The concept of "big data" has been circulating around the world for years now, though many may still not know exactly how it works or what it is. However, while small business leaders may not understand the technology that collects and analyzes data about hundreds of different concepts, simply seeing how it can be applied in the real world may lead to newfound interest in its benefits.

For instance, VentureBeat reports that IBM will soon announce a new big data strategy, in which the company can help mining companies better predict the remaining life of their equipment and when it might fail. Using real-time analytics collected from a variety of equipment sensors and operational data, IBM may be able to save users as much as billions of dollars per year.

In many industries, namely mining, sensors can collect and broadcast wide varieties of different data on the equipment they're attached to, allowing for a more accurate evaluation of equipment usage. With IBM's real-time analytics, which will gather information on truck load bearings, environmental conditions, fuel consumption and more, these companies will have a more accurate idea of exactly how long their equipment will last.

More real-world applications fight drought
Computerworld adds that big data is also being used for real-world application in California, where the East Bay Municipal Utility District is using the analytics to ensure that water is used properly during a drought. About 10,000 of the agency's 650,000 customers had real-time tracking of their resource usage, and households that used more than the average level of water consumption in the region received messages asking them to reduce their consumption.

These reports led to a reduction of water usage of as much as 5 percent, as they caused users to change their water consumption methods. Such a reporting system was said to "go a long way" by the news source to help California as a whole meet a water reduction goal of nearly 20 percent in the near future.

With such varied approaches and applications of the technology, almost any business will be able to imagine a new strategy that can improve their overall functionality and profitability with the mere application of big data.

IT and tech industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in information technology equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.