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A glimpse at Big Data and its economic potential in public administration

UK’s HM Government has already made a commitment to Big Data by classifying it as one of the ‘Eight Great Technologies’ which will propel the UK to future growth and help it stay ahead in the global race. The ‘Information Economy Strategy’ reports on the increase in data being generated and the importance of new types of computing power in order to reap the economic value of the data.

This paper sets out to cover the following areas:

a) Defining Big Data
b) High-level trends in Big Data
c) Opportunities for Big Data applications

In developing this paper, a ‘community of interest’ has been established comprising policy leads and analysts from across government with an interest in Big Data. This paper draws on their insights, insights from the private sector, academics, and the extensive open source literature on the Big Data topic.

The report describes 6 high-level trends:

  • The emergence of cloud computing;
  • The development of new software tools and database systems for large, unstructured datasets;
  • The development and refining of analytical tools so that they can process vast quantities of data in near-real time;
  • The monetization of Big Data sources – realizing the value of the data collected by selling it on the market;
  • The increasing concerns around privacy of data and intellectual property; and
  • The rise of global smart cities.

The opportunities for big data applications described in the report are:

  • Creating transparency;
  • Enabling experimentation to discover needs, expose variability, and improve performance;
  • Segmenting populations to customise actions;
  • Replacing/supporting human decision making with automated algorithms; and
  • Innovating new business models, products and services with Big Data.

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