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High above us all, the world’s largest network of global imaging satellites is being deployed.

Planet Labs, the company behind this 100-strong (and counting) fleet of microsatellites, has a single target in mind for their groundbreaking (atmosphere breaking?) new network: global analytics.

Yes, analytics is becoming such a driving force in business that it’s funding the deployment of new satellites. #mindblown

In fact, thanks to a partnership between Planet Labs’ and New Mexico-based Descartes Labs, Bloomberg is reporting that corn production in the U. S. will be 2.8 percent below government estimates this year. That’s a difference of 346 million bushels.

Imagine being able to detect, analyze, and act on these trends and events as they develop. Actually, you don’t really have to imagine it, because that’s exactly what today’s powerful analytics tools can do for your business.

Let’s use Planet Labs as an example one more time.

After this year’s earthquakes in Nepal, Planet Labs not only tracked the devastation, but actually discovered two villages that had previously gone undetected by aid organizations. These insights meant that resources and rescuers got to the right places in time to make a serious impact. Even for a company whose mission is photographing every square foot of the globe, that was a red-letter day.

Now imagine what your business could do with tools powerful enough to scour the globe for your next big opportunity. You’ve heard it a thousand times, but: Big data is here to stay. Those with the foresight to take it by the reigns will end up reaping equally big rewards. Of course, you’re going to need the right tools to see these opportunities. Here are a few of our best suggestions (don’t worry, the list doesn’t include a massive network of yoga mat–sized satellites, circling 400 miles above the earth):

  • A system that gathers and interprets sentiment data from outside sources like news outlets and social media

  • Tools that give you insights on both a global level and a local one, enabling you to detect both new trends and when an individual customer or location needs your attention

  • A cloud-based home for all of your data, so you can garner new insights on the go.

  • An intuitive interface that allows you to generate charts and interactive data visualizations simply by asking for them

  • Machine-learning tools that draw on all your data and generate actionable predictive analytics

Powerful analytics are at your fingertips.

These sorts of powerful analytics tools can sometimes sound like works of science fiction, but believe us they’re out there and becoming more powerful every day—just like Planet Labs’ network of microsatellites. If you want to learn more about what predictive analytics and big data can do for your company, check out our white paper, Measure Your Impact: 5 key principles of analytics proficiency.

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