You hear the words a lot: big data analytics, the Internet of Things, mobile-first development, personalization. This slideshow brings those and other tech innovations to life, with 20 real-world projects from companies on the 2015 InformationWeek Elite 100 ranking.
In analytics, ConocoPhillips is using data to analyze how to most efficiently use new hydraulic fracturing techniques, and that work is helping tap new energy resources.
In mobile, companies are using smartphones to build ongoing relationships with their customers. FedEx is using text messages to let customers in Europe know a package is coming -- raising the rate of first-time deliveries, lowering FedEx's costs, and making recipients happy. Allstate, meanwhile, has put the monitoring of driving habits into a smartphone app, and one-third of new customers are opting to use the service.
Companies are using emerging technologies to change the kinds of services they can sell. Royal Caribbean is using a new, low-orbiting satellite system to offer, in the middle of the sea, the same kind of high-speed and low-latency Internet access that people get onshore -- and at a much lower cost than has been available at sea before. Black & Veatch, an engineering firm, is testing the use of drones for cellular tower inspections, instead of having two-person crews scale the structures.
The public sector is taking part as well. The Brooklyn Public Library system is putting data visualization in the hands of staff to help them fine-tune their decisions on what materials to stock. The MetroHealth System in Cleveland worked with Cuyahoga County to digitize inmates' health records and create video doctor-visit capabilities, reducing the cost and risk of moving prisoners for medical care.
On the following pages, you'll see specific examples of digital innovators from real estate to biotech to hotels to automotive. No matter what your industry, these 20 fresh ideas can help fuel your next brainstorming session.