Big Data — could it work for you?

Big Data may sound like big hype - complex, hard to use or maybe not even valuable. The truth is quite the opposite. It is a powerful tool that can transform many organisations’ operations. Could yours be one of them?

Big_Data_w_headline_optional_main.jpgA mass of data is pretty useless without a Big Data application – a smart program that looks at a vast amount of data and uses it to produce new insights. The Google search engine is a prime example of such an application. Using billions of web pages as its input, it employs sophisticated algorithms to create efficient searches.

The potential for Big Data

Introducing mobile broadband and new apps and devices means that public safety professionals in the field can get more accurate data delivered to them. This helps improve their operations as well as their safety - and and the safety of the people they serve. But there is also potential to organise and analyse the underlying data to gain insights, for example a rising trend of fires at particular types of property, prompting further investigation.


Ownership of the data is important. Public safety organisations are familiar with the importance of keeping communications confidential. In addition, they must ensure that when new data apps are taken into use, they own and master the data assets.

Making it work

As with any new apps, Big Data apps are relevant only when they are useful. In addition, no application will be useful if it does not work within the organisation’s operational procedures.

It is important to consider how the app would be used in practice and how it might need to work with other solutions such as control rooms.

Introducing any application in a public safety organisation is complex. It is therefore a good idea to start with a trial group of users to identify the most beneficial apps first. Experiences from those apps can demonstrate from the very beginning that apps are worth investing in. The key is to introduce Big Data apps in the same way you would introduce any other app for everyday use.