From Business Intelligence to Personal Intelligence

December 21, 2010
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MC9004348593 150x150 photo (data analytics)

We all know that analyzing data can help us make better decisions at work. So what if we put the same principles to use at home? Why not use data to help us make decisions about how we lead our daily lives?

MC9004348593 150x150 photo (data analytics)

We all know that analyzing data can help us make better decisions at work. So what if we put the same principles to use at home? Why not use data to help us make decisions about how we lead our daily lives?

The New York Times Magazine calls it a “data driven life.” If you want to measure and analyze data about the way you live, there are innumerable devices, websites and software programs that can help you put some quantitative measurement into your daily diet. You can wear a small device called Fitbit to help determine if you’re getting the kind of quality sleep you need and to measure the calories you ingest and the physical movements you make. If you’re a runner, you can map your route, measure your heart rate and track your progress with a GPS device that even includes a “virtual running mate” to help you keep pace. 

If you want to do more than just measure yourself, you can help the environment too. Cyclists can soon use the Copenhagen Wheel, a project from MIT that not only measures the effort you expend while cycling but also transmits GPS coordinates with measurements of air pollution, noise level, humidity and temperature to a central database. Not a cyclist? Intel is testing tiny devices that will monitor air quality automatically from your smartphone.

If you don’t want to use a device, let your PC do the work for you. Track your productivity with RescueTime — free software that monitors how you spend your computer time and displays a productivity dashboard. It will even let you block unproductive sites so you can get some real work done. Or just go to the Internet. There are sites where you can track your weight, your mood, your exercise program, your blood sugar, your drinking habits, and just about anything else that you can measure. If you’re really adventurous, you can apply data analytics to your love life with data-driven dating.

Using data analytics to make informed decisions isn’t just for business anymore. Now you can apply the same principles you use at work to measure yourself and make decisions about your personal life and even publish an annual report for others to read!

Steve McDonnell
Spotfire Blogging Team

Image Credit: Microsoft Office Clip Art