Analytics in Daily Lives
By Soumyadip Pal
Would you be surprised if I said that you use analytics heavily in your everyday life? Perhaps, you use it much more for non-work purposes, than for your professional reasons. Did I hear a sigh of disbelief? Not so soon; let me elaborate.
I’m sure all of us have come across that one annoyingly confusing spelling - perhaps, ‘maintenance’ confuses you - is it like ‘maintain’, as in ‘maintainance’? Is ‘attendance’ spelled with an ‘e’ or with an ‘a’? How do you check the spelling in a pinch? Fire up Google Search and start typing the word. In less than a second, Google would helpfully display the correct spelling to you.
When you want to buy something on Amazon, and begin to browse, Amazon would fill the home page with suggestion about things that you may be interested in. I’ve discovered many nice items that I’d missed while browsing, through the suggestions. Think of this as a beneficial thing in two ways - one, it helps you discover more; two, if you like what you find, you’re actually help the big computers at Amazon learn to become more helpful to others. Doing good can’t get easier now, can it?
Similar suggestion wizardry goes on at YouTube, Netflix, and countless other web-services as well.
2016 will probably be remembered as - among many other things - the year when wearables became mainstream. With wearable fitness devices becoming really inexpensive, many hopped on to the step-measuring bandwagon. If you’ve one around your wrist right now, you know the importance of maintaining your weekly average step count. If you had a busy, sedentary day, you know exactly how much more active must you be the next day to get your step-count average to hit your target. Not just steps, even sleep - broken down into light and deep sleep cycle - is not free from the tyranny of being measured. Sleep tracking science is now more analytically oriented than most of us imagine. Sleep monitors and apps can help you determine what time should you wake up if you go to bed at a certain time, and conversely, at what time must you fall asleep if you must wake up at a certain time.
With so much being measured, undoubtedly many more aspects of our life would continue to get enriched with help from data. Right now, my wearable device is buzzing to alert me to the fact that I have been desk bound for the last 90 minutes and I must take a walk.
About the Author
Soumyadip Pal is a retail analytics professional and a passionate educator with more than 8 years in the industry and more than 7 years in the academia, currently working as a consultant with Manipal Prolearn.