Why is data useful?

The world seems to be caught in a spiral of collecting more and more data, with an estimate of 44 trillion gigabytes of data to be created by 2020. Data about who we are, what we do, when we do it, how and why we do it. Putting aside the question of privacy and whether or not we are getting closer to an 1984 scenario, why do we collect data? Why do we think it is a useful thing to do? 

Optimising logistics and reducing inefficiencies, whether it is for a business or individuals, is an obvious utilisation of data. From dynamically updating the route of a garbage collection truck to identifying patterns of urban mobility, or knowing your water or electricity consumption at any given time (without waiting for the bill), collecting real-time data helps to make better decisions on the go. 

I also think that, as human beings, we don't love too much uncertainty in our lives. For some practical things, we like to know what is going to happen with a comfortable degree of certainty. For example, we like to know how long the commute to work is going to take and if we have a flight to catch, we want to know we are going to get there on time (a 2014 study from Queensland showed that the reliability of travel time is more important for road users than the total travel time) When we go somewhere for the first time, it reassures us to know what it is going to look like when we get there. Or when we try a new restaurant, we like to know if we are going to like the food. 

Collecting data and making it accessible is a way for us to predict the future. 

All in all, data uncovers the unknown. It allows businesses and individuals to shed light on their blind spots. Putting our finger on what we don't know we don't know (think Johari window on a large scale) will assist in radically changing the way we see, approach and solve problems. 

At NewieVentures, our focus is utilising data for optimised and improved mobility to transform our cities.

Contact us today to find out how it can benefit your business.

(Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash)