Co-authored with Munish Khetrapal

Big data, what’s the big deal?

With the pressure to innovate faster, the onslaught of rapid urbanization, and heightened citizen expectations, government organizations and leaders are looking to the Internet of Everything.

Of the many technology trends that enable the Internet of Everything, big data and analytics warrant special consideration. The astonishing amount of data traversing today’s networks is growing exponentially each day. A recent IDC research report highlights that from now until 2020, the digital universe will double every two years.

This growth in data represents a remarkable opportunity for global public sector organizations, particularly for government leaders. The automated collection of data – from devices, sensors, and physical objects – and use of the resulting information is providing unprecedented visibility and decision-making capabilities. This is paving the way for faster incident response, safer communities, better operational efficiency, secure access to anytime, anywhere services, and an overall heightened citizen experience.

Enhancing the Community Experience

For this series, imagine this digital citizen as an average community member – a student, tourist, or professional businessperson – going about their daily routine. The first stop that we’ll make is to receive wellness services, an important social operation that allows individuals to live a life of dignity and purpose in an inclusive society.

Like VITAS, innovative healthcare, thanks to better data management and enhanced insights, enables a more integrated client-centric service experience for our citizen’s visit. But what does that really mean?

Let’s start before care is truly needed. With the evolution of technology and the explosion of apps and wearable devices, our digital citizen can monitor their own health and wellness. Sharing this information with medical professionals, who also have access to growing collections of health data of the general public, will allow for preventative measure before problems occur and for preemptive treatment prepared in advance.

Through digitization, the community facilitates the management of data pertaining to healthcare – along with the data from other services such as traffic and parking management, security, street lighting, water and waste management, to name a few – and also supports the centralized analytics, allowing for a more efficient data-driven anticipatory approach to delivering citizen services.

To reach the next stop in our digital community, our citizen will take a bus at the nearby bus stop. While riding the bus, the citizen can simply connect to the free Wi-Fi network through any smart device and stay connected throughout the trip. In addition to receiving data from the connected bus, riders can upload real-time data from the physical world to the cloud, helping city authorities improve incident response and traffic management.

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For example, our bus-riding citizen just witnessed a car collision. While other riders may be calling local authorities and jamming up phone lines, the citizen takes to social media to announce a traffic incident at X street and Y avenue and tags a city agency social account.

Cities like Rio de Janeiro, have a system that enables the collection and sharing of pertinent data – like real-time social media updates and public transportation location – across more than 50 local agencies, allowing for a more coordinated and effective response. While emergency responders can more quickly reach and treat those in need of assistance, city leaders can make proper adjustments to ease traffic flow and resume public transport schedules.

Singapore, with plans to be the world’s first Smart Nation and a view to “serve citizens of all ages and companies of all sizes,” is pursuing initiatives to establish nationwide broadband networks and wireless hotspots, while also incorporating things like sensor-based technology, in order to connect people, things, processes, and data. Singapore is paving the way for a robust digital strategy that ensures mutual public and private benefit.

With data and analytics capabilities enabled by a digital strategy, communities can better respond to local challenges and deliver efficient, secure citizen services with effective end-to-end assistance.

Next Stop

Stay tuned for next Wednesday’s post to discover how our digital citizen is able to save time and reduce stress with less traffic and travel time each day. And be sure to check back each week as we explore new themes, challenges and observations.

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Anil Menon


Smart+Connected Communities and Cisco Deputy Chief Globalisation Officer