The end of a year always brings the inevitable flood of lists. Best of 2012 lists. Worst of 2012 lists. Influential songs, YouTube videos, even people that sum up the year in review, like Lady Gaga or Barack Obama. These lists stick to politics and pop culture for the most part and rarely does a little topic like analytics come into play – but it should.

As we look back at 2012 and ahead to 2013, we can see a shift to big data as a mainstream topic. Just seeing it pop up like a regular household name in mass media like the New York Times, shows the level Big Data is seeping into our everyday view of the world.  NPR contributor, Geoff Nunberg, released an article before the New Year on why “Big Data” should be the word of the year to sum up 2012. That can be taken one step further to surmise that 2013 will be another “Year of Big Data.”

Analytics has done wonders for business, small and large, but we sometimes forget the role it has played in benefiting the everyday consumer. Improvements in medical research, crime data, credit card fraud detection and more can all be attributed, in part, to the use of Big Data and analytics.

In his article, Nunberg called out similar “everyday” instances where Big Data has played a pivotal role,

“Epidemiologists watch for blips in Google queries to localize flu outbreaks; economists use them to spot shifts in consumer confidence. Police analytics comb over crime data looking for hot zones; security agencies comb over travel and credit card records looking for possible terrorists.”

And of course, we can’t forget about the 2012 presidential election, which we blogged about back in November. It was one of the first elections to utilize Big Data to its fullest extent, changing the campaigning landscape for generations of politicians, and constituents, to come. Nunberg said of the election,

“The Republicans may have had more money, but the Obama campaign had better voter data and analytics. That gave them an edge in identifying likely supporters and finding the best ways to reach what they call “low-information” independents — which turned out to include running ads on Jimmy Kimmel and the rerun cable network TV Land. And it was Big Data analytics that Nate Silver used to correctly predict the election outcome in all 50 states, skunking the pundits in the process.”

We’ve seen Big Data appear in all facets of our lives. We no longer look at events like elections, issues like disease, holidays like Black Friday, and so much more the same, all because of Big Data.

Do you think Big Data is the “Word of 2012” or 2013? Let us know in the comments below. As always, if you have any questions about Big Data or how we have used Big Data solutions to help our customers solve big challenges, drop us a note and we’ll get back to you!