What is Data?
Data is one of the most talked about subjects at the moment alongside Big Data, AI and Robots, but what exactly is it? The Oxford dictionary defines it as ‘facts and statistics collected together for reference or analysis’. Every time you enter your details into an application form, social media network or membership subscription, your information is collected. It allows other parties to make more strategic decisions when planning objectives around marketing, hiring, product, finance and engineering. Data has been collected for years however, 90% of current data has been created in the last two years with Forbes suggesting there are 2.5 quintillion bytes of data created each day at our current pace (roughly 100 million blu-ray discs). So what has this got to do with Open Government Data?
Open Government Data
Open Government Data is available to everyone and is produced by government or government controlled entities. The relatively new concept of using Data to create Data-driven strategies is creating new opportunities for growth across all the sectors. There is a huge drive in using Data within the Private sector, but what about the Public sector? Publicly available data that is released by the UK government has created an opportunity for innovation to happen worldwide, one perfect example being Citymapper. Citymapper have utilised publicly available open Data to create a public transit app and mapping services, integrating all urban modes of transport, and is estimated to be installed in half of Londoners' phones. So if this Public Open Data can help the Private sector, can it benefit the creators?
The Potential of Data
When used effectively, the potential of data is colossal both at a macro and microeconomic level. If we look at three separate segments - Social, Economy and Performance, data has the ability to improve quality, enhance participation and improve transparency and accountability, ultimately delivering better citizen services and reducing costs. According to the UK free market think thank Policy Exchange, the UK government could save up to £33 billion a year by using public Big Data more effectively. The idea of delivering citizen-centric services, focusing on the transparency, accessibility and responsive services from the Public sector means governments must break departmental data silos. Obviously data that is collected is used to implement certain strategies like traffic congestion, monitoring public utilities, crime prediction and education schemes. But what if this could be taken another step further?
The introduction of Predictive Modelling, using data analytics to predict events, is having the capability to take a more preventative approach. Predictive modelling uses current data that has been collected and can predict certain scenarios, for example whether a child is likely to be abused at home, whether an individual may develop cancer or whether an area runs the risk of a forest fire. Predictive modelling gives us the insight to act in order to prevent such measures happening. If we look at whether an individual will develop cancer, a predictive model will look at all the data collected on the individual, more specifically their family history, lifestyle, eating habits, BMI, work and income. We can then calculate a percentage of accuracy as to whether they may develop cancer. From this, a doctor can introduce preventative measures accordingly like exercise regime, new diet or lowering stress through change of lifestyle habits. If we take the most recent example of the horrific California fires last month, the total cost to the US state, insurers and homeowners is expected to top $19 billion. To invest in Prediction Modelling and preventive measures may help in indicating the likelihood of such an event occurring again.
Data is collected across all Government offices, ranging from the Ministry of Defence and Child Support Agency to HMRC and NHS, all floating on a ocean of Data. The possibility of utilising and developing this data to its maximum potential is both exciting and unknown. At Anaeko we are focusing our services on Data Integration and helping you understand the full potential of your data. If you wish to simply learn more about how we could help, just get in touch!