President Barack Obama is bullish on big data, announcing last March the "Big Data Research and Development Initiative," along with a $200 million investment in R&D efforts related to the technology.
But while the implications of big data on government are just starting to be felt, the 2012 presidential election gave us a sneak peek. According to Siddharth Taparia, senior director of Portfolio and Strategic Marketing at SAP, last year's race for the White House between Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney was fueled largely by big data technologies. Specifically, massive amounts of voter data from phone calls and surveys, coupled with top-notch analytical engines, allowed the candidates to "micro-target" the individual voters that were most likely going to vote in their favor.
Taparia said this micro-targeting approach "upended traditional methods of running campaigns," which were based on estimates from smaller samples of voter data.