Impact of Data and Analytics in 2021

We’re at the end of another year. Looking back, the last two years have truly changed the way the world functions, and digital transformation has been a keystone to understanding this.  

Data analytics has been having its time under the spotlight. It has changed from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’ in a lot of scenarios.  As this chapter closes, let’s look at the biggest data analytics wins of 2021. 

 

Healthcare and COVID-19

Data analytics has played a crucial role in how institutions handle the pandemic. Governments and medical institutions made use of dashboards to keep track of information and coordinate efforts to combat COVID-19. 

Data analytics allowed for geographical mapping where outbreaks could be mapped to help test for positivity as well as solve logistical issues such as testing, treatment, and food insecurity, etc. It was used to predict spikes more accurately in a small window of time by creating models based on community mobility patterns as well as monitoring inventory such as PPE kits in various locations. We also saw its use in screening healthcare workers and ensuring that there was adequate staff available, which served to be vital as healthcare workers were contracting the infection rapidly. Institutions also made use of AI-driven chatbots to respond to questions from people asking about whether they needed to get tested for COVID-19 and where to get tested, thus decreasing the volume of calls that were overwhelming hospitals. 

Outside of the pandemic too, we have seen the potential of data analytics in the healthcare sector.  According to a report by the Society of Actuaries, 47% of healthcare organizations already use predictive analytics and 57% of organizations predict that it will save 25% or more in annual costs in the coming 5 years.   

Research for curing cancer and aging has seen a lot of money and talent directed its way and now scientists are making use of AI to comb through DNA records, patient records, and research materials to make useful connections and even come up with new medication. In fact, big data helped in identifying Desipramine, an anti-depressant, as helpful against lung cancer. It is a boon not only to the R&D side of the medical profession but can also help in improving staffing in medical facilities, storing and processing of electronic health records, and providing real-time alerts of the patient’s health status. IBM has predicted a 20% decrease in patient mortality due to the integration of big data into healthcare. 

 

Sports and Event Planning

Sports is expected to undergo a huge digital transformation in the coming years as we see AI and IoT come to prominence. According to a report from Research and Markets, the sports analytics industry is expected to reach $3.4 billion by 2028. 

For sports viewers, sports channels now provide you with a live feed of statistics as the competition plays out before your eyes. This makes it a great way for the casual sports viewer to feel informed even without the commentary by live casters. 

Using big data, video recognition and IoT, an expansive database for each player can be created. One such technology is the 3D Athlete Tracking Technology which combines deep learning algorithms and computer-visions to create 3D visualizations of the athletes in action. It produces a digital model of the athlete’s performance by using the biomechanical data obtained from it. There’s also technology tracking the relationship between performance, nutrition, sleep, and various other factors like temperature. All this information in the hands of the coach and athlete leads to a better understanding and thus, improvement of their performances. 

Using big data, video recognition and IoT, an expansive database for each player can be created. One such technology is the 3D Athlete Tracking Technology which combines deep learning algorithms and computer-visions to create 3D visualizations of the athletes in action. It produces a digital model of the athlete’s performance by using the biomechanical data obtained from it. There’s also technology tracking the relationship between performance, nutrition, sleep, and various other factors like temperature. All this information in the hands of the coach and athlete leads to a better understanding and thus, improvement of their performances. 

 

Digital Government

The concept of the ‘city’ is transforming with the increasing population and connectivity between localities. We are seeing a shift towards the idea of ‘Smart Government’ which can be defined as “the management of business processes related to government and administration with the help of intelligently networked information and communication technologies “. There has been an explosion of demand for digital services and government applications are starting to look more like consumer apps with AI and machine learning integrated into recommendation engines, with citizen experience valued overall.

From an operational perspective, McKinsey estimated that governments globally stand to capture $1 trillion just by using data analytics to improve their revenue collection and cut waste. There is a lot of data going to waste as they sit in separate silos at various levels and departments waiting for it to be mined and integrated into data warehouses and data lakes. 

Industrial Age governance that has ruled the public sector for a decade has been a hindrance to digital transformation. However, COVID-19 being a huge disrupting force in the world and the mounting pressure on the healthcare sector has ushered in the need for data analytics and accelerated the digitalization of the public sector.  Leaders and governments are becoming more receptive to change, as this technology also becomes easier and more accessible to the average user.  

We see the use of AI chatbots to answer citizen questions, the use of AI and automation to distribute direct payments to workers, the usage of data analytics to connect criminal activities and patterns to crime hotspots, and more. It is quite unlikely that the influence of data analytics will recede. 

For example, 79% of government officials state that automation is making a significant positive impact on their business. Cincinnati city, in its efforts to boost process improvements, reported a $6.1 million positive fiscal impact in its first two years of using data analytics. 

However, we are barely scratching the surface of how data analytics can be used by the public sector. As the public sector continues to move towards digitization, there is no doubt that we will see more interesting and innovative uses of data analytics. 

 

Conclusion

As we can see, data analytics has been a prominent force in 2021 and will sustain its momentum in the coming years. As this technology becomes more sophisticated while simultaneously more accessible, we will continue to see more and more promising applications of it all over the world.