Analytics used by everyone from rock bands to municipal departments

It is no longer news at this point to say that there is a wide multitude of uses for big data and analytics. At the same time, however, some of the latest applications for business intelligence and analytics tools are truly novel and groundbreaking, and serve as evidence of how such platforms can only continue to be found more useful – to more businesses and people – as time goes on. Those in the business world who have not yet been entirely convinced of the great value that BI software and analytics tools can have would do well to check out these latest examples and see what they can learn from them.

Hard rock pioneers plan tour itinerary with analytics data
Iron Maiden is considered to be one of the founding architects of hard rock and heavy metal, due to enduring classics such as "Run To The Hills" and "Number Of The Beast." The U.K. band recently found an intriguing use for data that came from a surprising source – online music piracy.

For many musicians, piracy is a major impediment to their ability to sell their music. However, Iron Maiden and its management used big data sourced from areas where the band's music was illegally downloaded to figure out where the most interest in it lies.

According to Rolling Stone, much of it has turned out to be in Central and South America, so Iron Maiden has chosen to tour heavily there. This has led to significant revenue – for example, the band's latest show in Sao Paolo, Brazil, took in $2.5 million. Gary Mead, CEO of the company MusicMetric, which Maiden worked with, commented favorably on this.

"Maiden have been rather successful in turning free-file-sharing into fee-paying fans," Mead told the source. "If you engage with fans, there is a chance to turn a percentage into paying customers."

Sacramento utilities use geospatial analytics
The Sacramento Municipal Utility District is tasked with monitoring smart grid, outage, fire and weather systems, which serve 1.4 million people and as such involve a great deal of data. According to Utility Products, the SMUD recently adopted geospatial and visual analytics to add efficiency to its operations.

Due to these tools, the department can easily gather and aggregate historical and real-time information from weather reports, emergency systems, smart meters and many other sources. This allows it to analyze the grid quickly and provide better service. It can also assist with neighborhood grid design, customer demographic analysis, transformer loading and a great deal more.

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