Dashboards and big data analytics

Big data analytics has been a hot topic these days. Has it anything to do with city dashboards or personal dashboards? Let’s first recall how a dashboard harnesses big data at work.

Imagine you’re with your own dashboard, take a look at it and you’ll be amazed by what you have at hand: the here and now of the city and your life. You have the real-time happening of the realms of information that matter to you. That is what a dashboard is about: bringing to its users information important to them, with the help of open big data.

In fact, how a dashboard makes use of big data should not be new to us since our life is brimming with if not made of, data, big and small. One’s routine day may start with a refreshing breakfast — the eatery you choose, what you eat and drink — it’s all about data. Enjoying your breakfast, you already contributed your share of several data sets to the eatery, such as the food and drinks you order, the time you have your breakfast, whether you eat alone or with company. The restaurant may collect their own pool of data sets, with the small data you bring alongside those of others’. Through data analytics they can distill from the data pool their customers’ preference of food and drinks and do better table arrangement for the breakfast period, etc.

Such an example of big data analytics may explain to you that data and information matter as much as the meaning you extract from it. In the case of the same restaurant, if you were the only data contributor, the restaurant manager would distill knowledge little more than one customer’s personal preference. And that from a managerial perspective is not a piece of actionable information.

So what does data analytics have to do with dashboards? While a dashboard visualises real-time open big data, all you have are only pieces of data, figures and information. How that matters to you depends on how you distill knowledge and value from the data, that is creating meaning from the information, which allows one to act and make decisions. When you come to think about it, it’s data analytics at a personal level. While meaning and knowledge can be distilled from a dashboard, conversely a dashboard may be established for a particular objective, such as an ESG Dashboard and a supply chain dashboard. Let’s explore the possibilities of a dashboard and see what it will bring to a city.

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