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Too Much Data

By Steve Jones,

CCTV CameraI saw this article that someone thinks there is too much monitoring taking place of British citizens with all the cameras being set up around the country as well as the creation and consolidation of various national databases. Given the security issues of a number of government agencies around the world, I can certainly see why someone is upset with this.

I also saw a note awhile back that many of these cameras are un-manned because of the cost of doing so and the lack of funds from some departments. An investment was being made in the infrastructure and process to handle all this "data," but perhaps it wasn't a good investment if there's no one around to view the information.

It's a dilemma that I expect to occur more and more as we continue to gather great amounts of digital information. We'll record, capture, and store more and more data, but often without any resources available to actually take advantage of this information.

I see that already with some audit and archive systems that gather a tremendous amount of data, but then don't have an easy way for someone to actually make use of the data. People build the auditing in, but don't build in tools to use it. That might not be a big deal since often that data isn't needed unless there is an issue, and at that point you'd just write custom queries to find it.

However in many systems being built I think we're gathering more data than we have the resources to process, and it's often human resources, not computing resources, that are lacking. The key here is to better use our computing resources, in some sense building in more intelligence into systems that can handle some of the processing. Maybe adding more "Business Intelligence" features to applications, which might be dealing with new types of data, such as video and audio data, as well as text data.

Building useful, and valuable BI features into applications is hard, it takes time, requires tweaking, and most importantly, requires that the development resources work closely with, and learn about, the business. That's a longer term investment than most of the CRUD-type applications that are often built, and I think businesses need to make sure they are not only making the investments, but continuing to fund them as they evolve.

Steve Jones

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