Learn about data in the context of a city, from collection, to storage, to use.
- Our increasingly connected, digital world is creating enormous volumes of data. According to IBM, every day, we are creating 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. Yeah, that's a real number. We call one quintillion bytes an exabyte. An exabyte is 10 to the power of 18, or put another way, one with 18 zeroes to the right of it. It looks like this. One exabyte could hold 100,000 times the printed material, or 500 to 3,000 times all content of the Library of Congress.
Every computer, every smartphone, machines in factories, cars, sensors, social networks, they all generate data. Simply watching and listening to this video right now is creating data. Let's just agree, it's a lot of data. And we've come up with a really original name for it. We call it big data. Organizations of all types have begun to recognize that there is value in this data. That value is often beyond its original intent.
Here's a simple example. If someone posts feedback on a product website, sure, the business gets the customer feedback, but they also potentially get the customer's location. This data can therefore inform the product company more about its customers. In more complex situations, data is informing organizations about vast sets of behaviors. It's helping to predict when machines will malfunction. It's helping airline pilots make course corrections so passengers have a less bumpy flight.
It's enabling cars to drive themselves, and it's helping farmers have more productive crops. The power of data is enormous, and it's quickly changing our world. As you might imagine, cities and their governments create, collect, use, and store data too. In fact, data is one of the very few things that cities have in abundance. Depending on a city's size, it may generate millions or billions of transactions a year, merely based on interactions citizens have with city services.
With cities using more technology to run systems that range from power grids to traffic lights, and from libraries to public safety record systems, cities and their governments are collecting what seems like exponential volumes of new data every month. As we'll discuss later, as cities use more devices to manage their operations, the movement and management of data between these devices becomes really important. Imagine, for a moment, all of the data that might transfer between connected cars and city infrastructure such as rail crossings and traffic signals.
In a city context, data is a really big deal. And even more so in a smart city context. Using data to innovate and create new, more efficient, less costly solutions, does seem highly appealing. And dare I say it, essential. Let's take a deeper look at city data in urban innovation.
- The challenges of rapid urban development
- Understanding the basic functions and needs of 21st century cities
- Exploring what makes a smart city smart
- How smart cities are planned and maintained
- The role of big data in driving urban innovation
- Open data and smart cities
- Smart cities and the Internet of Things