What's Next for Open Data?

Route optimization transformed and improved the way our mail is delivered – today packages arrive quickly and consistently on-time. For delivery companies, route optimization also lowered real and variable costs, in terms of gasoline and vehicle maintenance expenses and longer-term environmental impact.

This win-win situation was enabled by big, private data that delivery companies had been collecting in the process of doing business. The data told them where packages were delivered, when, and how often there were consistently complications that slowed delivery, such as rush-hour traffic.

But using data to improve the way we do business, does not need to be an exclusively private-sector activity. The public should get quality, consistent services from the public sector, just like those we have come to expect from private industry.

And this can be done with existing, open data.

Take health inspections of restaurants as one of many examples. The public should expect government to take reasonable measures to keep us safe from foodborne illness outbreaks. But the reality is, today, many city and county health departments do not have the capacity to complete federally mandated inspections. Restaurants do not get follow up inspections or closed down when they fail inspections, if they ever get inspected at all.

Most cities and counties have already published enough open data to optimize the delivery of public services, but how?

Open Data Nation is a unique management consulting company working with city and county governments to take the administrative, open data they collect to optimize the delivery of public services using data science techniques to find cost savings from making them more effective and efficient.  Our restaurant inspection solution, FIVAR, for example, finds violations 12 days sooner, keeping the public safe from e.coli and norovirus outbreaks. 

Like route optimization in the private-sector, performance management using open data ,will be a win-win for the public-sector as well. Doing so, will enable the same amount of work to be completed in a shorter amount of time has the potential to generate significant cost savings in resource-constrained cities and counties.

Photo Credit: Nancy Kamergorodsky