2020 might go down as the worst year ever – it is certainly a contender for that title. Still, with all the sudden disruptions, we were able to quickly reestablish priorities, move, and adapt to a new pace, new tools, and new ways to communicate and collaborate. So, it might be called “the year of perspectives.” Many businesses and Government Agencies experienced significant disruptions in operations, having to re-allocate resources to respond to the new challenges and demands from telework and continuous operations. With data at the center of today’s businesses and government operations, we have learned great lessons about data, its potential for helping us face and deal with emergencies, and how to overcome disruption without losing its integrity on our way to operability. These lessons have paved the road for all of us to leverage data to develop new approaches and products for delivering services.

1. Dashboards, Charts, and Maps for Data Visualization

There is no doubt that data visualization has helped with the data analysis process. Charts, maps showing hot spots, and dashboards are particularly helpful when presenting key data points based on large amounts of data, especially during times of crisis. Certainly, scientists and decision-makers benefited from having these analysis and visualization tools, but they also helped the general public to better understand the seriousness of the landscape, often resulting in a better collective response.

2. Collaboration is an essential enabler

If we are to combat global threats in the future, we will require global collaboration. Future epidemics and pandemics should leverage transparent global cooperation and information exchange. Big data tools are in place, but we need countries and communities to collaborate and share their data and their knowledge for the greater good.

The five Pillars of AI in Government, Synectics Podcast

The 5 Pillars of Artificial Intelligence in Government

Listen to this conversation about the five core areas to be considered by Government when implementing Artificial Intelligence. Swathi Young, Sam Morisetty, Bob Strom, and Jeff Spears discusses ethics, infrastructure, and data privacy, among other topics.

3. A Solid Infrastructure is Vital

The value of big data can easily be obscured and those applications that can unlock this value are the most useful ones. Telemedicine has played a role not just in our fight against COVID-19 but also to help maintain our health when we cannot go to the doctor’s office. Telemedicine is already evolving into medical telemonitoring as has been the case in Europe for several years. This technology would not be possible without software and networks of connected devices (thermometers, Virtual stethoscopes, otoscopes, pulse oximeters, etc.) feeding systems that allow health practitioners to collect real-time clinical data and improve patient outcome particularly for those that live in remote or rural locations. Further, the data collected may also assist in the identification and tracking of emerging diseases.

During the COVID-19 crisis, scientists have relied on network infrastructures to store and share data, reports, and applications to process the best data sets and provide a superior quality picture of the threat. These capabilities should and will grow in the future.

4. An Innovation Enabler

Big Data’s value is not only on the insight it offers but also on its power to enable new capabilities and approaches. Technologies such as predictive modeling, blockchain, and Artificial Intelligence have promoted innovation and allowed data scientists to build new tools and applications that can better address current and future health challenges, markets, and community needs.

5. Big data leverages mission-critical projects

Identifying and understanding challenges is the first step to accomplishing a mission. This means identifying goals, success criteria, and the resources required to effectively carry out the mission. Big data continues to be a critical tool for the development of treatments, vaccines, and contingency plans to help arrest the COVID-19 outbreak. Virtually every project focused on managing or halting the virus relies at least in part on analyzing data that has been collected and that we are continuing to gather. These data are the key to the achievement of our mission.

Our abilities to process big data collected by hospitals, clinics, and IoT (Internet of Things) devices, AI, and machine learning have a direct impact on the development of drugs, vaccines, treatments, and contingency plans. Our efforts to analyze and process data will continue to determine how quickly we deal with current and all future threats. Making this data meaningful is an urgent mission now and in the future, as we recover from this pandemic and reset toward preparedness for the next emerging threat.

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Posted by Walt Mehlferber

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