What Big Data Means to Public Safety

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Big Data Defined. Big data refers to the unprecedented amount of data created through an increasingly connected and mobile world, cloud computing, and, above all, the Internet of Things. The volume and velocity of data available today was unthinkable even a few years ago and have overwhelmed traditional data processing and analytical techniques. In response, new databases and analytical tools were created with the capacity to deal with these extremely large data sets.
Winbourne_Consulting_Big_Data

Big Data Defined.

Big data refers to the unprecedented amount of data created through an increasingly connected and mobile world, cloud computing, and, above all, the Internet of Things. The volume and velocity of data available today was unthinkable even a few years ago and have overwhelmed traditional data processing and analytical techniques. In response, new databases and analytical tools were created with the capacity to deal with these extremely large data sets. 

 

The Promise of Big Data.

The aim of big data analytics is to identify trends and relationships in the data that would otherwise not be apparent. This in turn empowers management to better assess operations and drive service improvements.  Big data analytics is particularly useful in smart city initiatives such as transit and traffic planning; public safety, including the data-rich NG911 environment; mobile workforce optimization; and any other area where large data sets are a product of operations and service delivery.       
 

Developing Your Big Data Strategy.

Harnessing and properly leveraging this vast amount of data is a major challenge for public sector managers and agencies.  To get the most out of big data an agency needs to develop a strategic approach which will deliver value to your agency.  Addressing the following considerations will assist in this effort: 
  1. What is your goal for big data initiative? How will this effort help you accomplish your mission? Do you want to deliver service efficiencies?  Increase effectiveness? Discover relationships to better understand current operations? Predict future actions? Facilitate cross-team collaboration?  Do you need a public access/open data effort?  Do you need an enterprise strategy, or one limited to an agency or function?  Many big data efforts fail to provide value due to poor alignment with the agency’s goals and mission.
  2. What is your data inventory? Baselining the relevant current data sets available to you is critical. Where does the data reside in your agency that is required to deliver on your goals? What formats are involved?  Is it structured or unstructured? Does the data reside across agencies or locations?  Does it reside on multiple sources, mediums? Is there a requirement for new data sources, or outside sources?  Without access to the right data sets you will not be able to execute your plan.  
  3. How will you collect the data? How will the data be collected, consolidated, and maintained? Is there a need for a continual data feed, scheduled updates, or is a one-time data dump sufficient for your goals?  
  4. What is your existing capability? Do you have access to big data tools in-house? Do you have the necessary talent in-house to do the data collection and analysis tasks? Your staff may require training to effectively conduct the analyses you require.  
  5. What is the output? Who are the consumers of the analysis? Do you require high-level dashboards or more detailed analytical products? What data visualization techniques are appropriate for the data collected?  Presentation is a critical component to making big data understandable.  
By addressing the above you will have gone a long way to developing your overarching big data strategy as well as an implementation plan that has a good chance of success.
 
Winbourne Consulting has entered into a partnering agreement with the Boston-based Institute for Excellence in Government, Inc., to provide a variety of big data-related services for our clients. Our focus will be on helping government managers in building, executing, and maintaining an effective big data program, strategy development, management-level training, and tailored consulting services. For more information on how Winbourne Consulting can assist your organization in addressing their Bid Data requirements, please contact Winbourne Consulting at info@w-llc.com or call us at 703.584.5350
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