Big Data and using it through smart technology refers to a collection of information that is too large to be analyzed by conventional data assessment tools. Examples of big data are commonly found in databases that are maintained by medical, transportation and law enforcement agencies.
Small data sets are of limited use because they are difficult to generalize to consumers and situations other than those represented in the original sample. By contrast, big data makes it possible to leverage the power of large data sets to achieve high predictive value.
Cities take information gathered from mobile devices, remote sensors and wireless networks and use the assembled large data sets to develop smart technologies. Solutions that use big data render very accurate information because they are built on aggregated profiles that are gleaned from various sources. This allows modern cities to implement technology that will assist in the day to day lives of their citizens.
Cities Employing Smart Tech
The development of microchip technology, the increasing sophistication of data visualization tools and the ongoing refinement of cloud computing infrastructure are innovations that have enabled the use of smart technology in cities across the world. The cities of Dubai, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York have implemented unique technologies that exemplify recent advances in this field.
Dubai police departments have been using artificial intelligence to track crime scenes and to gather information about offenders and victims. The long-term aim is to institute departments that do not require staffing by human officers and that can operate autonomously through the use of smart technology.
The city of Toronto currently supports autonomous vehicles and there are plans to expand existing infrastructure to create a neighborhood powered entirely by smart technology. The plans include future development of solutions that are specifically designed to support self-driving vehicles as well as automation of street lighting and safety monitoring.
The city of Los Angeles has developed a partnership with AT&T with the aim of making the city an early adopter of smart technology. The primary focus of the alliance will be the use of connected technologies to monitor traffic conditions, enhance natural disaster preparedness and improve public safety.
The LinkNYC project uses refurbished telephone booths as internet kiosks to provide free WiFi and charging stations for the city's inhabitants. The Lowline, the world's first underground park, will use smart technology to illuminate the entire space and to initiate photosynthesis that will cause the park's foliage to grow naturally.
Examples of Smart Tech
Smart technology that is intended for personal use includes watches and biometric sensors. Technology that is developed for public use is part of large-scale social interventions and may include speed monitoring, street surveillance or environmental quality control.
Corporations use big data to track metrics that impact sales and distribution. The information industry uses big data to assess consumer purchasing habits and to develop content that is responsive to user demand. Health insurers use big data to develop consumer profiles for use in category pricing and niche marketing.
Governments and municipalities use smart technology to monitor regulatory compliance and to accomplish a wide range of tasks. The Indian government used big data to assess voter attitudes regarding specific government actions while the United Kingdom assembled prescription information for use in improving patient care.
Big data analysis played a significant role in the 2012 campaign of Barack Obama and is used by NASA to create weather simulations and long-term climate predictions.
Smart City Tech Coming Soon
The use of big data to develop smart technology will increase over time and so will specialized interventions that are customized for specific environments. Future technologies will likely involve the widespread use of self-driving vehicles, the increased utilization of robots to carry out high-risk tasks and the expanded use of big data to create simulations and predictions.
While technical research has traditionally been the purview of academics, big data is poised to usher in a new era of corporate and government researchers who will move smart technology out of laboratories and into everyday life. Implementation of smart technologies will initially be seen in larger cities, where existing infrastructure can more easily accommodate early adoption of new technologies.