by Angela Guess
Charles Jennings of Public CEO recently wrote, “Imagine: you’re a loyal public servant working for a large city. You understand the critical role cities play in 21st Century societies. You take your job seriously and want to make smart, informed decisions. But you’re very busy, and keeping up with the dizzying array of information services available to you, both internally and externally, can be a challenge. Put another way: you want the best possible information to help you do your job well, but you don’t want to spend a lot of time, effort, and money getting it. Here’s one suggestion: focus on Big Data. Prioritize getting information services that leverage Big Data to provide you with a deeper, more complete picture of what’s going on around you.
Jennings continues, “Big Data matters because it’s empirical. It takes a hard-boiled, ‘just the facts’ approach. It sifts through myriad facts to reveal new patterns. It helps you make new connections, and connect the dots. Sometimes, it can even help you predict future events—ranging from water-demand surges to smash-and-grab burglaries in a particular shopping district to a new pandemic. If you’re searching for sources of Big Data that can be valuable for public safety, public health, school safety and emergency response missions, here’s one place to look: your local emergency number dispatch database. 911 CAD systems in the United States, similar 211 systems in Europe, and emergency number services around the world capture the heartbeats of a city (or, at least, its arrhythmias). Emergency number operators record citizens’ most immediate concerns in the midst of crises.”