The 3 steps to snagging a multi-billion-dollar "data dividend"

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Electric power utilities are missing out on a multi-billion-dollar opportunity. They are failing to mine their data for business value. Although guest author Gary Wachowicz emphasizes cities below, he also mentions smart grid projects. That's because the underlying principles apply to both smart cities and smart grids.

 

He suggests three steps to get started. Those that take those steps and grab the data dividend now will gain a competitive edge. Those that dawdle will fall behind.  â€“ Jesse Berst

 

By Gary Wachowicz

 

There’s a data dividend for cities, now’s the time to get started

There’s a data-driven transformation underway today, built on the Internet of Things and big data, that promises to transform how city services will be delivered in the near future. In this era of rapid urbanization and decreasing budgets, governments are finding ways to address urban challenges and use big data to drive new possibilities. Cities that are doing this right are able to positively impact citizens’ lives for the better and ensure their cities remain competitive.

 

Governments today are facing an increasing diversity of data within their organizations. This is being driven by business applications, unstructured social data, connected sensors and devices and much more. The best and most valuable scenarios optimize for the right data delivered at the right time to the right person in an organization.

 

According to Microsoft-sponsored research from IDC, government organizations worldwide stand to gain $206 billion in value from data over the next four years by: 1) combining diverse data streams within organizations, 2) using new data analytics tools, 3) delivering data insights to more people, and 4) doing all of this quickly. We call this the data dividend.

 

One question we often hear from local government organizations is: how does a modern government get started? Technology has advanced to a place where it’s easier today than even a year ago. Here is where we advise governments to start:

 

Start with one priority area

Cities that are successful begin by using data to tackle a very specific issue. Maybe it’s improving public safety like the City of New York wanted to do. Maybe it’s improving transportation systems like they did in Helsinki, Finland. Or perhaps it’s driving better use of resources such as electricity with a smarter grid as the French town of Issy-les-Moulineaux has done. Municipal governments should look at various scenarios and find out where it makes sense to start based on the city’s circumstances, priorities and capacity.

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