Have you heard the words “big data” tossed around like a football during Super Bowl season? The idea of “big data” is really about using powerful processing algorithms to link lots of disparate pieces of information and then string them all together into a big picture. Right now federal law enforcement agencies like DEA and the FBI have powerful databases and data mining toolsets that can link all sorts of data repositories, such as satellite images, vehicle ownership, federal, state, local, and many other data banks and create assumptions based on analytical associations. IBM has been on the forefront of this business for a long time and has spent many years developing semantic research and continually improving the art of data mining. Several very important technology trends are beginning to intersect that will change how, where, and how fast we can move data: 1) High performance computing speeds of processing power will soon be available to everyone via cloud computing; 2) Powerful data mining tools made to interact with high speed processing are moving at a fast clip; 3) Cognitive computing analytical tools (artificial intelligence that can think and make associations like a human) are one of the tech by-products of the War on Terror; 4) Advanced broadband that can stream data back to the end user is on its way via LTE; and 5) New business models that move software away from the “per server” model to hosted “per user” applications in the cloud will soon be the new norm. Many people watched the “intellect” of computing as IBM’s Watson, the computer, played Jeopardy.
The marriage of big data with artificial intelligence and cognitive capabilities has massive implications for public safety and society. Over the next decade, technologies will likely rapidly disseminate and enhance advanced data sharing among local, state, and federal public safety organizations as cost models continue to scale and broadband availability and cloud computing bring applications closer to the user. It’s going to be a very different world!
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