As much as we may want to deny it, summer has come to an end. So as the leaves turn and the weather begins to cool, here’s a look back at the hottest data stories of the summer in our Summer Data Roundup.
Summer By the Numbers
Decline in how many people watched the Rio Olympic opening ceremonies versus 2012’s London games.
7.9 Zettabytes (7.9 trillion gigabytes)
The amount of data created around the world during 2015. That number is expected to reach 35 zettabytes in 2020.
How much Alphabet Inc.’s Google spent to buy predictive-analytics company Apigee Corp this month.
How many times the popular mobile game Pokémon Go was downloaded during its first week, according to app marketing firm Sensor Tower.
Percent of hospital executives that believe healthcare can be improved through the use of predictive analytics, according to a survey of 136 health professionals conducted last month by Health Catalyst, a data warehouse, analytics and outcomes vendor.
Data in the Summer’s Hottest Topics
The countdown to the 2016 election is almost in its final month. While we reported in the last election news roundup that Trump’s campaign was eschewing Big Data, its new app shows that is finally changing. But Trump’s campaign now seems to be going to the other extreme, with privacy experts concerned about how much data the Trump app collects, which includes not only the data of everyone who downloads it, but also everyone on their contacts list. In other Trump news, data scientists have been analyzing his famously off-the-cuff tweets, and have found linguistic patterns that may point to when the candidate is composing his own tweets, and when a campaign staffer is doing so. And with the newly-launched Trump Twitter Archive, you can search through the candidates tweets and analyze them for yourself.
The 2016 Rio Summer Olympics drew millions of viewers and had many exciting moments, like the continued dominance of the U.S. Women’s gymnastics team. But for data, the hot story was the U.S. Women’s cycling team. The team partnered with IBM to access real-time data about their performances. Though this information had been available for years, it was slow and unwieldy to analyze, meaning that the athletes lost out on vital data right when they needed it. IBM used a special smartphone attached to the back of each bike to perform the analysis almost instantly, giving the team access to the information in real time. The U.S. Women’s cycling team may have lost the gold medal to Britain (they took home the silver), but they were certainly number one in their use of innovative new technologies that we’ll be seeing more of in the future.
What’s Next: Data Stories to Watch
As school starts up again, many high school juniors and seniors are starting to focus on the grind and stress of college applications. The college prep industry, which is valued around $861 million, is starting to eye Big Data as the next avenue for getting their students into the most competitive schools. Cialfo, a Singapore-based college prep course, combines standard tutoring with data analytics to crack the admissions code for some of the top schools. The company has created an algorithm tailored to each individual student that comes up with a shortlist of colleges that best fit their chances of getting in. And once they do get in, colleges that are invested in keeping them there can also use data to improve their retention rates. Hobsons, a U.S. recently acquired a Predictive Analytics Reporting Framework designed to use personalized data to improve students’ educational outcomes and retention rates.
In sports and analytics news, the NBA is hosting a Basketball Analytics Hackathon for college students in New York City. The Hackathon is designed for graduate and undergraduate students in engineering, statistics, and data science to compete for who can discover the best solutions to common problems in basketball analytics. Teams will get a single, as yet unrevealed problem, and their solutions will be judged by a panel of judges, with the winning team getting a package of NBA prizes, including free tickets to a game of their choice.
A new book called Dear Data is the result of a yearlong correspondence project, where two friends send weekly postcards detailing how data impacts their everyday lives. The handwritten postcards contain beautiful drawings of everything from graphs of how their moods change throughout a single day to the winding paths they take on public transportation over a week. And while data visualizations may seem like a product of our computer age, ZDNet has a wonderful blog post on how people were visualizing data back in 1870, including maps, population graphs, and a chart of churchgoers by religious denomination. You can see even more visualizations at the Library of Congress’ website.
To keep reading, you can find our comprehensive guide to election data here.