Governments around the world understand the importance of a national ICT infrastructure and the role it can play in the economic and social development of a country.
However, there is a significant industry trend called Big Data that, I believe, presents a major opportunity for governments to deliver more targeted services to citizens and businesses.
Three key aspects of Big Data are already impacting governments around the world:
- Volume: Each interaction with a government entity creates digital records, network traffic, and storage requirements. The compound annual growth rates of global consumer and business data are expected to climb by 36 percent and 22 percent, respectively, between 2010 and 2015.
- Velocity: Data is being collected at greater and greater speeds. One example of the new velocity of data is the U.K. government’s transition to real-time tax reporting, where employers submit earnings and taxation information on a monthly rather than annual basis.
- Variety: In addition to traditional documents and forms, governments now must deal with torrents of less-structured data such as video from public safety and security systems, along with social media feedback. The multiple channels through which people now interact with government have also created a challenge.
It is not the data itself that creates innovative opportunities for governments, but the potential for analytics and insight around this vast array of information across many formats. Big Data could enable governments to shorten the daily commute for citizens by developing predictive analytics on traffic flows and actual traffic data affecting traffic signaling in real time. Or perhaps governments could help with rapid identification and control of disease outbreaks—from flu, to infectious diseases, to food contaminants.
One example is an online application from a geospatial mapping company that applied trend analysis to help responders to Australia’s recent floods maximize the relevance of social media reporting. This web app shows how crowdsourced social intelligence provided by Ushahidi enables emergency social data to be integrated into crisis response in a meaningful way. The Australian flooding web app includes the ability to toggle layers from OpenStreetMap, satellite imagery, topography, and filter by time or report type. By adding structured social data, the web app provides valuable situational awareness that goes beyond standard reporting, including the locations of property damage, affected roads, hazards, evacuations, and power outages.
Ultimately, a better understanding of the way in which public services are consumed, mapped to population/demographic data, can enable a much more efficient service delivery ecosystem that reduces waste.
Perhaps the “killer app” for a government cloud is enabling a Big Data revolution. By its very nature, the computational and storage demands of most Big Data applications are volatile and therefore well suited to a cloud infrastructure, enabling multiple government departments to share a single scalable platform for analytics. Furthermore, it is essential to bring data together in a common format and a single view to unleash the maximum potential; a government cloud can fulfill the role of a “data federation” for the public sector. Finally the issue of trust can be managed through the creation of a secure private cloud infrastructure.
While a Big Data vision may seem a challenging stretch for some, the reality is that there already are isolated examples of governments bringing together data from multiple sources to make policy decisions. However, the “siloed” nature of these solutions makes them more expensive to build and challenging to maintain. As a result, governments now have an ideal opportunity to put Big Data at the heart of their discussions on government cloud.
Stay tuned to view upcoming installations of the Cloud for Local Government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
Tags: Big Data, Cisco, cloud, government, IBSG, public services
There’s an increasing drumbeat of news about the “Internet of Everything” (IoE)— the confluence of people, process, data, and things that makes networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.
IoE comprises the ubiquitous ways that billions of people and numerous devices on the Internet communicate and report on their status and location. This covers everything from the location of your smartphone, to where a package might be, to the rate of your pulse or your arrival on a street corner, to the condition of a highway.
The Internet of Everything isn’t way off in the future. Today, the number of physical devices connected to the Internet is already six times the number of people on the Internet, even though there are 2 billion of those people. By 2020, there will be 50 billion connected devices.
These devices will come to dominate the “cloud.” Of course, the complexity of a global system that connects all these devices and people is mind-boggling. This global system has the potential for unpredictable and perhaps disastrous behavior. That alone should get the attention of public leaders.
Most of the advertising and news on this topic has focused on how corporations can use the Internet of Everything. Surely they can. Just think of any company that ships things and needs to know the condition of the shipped items and their locations.
But if you look at the “things” there are in the world and where they are, you will realize that companies are usually responsible only for their own office and manufacturing space (for the majority of companies, this represents millions of square feet at most).
