I am getting to hate the term but appear to be being dragged into the 'Big Data' foray. Everyone seems to be rabbiting on about it so though I may as well have a go too.
I'm running the risk of letting the cat out of the bag here as myself and a colleague Howard Parkinson (contact site http://www.railsystems.org) are in the process of writing a couple of papers on the subject. Both papers have a focus on its use in the management of safety within the rail industry.
The idea is to investigate how 'Big Data' and it's sidekick 'Analytics' can be used to help prevent accidents.
One thorny issue which has come up right at the start relates to the collection of personal data. We have generated a safety data taxonomy - business, operational, asset, social, personal etc, as part of the study. Of course safety management has a focus on the people and a large fraction of accidents are caused by - people. So, our study may be a short one if the data that matters for the 'analytics bit' is driven by staff related information. Not sure the rail industry is ready for that one with all its security and privacy issues.
We shall see - more later ......