From monitoring palm oil plantations to cutting energy use in data centres, Ellen R Delisio looks at how companies used IT to get a shop-floor view of their operations in 2016

While businesses have long used big data analytics to improve marketing and sales, 2016 saw an increasing use of big data analysis to manage issues in supply chains.

Data is growing globally at a rate of about 59% a year, and arriving faster, in larger quantities and covering more topics than ever before. Aiding the data flow is an anticipated growth in the number of satellites, now that Nasa and a handful of countries are not the only ones capable of launching them.

Big data has also become less exotic. Corporations are exploring how to use it to create products and services and are developing resources they need to apply it. Walmart, for example, collects and manages 2.5 petabytes, or 10 bytes, of data within an hour of a customer’s purchases.

In 2016, more companies have been focusing on putting big data to work with practices proven to generate return on investment through gains in productivity and revenue as well as decreased risk.

A survey of almost 1,200 professionals worldwide conducted by DNV GL this year indicated that 65% see big data playing a major role in the future of their companies and 76% expect to maintain or increase investments in big data.

But...

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supply chain  Big data  Global Forest Watch 

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