Harvesting Data

I’m constantly reading online tech publications and ogling over new gadgets, like the one that will let me control my locks at home from my iPhone or the one that will allow me to hold all my credit cards in one. And just today while reading FastCompany I came across a new device that, while maybe totally unrelated to my life and a little less tech-geek-chic, I thought it was a great example of novel ways in which all kinds of businesses are collecting data from places that many of us don’t imagine to be very “plugged in”.

It is called the Silent Herdsman, and it is a sensor that cows wear to monitor their body temperature to help predict when they come into heat. Why do farmers care? Well if farmers can accurately tell when their cows are in heat, they can increase the probability of getting these cows pregnant. Cows only produce milk for 7 months after giving birth, so it is important for dairy farmers to keep this cycle going so their production is maximized. So essentially this allows the farmer to keep production high and remove some of the guessing out of the game. Perhaps this device could also evolve to detect illness in livestock, or even disease.

So what’s the point? Why is this relevant to Marketing, Research, or Data Science? The point is, data exists in every facet of our lives - and our customers’ lives - not just in the obvious places (the internet, our phones…). This data is just waiting to be harvested and can improve our efficiency and effectiveness in all kinds of environments, from the boardroom all the way to the barn. And that’s no bull.