Anomaly detection, also known as outlier detection, is a technique used to identify unusual patterns or behaviors that deviate from the expected. These anomalies or outliers could potentially indicate significant issues such as a structural defect, errors, or fraud.
Here are some applications of anomaly detection in various business sectors:
1. Fraud Detection: In banking and finance, anomaly detection algorithms can identify suspicious activity that deviates from a user's typical behavior, such as unusually large transactions, transactions from a new location, or a sudden flurry of transactions, which could indicate fraud.
2. Intrusion Detection: Anomaly detection is often used in cybersecurity to identify unusual activity that could indicate a cyber attack. For instance, a sudden spike in network traffic from a particular user could indicate that a system has been compromised.
3. Healthcare: In the healthcare industry, anomaly detection can be used to identify unusual patterns in patient data that might indicate a disease. For instance, an unusual heart rhythm on an EKG could indicate a heart condition.
4. Manufacturing: Anomaly detection can be used in quality control to identify products that deviate from the norm. For example, a bottle that is lighter or heavier than average could indicate a defect in the production process.
5. IT Operations: In IT, anomaly detection can be used to identify unusual patterns in system behavior that could indicate a problem. For instance, a sudden increase in CPU usage on a server could indicate a malfunctioning application or a cyber attack.
6. Sales and Marketing: Anomaly detection can help identify sudden changes in sales data, such as an unexpected drop in sales for a particular product or an unexpected increase in website traffic. These anomalies could help businesses identify problems or opportunities.
7. Transportation: In logistics and transportation, anomaly detection can help identify unusual patterns such as unexpected delays or deviations from a planned route, which could indicate problems like traffic congestion or vehicle issues.
8. Environmental Monitoring: Anomaly detection can be used to identify unusual changes in environmental conditions, like a sudden increase in temperature or humidity, which could indicate a problem or a risk event.
While anomaly detection can provide valuable insights and early warning of issues, it's important to note that not all anomalies indicate a problem. Some anomalies could be due to random variation or unusual but legitimate behavior. Therefore, anomalies detected by these systems usually need to be investigated to determine their cause and significance.