economic Growth

How Data Scientists and Other Big Data Jobs Drive Economic Growth

Big data has done more than produce and collect massive amounts of data to help us solve problems in nearly every industry—it has also created a brand new field and new job opportunities for smart and ambitious people. Raw data isn’t useful unless it’s analyzed—and big data analysts are in high demand for the value they can bring to organizations. Because these positions are so new, it can be hard for businesses to find qualified candidates—and salaries are high. Talented data scientists are transforming the landscape of modern business, but their role is still evolving. What do data scientists do, and what is their role in economic growth?

What Do Data Scientists Do?

A data scientist is a person who has a knack for wading through large quantities of data collected by an organization, analyzing that data, and discovering patterns that are significant within the data’s context to shape business strategy. Data scientists today have the ability to code, crunch data, and to communicate with shareholders and executives—justifying their own position and providing business insights that can be implemented for greater efficiency or profit.

Data scientists aren’t the only key players in the big data field. Other support positions, such as big data ...


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How Millennials are Fueling Demand for Data-Driven Transportation

How Millennials are Fueling Demand for Data-Driven Transportation

There’s long been a myth that millennials don’t buy cars—a theory that has been slowly losing credibility over the past few years, as more young people begin to lease and purchase vehicles. In fact, automakers saw record sales in 2015, following several sluggish years of decline. The myth of the absent millennial car buyer was largely based on speculative theories, which just haven’t held up under scrutiny. However, there are differences in what millennials prioritize when it comes to transportation—and these attitudes will ultimately lead to increased demand for data-driven transportation, both in private vehicles and public transit. Here’s why:

Young Adults are Interested in Electric Cars

More automobile manufacturers are getting into the electric car business, and young adults are eager to get these new vehicles on the road. According to The Consumer Federation of America’s polls, 50% of participants 18-34 years old would consider buying an electric vehicle, and this age group showed the most interest in these vehicles of all participants. Aside from the obvious environmental angle and the cars’ lower maintenance costs, many electric cars are among the new wave of vehicles that integrate GPS, traffic tracking and analysis, and other technology that can sync with users’ other ...


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How to Create a Culture of Cyber Security in the Workplace

How to Create a Culture of Cyber Security in the Workplace

Cyber security is a growing concern that businesses big and small should be prioritizing within their companies as soon as possible. Data breaches are increasing every year, with hackers getting more and more sophisticated as security systems improve. Breaches are expensive, causing costs that often climb into the millions—and they can also cost companies their reputation and trust with clients and customers.

Concerned about cyber security? Aside from ensuring you have the basics of data security covered (encryption, backups, a breach response plan), you’ll also need to help your company develop a culture of cyber security in the workplace. 84% of executives believe that culture is critical to success, and having your team engaged with the security process will help keep sensitive data safe. We’ve pulled together some tips to help you achieve a culture of cyber security throughout your organization.

Recognition

The first step in creating a culture of cyber security is to give due recognition to the importance of protecting the company’s private data and preventing a breach. Preventative measures such as implementing encryption and protecting company mobile devices is a good start, but a written policy for cyber security and response protocols for a breach are essential as well. This ...


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Why The Cars of the Future Will Rely on the IoT

Why The Cars of the Future Will Rely on the IoT

Once, electric cars were a novelty: they couldn't go very far, and weren't a practical option for consumers. Fortunately, a lot has changed since those days, and electric vehicles are now much more accessible and high-tech than they were in the past. National Drive Electric Week aims to give even more drivers the tools they need to make a more sustainable option and consider an electric car. These cars of the future are an exciting development in reducing our oil dependency, but where are they headed?

The Evolution of the Electric Car and Their Benefits

Gas cars weren't always the norm, and in fact, they used to be much less popular than their electric counterparts. Back in the late 1800s, electric cars completely took over the market, and gas cars were much less popular. Unfortunately, there were some limitations at that time: each car had to be assembled by hand (while by 1910, gas-powered cars could be produced by assembly line) and the electrical infrastructure limited the vehicles to city-only driving. Gas cars, meanwhile, became safer and more convenient, so most production of electric cars quickly declined.

Later in the century, during the late 60s and early 70s, electric cars experienced a Renaissance, ...


