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Broadband and Democratization

‘Big Data’ Plus Big Broadband Equals Better Government and Private Sector Services, Say ITIF Panelists




WASHINGTON, January 25, 2013 – Data-sharing in a broadband-enabled world enables greater productivity for the government and the private sector, said officials at the first annual “Data Innovation Day” hosted Thursday by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation.

Representatives from Amazon Web Services and the U.S. Department of Education touched on a common thread that broadband technology enables the government and private sector are able to transmit larger and more varied data than ever before.

The panel was just one of several events around the country designed to inform the public on the state of data sharing. The panel on “Data Information in Government” expressed how organizations “use data to make government work more effectively and efficiently.” It touched on how government and private sector agencies have powerfully embraced “big data.” combined with broadband.

Using algorithms and “big data” style analysis, Lockheed Martin has even been able to accurately predict events as trivial as the National Basketball Association’s All Star Game roster, and important as the plight of the Arab Spring.

James M. O' Connor of Lockheed Martin said that his company “had social scientists and linguists as our core teams. [They] look at these data-sets on how you make solid concrete and defensible situations. Within days, the team made predictions that ultimately were very accurate in reference to the tumultuous nations.”

Further, by accessing web outlets such as social media to gauge the general mindset of a nation’s people, Lockheed was able to predict which nations would be prone to violence and protest, said O’Connor.

Richard Culatta, Deputy Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the U.S. Department of Education, used the analogy of comparing a student’s path to learning to that of a global positioning system. If the student takes a wrong turn, or goes on an alternate route, divisions should be in place that can guide the student back to his successful academic destination, he said.

“It was clear to us that we needed much more data infused into the system to make sure that teacher and students have access to more information,” said Culatta. By having access to as much information as possible, Culatta ultimately envisions a network where all libraries, schools and information agencies share their material that any student can access.

“This is the bottom of the first inning” of the game in which the government can utilize these sorts of “big data” analysis and communications capabilities, said David Forrest, senior advisor to the chief technology officer at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Network speeds are increasing, which is going to continue to further innovation,” said Forrest. “The business models and incentive programs are beginning to align with all of this.”


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