By contrast, state and local governments are uniquely responsible for what goes on in a particular territory, which can be many tens, hundreds, thousands, or even millions of square miles. Eventually, all this territory will be covered by sensors, which will greatly outnumber everything else on the Internet. (Less often noted is that things connected to the Internet can communicate with each other without human intervention. We’ve only begun to think about the practical and fundamental issues this phenomenon will raise.)
On a practical level, people will need to manage this not through on-off switches or gauges, but through policies that can be operated at the same speed as the machines—not at the slow speed of human awareness and decision making.
The benefits for government of the Internet of Everything can be striking. Consider some examples:
- Philips and Cisco are working to connect streetlights to the Internet. Connected public lighting allows cities, for example, to turn on or brighten streetlights automatically based on someone’s approach, enhancing public safety and maximizing energy efficiency.
- A bridge whose sensors detect potential cracks in load-bearing columns can ask a streetlight to turn red to stop traffic, and also tell the police dispatch system to send a couple of police cars to redirect traffic.
- Streets “observe” that a parking spot is not being used and make that information available to residents.
- Minor sewer lines report whether they are getting backed up before this becomes a problem for the main trunks, potentially causing a toxic spill into a major river or lake.
- Real-time knowledge of vehicle locations enables dynamic control of traffic, optimizing traffic flow.
And these examples—which primarily focus on the physical infrastructure of states, counties, and cities—are only the beginning. Further into the future, the Internet of Everything holds the promise of government being able to provide much more cost-effective human services and to create a whole new urban experience.
It’s time for government leaders to start focusing on the Internet of Everything as a policy concern, and as a tool for managing what goes on in their territory.
Stay tuned to the Cisco Government blog for the next installment of the cloud for local government blog series or click here to register and reserve your copy of the complete compilation of the blog series, including this blog as well as a variety of cloud resources, which will be available in May.
To read this in Spanish, click here.
Tags: Cisco, cloud, Connected, devices, IBSG, Internet of Everything, Internet of Things (IoT), IoE, local government, state government
English poet John Donne said, “No man is an island, entire of itself.” The same could be said for a man’s — or woman’s — home network, which today is no longer his or hers alone. Friends and family increasingly expect to be able to connect their growing number of mobile devices to the Internet when they are at someone else’s home. In response, service providers (SPs) are creating Wi-Fi communities to enable users to connect safely and seamlessly to SPs’ Wi-Fi networks from other customers’ locations. Not only do SPs understand that there is pent-up customer demand for this sort of “community Wi-Fi” — they also realize that this model makes good business sense. This sort of service will enable them to expand the size of their Wi-Fi network quickly, differentiate their broadband offerings, acquire new customers, and manage customer churn.
Many SPs are now trying to understand how they can create a community Wi-Fi network among their broadband customers and reap new business benefits. However, there has been very little information available on customer behaviors to help SPs design a winning program and build the business case for further investment. To learn more, the Cisco Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) conducted a survey of 1,060 Canadian mobile users to understand their needs and behaviors, their Read More »
Tags: broadband, broadband offerings, Cisco, community network, community users, community Wi-Fi, IBSG, internet, mobile devices, mobility, Service Provider, Wi-Fi network
The journey to smarter cities and communities has gained momentum in recent years, as a recent BBC article highlights. I’d like to offer a few points from my experiences over the last five years exploring this territory:
- First, the critical issue is how to move beyond visions and prototypes, to scaling and adoption.
- Second, the whole notion of smart cities should also be reappraised.
- And third, the Internet of Everything Economy will fuel a transformation across communities, industries, and social interactions.
We are looking at a dynamic concept to which bounded definitions — whether physical, digital, organizational, or technological — seem increasingly inadequate.
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Tags: economic development, IBSG, Internet of Everything, IoE, IoE Economy, Smart Cities, value at stake
Reports of the physical retail store’s death have been greatly exaggerated. As a recent survey from the Cisco® Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) found, 93 percent of products sold in the United States are still bought in brick-and-mortar locations. And while technology has upended many product categories and more than a few individual retailers, it simultaneously creates opportunities for retailers to continue to make the store shopping experience both relevant and compelling. Big Data in the store is key to achieving this.
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Tags: Big Data, business intelligence, Cisco, data in motion, IBSG, Internet of Everything, IoE, machine learning, Machine to Machine, machine-to-human, mobility, online shopping, retail, social media, video