A flood of data is created every day by the interactions of billions of people using computers, GPS devices, cell phones, and medical devices. Many of these interactions occur through the use of mobile devices being used by people in the developing world, people whose needs and habits have been poorly understood until now. Researchers and policymakers are beginning to realise the potential for channelling these torrents of data into actionable information that can be used to identify needs, provide services, and predict and prevent crises for the benefit of low-income populations. Concerted action is needed by governments, development organisations, and companies to ensure that this data helps the individuals and communities who create it.
Phi Beta Iota: What is interesting is the absence of any concept of call centers or geospatial plotting. These people are on to something, but they are approaching it from an Industrial Era mind-set, using the big data to monitor and anticipate rather than to nurture and educate.