You’ve heard the line a million times: “Big Data is a big deal.”
It’s cliché to utter those words in 2013, but the sentiment has never been more accurate. Governments stand to benefit in a big way from properly analyzed Big Data. With the amount of public transit, healthcare and public-safety data governments have access to, there are countless ways the public sector could use the information to save money and improve services.
The private sector is already proving that Big Data can be put to work cutting budgets. Here are a few examples from Government Technology’s Big Data, Big Promise report:
Google discovered that certain search terms are good indicators of flu activity, and created Google flu trends to estimate current flu activity around the world in near real time. The company found that its search query count-based flu activity estimates are in sync with observations from traditional flu surveillance systems.
Opower, an energy software company, partners with 75 energy utilities to collect data from more than 50 million homes. Its big data platform analyzes the data and provides recommendations for reducing usage via email, text message, websites and social media. The company says it saved consumers $200 million in energy costs in 2012.
Trucking company US Xpress analyzes 900 data types — including sensor data from tires and engines, fuel usage and geospatial data — from tens of thousands of trucking systems. The company even factors in complaints posted on trucker blogs. The results of its analyses are used to optimize fleet usage and have led to millions of dollars of cost savings each year.
We regularly cover the implantation of Big Data on the state and local level. There is some fascinating work being done that other governments can leverage for inspiration. To encourage innovation in your government, take a look at the following 13 Big Data resources: