Big data solutions: 5 use cases that have changed the world

08/09/2023 | Santander Universidades

Have you ever felt that advertising is following you around? One day you search for some trainers on Google, and the next day the same ad keeps popping up on every banner of whichever social media or website you visit. 

Even if you're not really sure what big data solutions are, this technology is right there beside you on a daily basis: from that TV series recommended by a streaming platform to the real-time map that shows you if there have been any accidents.

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What are big data solutions?

Big data solutions are a vast collection of datasets from a wide variety of sources, which are available in increasing volumes at an ever-faster rate.

These data can stem from multiple sources: social media, facilitated by IoT sensors (Internet of Things), gathered by companies from information they collect, etc. 

The volume of data generated in an increasingly digitally-interconnected world grows exponentially by the day. There are two main types of data:

  • Structured data: these are data with a well-defined length and format, such as a number (e.g., how many people enter a shop as counted by an entry sensor), a date (e.g. on which days e-commerces see increased sales), etc.
  • Non-structured data: including data that cannot be registered as a structure, for example, the images from a security camera, or the comments that are posted on a company's social media profile.

The benefits of understanding what big data solutions are all about

Given this vast amount of information, learning to exploit the macro-data has become one of the biggest challenges facing companies of today, since the proper gathering and, above all, analysis of the data offers a sharp competitive edge. 

For example, when big data solutions are fully understood and therefore properly utilised, an organisation will be able to correctly identify its customers' behaviour, prevent machinery failures, or make decisions on well-documented historical data. As shown in the article The Leap to Augmented Analytics, it's all about incorporating an approach in the companies that allows for an “interpretation of all of the knowledge provided by the hundreds of thousands of data inputs that pour in." 

Companies know as much and are investing their efforts in this area. That's why it comes as no surprise that the percentage of companies investing more than $50 million annually into big data and artificial intelligence has grown from 39.7% in 2018 to 64.8% in 2020, according to the Big Data and AI Executive Survey, by NewVantage Partners (2020). 

Moreover, according to another report by Fortune Business Insights, big data revenues are set to grow from $307.52 billion in 2023 worldwide to $745.15 billion by 2030

In parallel with this business interest in big data solutions, the demand for professionals specialised in data analysis is also booming. As a result, big data experts have become one of the most sought-after roles with the best prospects for the future.


How are big data solutions put to use?

With specialised training in big data solutions and machine learning, you can make your resume stand out from the crowd, essential in the intensive recruitment processes to select the best professionals at any type of company. 

Nowadays, big data solutions are an indispensable element of a company's day-to-day. Hence, there are numerous examples of its current application in different fields

  • Health: apps vs Covid-19. Throughout the pandemic, big data solutions were harnessed to fight against coronavirus globally. For example, data analysis and creating algorithms have facilitated the identification of infected people in real time, with the creation of tracking apps, making well-founded predictions of patient influx, or calculating the increased pressure put on medical centres. 
  • Retail: Amazon. The American giant's philosophy is all about understanding customer buying behaviour in order to offer tailored products. So how does it do it? Through big data solutions — specifically the Amazon Elastic MapReduce Platform for Machine Learning software. Amazon stores all information on the search history, purchases, returns, ratings and comments of its users. 
  • Entertainment: Netflix. Like Amazon, this popular streaming platform collects all of its users' information, in this case, with the aim of creating a “perfect” programme offering for each person. Such measures improve user satisfaction and loyalty, and even allows the site to plan future film and TV projects with a high chance of success, since they are based on their consumers' likes. 
  • Product launches: Coca-Cola. Have you tried Cherry Coke? In Spain, this variety of soft drink failed to find its feet, but in the United States it's a major success story. Coca-Cola uses all of the information on how well its new products are received to target sales to specific markets. To do this, it uses data from vending machines, as well as public interaction on social media. Thanks to this analysis, the company can plan international marketing campaigns with a high approval rating. 
  • Transportation: Avis. Logistics and transportation was one of the first sectors to which big data solutions were applied. Using data on volume, weight, availability of resources, improved routes, rest-time, number and, in this case, type of users, etc., this industry has been able to exponentially automate and optimise its processes. One success story is Avis. The car rental company uses the information it obtains from drivers to build customer loyalty, design better pick-up itineraries, adjust prices according to the needs of its users or forecast at what times there will be higher or lower demand for cars. 


As you can see, the possibilities offered by data analysis are already being implemented in all fields of business, and there is still much more to be discovered and applied. 

Want to acquire Big Data solutions proficiency? As part of this aim to boost employability and likewise help people to progress, overcome the challenges of the 4th industrial revolution, and grow in an inclusive and sustainable way, Banco Santander is committed to three key concepts: lifelong learning, reskilling and upskilling. To support this commitment, it has created the Santander Open Academy website, a unique and pioneering global programme. 

If you would like to keep growing personally and professionally, head over to the Santander Open Academy website, where you'll find 100s of opportunities to train together with internationally renowned institutions. Access training in technology, languages, research, investigation, soft skills, internships and female leadership, which will help you to improve your employability or refocus your career.


Do you want to become a lifelong learner and increase your job opportunities? The Santander Open Academy website has plenty of options to help you achieve your goals. Check out the website and remember: you can sign up for as many courses as you like. Make the most of this opportunity!

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