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How Big Data is Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

How Big Data is Revolutionizing the Manufacturing Industry

Data collection and analysis are an integral part of our society, and are important activities we use to inform our decisions. Big data is no exception. Made up of extremely large sets of data that can be analyzed for trends and other information, big data is extremely useful and relevant when determining strategies and plans for communities and companies. In fact, it’s changing the face of many different industries—including manufacturing. Let’s take a look at how big data is revolutionizing the manufacturing industry.

Big Data’s Role in the Manufacturing Industry

“Made in the USA” is a proud label attached to goods manufactured on U.S. soil. While this label doesn’t necessarily assure good quality, most U.S. manufacturers are dedicated to producing well-made goods and paying workers fair wages. A recent report from Ohio University found that the manufacturing industry represents 12% of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP), and that these goods raked in $1.2 trillion from exports in 2013. American manufacturing is becoming stronger again, with a 30% increase in output since the end of the recession, and 54% of manufacturers considering bringing their production back from overseas.

Why is manufacturing experiencing such a positive surge in the United States? Part of it ...


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8 Things Your Company Needs to Know About Cyber Security

8 Things Your Company Needs to Know About Cyber Security

Understanding cyber-crime is an essential part of protecting valuable data, particularly when this data involves important business or organizational affairs. Cyber hackers have a variety of motives for hacking networks. Most often cyber hackers seek financial gain through bribes, identity fraud or credit card information. The attacks cost firms dearly as cyber criminals take sensitive information and sell in the deep web where crime is primarily hidden. To help protect data and stay alert against cyber attacks, business can institute solid network security protocols to keep information secure in both the present and future.

Cyber Attacks: An Introduction

Cisco engineer Paolo Passeri recently released a statistical analysis noting that data theft is responsible for nearly 80% of all unauthorized network attacks. Cyber security experts are often unsure of the methods that hackers leverage when infiltrating computer networks, but some of the most common are as follows:


Account hijacking, which occurs when a hacker breaks into a cloud-based service or database
SQLi attacks, which is when a cyber-criminal delivers malicious codes to take over a network database.
Distributed denial of Service Attacks (DDos), in which an automated program directs so many pirated computers to request a website that no one can reach the page.
Malvertising, which looks ...


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How IoT is Effecting the Future of 5G

How IoT is Effecting the Future of 5G

According to data from Gartner, there will be 6.4 billion connected "things" by the end of 2016, and this figure will rise to 20.8 billion by 2020. These "things" are essentially Internet-connected devices including cars, fridges, washing machines, home security systems, and wearable technology, as well as health and physical activity trackers. Additionally, the IoT industry could generate $4.6 trillion for the public sector and $14.4 trillion for the private sector over the next ten years. This is according to research done by Cisco Systems.

How the Telecommunication Network Works

The telecommunication network consists of a web of base stations that cover a limited area (cell) and transmit mobile phone communications via radio waves. As such, for you to make a call or send a digital message using your mobile phone, you must be within the coverage area of your carrier's base station. Since one base station can only cover a limited area, mobile carriers typically install many base stations with overlapping coverage areas to avoid signal loss and dropped calls. Most of these cells are normally concentrated in densely populated areas such as urban centers. It is worth noting that each base station consists of wireless antennas that can transmit voice ...


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5 Best Practices to Avoid Data Breaches in the Healthcare Industry

5 Best Practices to Avoid Data Breaches in the Healthcare Industry

Data breaches are common and can occur at almost every type of organization or company, but they are particularly troublesome and widespread in the healthcare industry. Patients’ sensitive medical records are constantly at risk, whether the organization is large or small, affecting individuals at every level of data breach.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services maintains an online database of healthcare breaches affecting over 500 individuals, but many smaller breaches occur each year as well. According to Forbes, over 112 million records were compromised by data breaches in 2015 alone—and 90% of the top ten breaches were related to hacking or IT incidents.

The average cost of a breach continues to rise, and in 2014, that average stood at $5.9 million. With the high prevalence of cybercrime still rising, the healthcare industry must take steps to reduce the number and impact of data breaches, which lead to the compromise of sensitive data and financial consequences. Healthcare organizations should follow cyber security best practices to minimize the risk of a breach. These steps include:

1. Educating Employees on Security Risks

Healthcare organizations may have stellar employees, but human error can always lead to security issues. Proper training on regulations, security protocols—and support for ...


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