Part 4: Connecting to the World of Big Data

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Part 4/5 from our series on the benefits of broadband for communities!

Big Data – simply put, datasets too
large to analyze with conventional analytical tools – is a trending technology
for Fortune 1000 CEOs, data scientists, and city managers alike. The promise of
the Internet of Things is more than just the ability to connect infrastructural
components in real time; it’s also the ability to populate and examine an
ever-expanding body of collected data and look for emerging trends in municipal
operations and citizen services.

Big Data offers valuable use cases
for municipalities of all kinds. In agricultural communities, sharing crop
health and pricing data across the city – and even across a region – can help
every individual contributor to that centralized body of data to see emerging
trends before they become problems. Similarly, comparing annual yields over
time compared with commodity pricing can help to predict future economic
performance of the sector within the municipality.

From a broader perspective, the
same concept – capturing and examining Big Data either horizontally (in a specific
moment in time across a wide geographic area) or longitudinally (over a long
period of time in a specific and defined area) – can apply to other municipal
endeavors, too. From studying town and regional weather patterns to better
predict and inform the citizen population to analyzing infrastructure and
utility usage over time to plan a more efficient power and water system, Big
Data holds immense promise for the improvement of citizens’ lives – and the
efficient use of their tax dollars.

But access to Big Data’s long-term
benefits require the kind of resilient, fast broadband infrastructure that
makes the daily transfer of gigabytes of data a straightforward and
unremarkable task. It’s for this reason that more and more municipal
governments are looking to combine their urban and exurban Big Data initiatives
with the installation of new fiber-optic broadband infrastructure. The benefits
of municipal and regional Big Data visibility substantially outweigh the cost
of installation and operation.

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