Predictive analytics is a branch of data analysis that uses historical trends, statistics and facts to help predict and even pre-empt future trends or problems ahead of time. Although the idea of using past events to predict and change the future may seem like a flimsy sci-fi premise, it is very much a genuine science and is used by a variety of businesses and industries to help develop products, drugs and services early so that they’re ready for when they’re needed. If you’re still sceptical about the power of predictive analytics, take a look at these amazing examples of how it’s being used to help prepare for real-life emergencies…
Global viral forecasting
Global viral forecasting is a means of using analytics to predict viral trends ahead of time, acting to prevent their spread rather than reacting to an outbreak that has already occurred. GVF uses a variety of sources including anthropological research and social media trends to build a reliable data sample that can be used to analyse where and when viruses will propagate. HIV and AIDS have been devastating human populations for over 30 years, claiming almost 2 million lives since their discovery in 1981. In all that time, we have been unable to come up with a workable vaccine despite many advances. A preventative approach to viral management looks to be a far more workable solution in the future.
Predicting natural disasters
Software developer IBM claims to have patented a system that acts as an early warning system for natural disasters. The system uses detailed analytics to help to direct emergency services to the most needed areas, and even to predict subsequent seismic events, such as aftershocks and tsunamis. The Indonesian Boxing Day earthquake of 2004, which registered between 9.1 and 9.3 on the Richter scale and originated deep on the ocean floor, triggered a tsunami that rose to upwards of 80ft and devastated large parts of Southeast Asia, claiming countless victims. It is hoped that IBM’s new system can use analytics to predict tsunamis that may form in the aftermath of a large earthquake, warning people of its progress and potentially saving many lives.
Pandemic path prediction
Over the past few years, we’ve had a number of mercifully abortive pandemic scares grip the nation, with swine flu, bird flu and SARS causing more fear and panic than cost to human lives. These examples do, however, hint at our collective unpreparedness for if a true pandemic were to hit. Instead of crossing our fingers and hoping that the worst won’t occur, professors at Georgia Tech in Atlanta, Georgia, have been developing a model to help predict the path a potential pandemic would take if it were to get out of control. The model will considerably streamline the distribution of aid and resources in the event of a pandemic, potentially saving many lives and preventing the disease from spreading further.
All of these applications show how analytics can be used to foresee devastating future events and help to save lives. At any level, analytics are only as good as the data they utilise, so ensure that your data capture needs are met with one of our bespoke solutions.