Following is a guest post and podcast from Jeff Jonas:
Mankind is being overrun by data. To those engaged in public safety this has a very nasty consequence. Bad things happen; forensics looks for evidence; and the evidence shows it could have been detected if someone simply had the right information and connected the dots.
Imagine what happens when sense can be made of the information as it arrives and data is streaming at you. Imagine police patrols being directed to specific areas thereby averting a yet to happen crime, not next week, but now! The number of robberies, drug transactions and many other crimes drop in the presence of visible law enforcement.
The big question of where to direct the squad cars is one of many questions analytics can answer. Scenarios such as this, once considered “fiction,” are increasingly becoming reality in the world of fighting crime – thanks to analytics.
One way to think about this is “Enterprise Amnesia.” Knowing something on one hand and knowing something on the other hand and never really putting 1 + 1 together to get 2. It’s like forgetting what you know when thinking about this from the viewpoint of the enterprise at large.
Enterprise amnesia results in such things as the wrong person being released from jail and prevents investigators from pinpointing the criminal. Overwhelming amounts of data is often to blame – that is where analytics come in.
Stepping back for a second, let’s take a look at what really should be happening. The moment a new piece of data has arrived in the enterprise, the enterprise has learned something. The position should be — now that I know this, how does this relate to what I already know and does this matter? And if it matters, to whom? and when?
When one looks at data this way it begins to look like new data arriving is the question. Another way to state this is that the “data needs to find the data.”
Analytics that perform data finds data replaces the common practice of waiting for humans to dream up all the right questions and hoping these questions are asked at just the right time.
As this new class of smarter systems are applied to public safety less bad things happen, and when bad things do happen the “who” behind the crimes are determined and located faster. Public safety improves and the finite resources of a police department are maximized.
Gains in public safety can be made when one does a better job of knowing what one knows. No surprise.
Jeff Jonas is an IBM Distinguished Engineer. You can read his blog at jeffjonas.typepad.com