We are living in the Information Age. Thanks to the digital revolution, information is readily available for us humans to make use of. And now, as the science of computers gets more sophisticated, the scientists behind it are getting more creative with how to make that information, or data, work for us. Let’s see how data serves as a trusted sidekick throughout our day:
Like Snoop Dogg, you’ve got your mind on your money and your money on your mind. With the day ahead of you, you log on to mint.com your account to check how you’ve been spending your money. According to mint.com, you’ve still got a way’s to go before you hit your budget. Since it’s the end of the month, you can treat yourself to a little fun when you get outta work!
How this helps: Mint.com makes it so you see exactly where you stand with your expenses. It tells you where your resources are going and how much you have left to spend.
Before heading out, you check the traffic on Google Maps to see best route to take. In, 2011 government required all cell phones to have GPS so triangulation between your phone and cell phone tower pinpoints your phone. The traffic map you see is real-time display of (Google-powered) Android phones taking that route. Google is constantly checking their information catalogue and computing which route is best for you. It also gives you route options for whether your walking, taking public transit, looking to avoid toll roads, etc.
How this helps: So you can know about and avoid traffic before getting stuck in it. When you see that there’s a delay in your morning commute, you decide to strap on the Nike FuelBand and walk to work.
To keep up with your fitness goals, you have a wearable step tracker. This stores the information from your daily movements and reports back to you at the end of the day on how much you moved around, your heart rate, etc. Similar to setting a budget on Mint.com, products like Nike FuelBand and Fitbit help you reach your goals by showing you exactly how much more you have to go to close the gap.
How this helps: Self-quantifying holds a mirror up to your everyday activities. By knowing where you stand, you can have a better shot at getting to where you want to be.
It’s time for lunch and you don’t have time to leave the office. Grub hub is an online food delivery company that helps you find the food you want to eat based on proximity of restaurant, how others have rated it, and what you’ve ordered in the past. That’s big data at work that makes all your taste buds happy.
How this helps: Instead of doing a Google search for food near your area and manually filtering your choices, this app filters your choices for you, saving you time.
With all the time you saved at lunch, you’ve gotten enough work done to warrant some quality online shopping time. When you log on to Zappos.com to spend some of your discretionary funds, the site gives you recommendations on stuff you might like. We see this on Amazon. We see this on receipts at Barnes & Noble. Based on what you’ve clicked on and/or purchased in the past, retailers can tailor the way they market to you. Zappos takes it one step further with their PinPointing feature, which gives recommendations based on the user’s Pinterest activity.
How this helps: It’s a shortcut to the stuff that you like.
It’s time for dinner and you’re looking for somewhere nice to treat yourself and a friend. OpenTable gives you real time status on the open tables at upscale restaurants in your area. Results are based on parameters like times, dates, cuisine and price range.
You’ve had so much fun that you’re going to treat yourself to some room service at a nice hotel. For your spontaneous hotel room booking, you hit your Hotel Tonight app. Hotel Tonight is a service that helps hotels sell their open rooms for that night. The last minute beauty of it all is that you’re getting last minute deals.
How these last three help: Like Grubhub and Google maps companies and services that make sense of this information for us make our lives more efficient. You could spend your time calling different restaurants, hotels, or cab companies until you found a good match, or you could download these data-crunching apps that do all that tedious stuff for you.