Giving Compass' Take:

• At Smart Cities Dive, Ashvine Saxena explains how cities could benefit from real-time data insights across domains during the COVID-19 crisis.

• What can you do to promote the incorporation of data insights in your community?

• Find out how you can use your giving to support coronavirus response resources like data insights.

While healthcare workers on the front lines of COVID-19 mitigation face shortages of respirators and masks, consumers search in vain for hand sanitizer and toilet paper. But for city leaders thrust in the spotlight, the pandemic is exposing another critical asset in short supply: insights.

Data are the raw ingredients of insights, but there is nothing like a crisis to demonstrate how hard it is to make quick sense of a tidal wave of information from every direction. From the latest infection rates (and sadly, fatalities), to 311 information and the status of vital supplies, government leaders are under constant pressure to offer insights from real-time data so they can make smarter decisions.

Yet as the evening news reminds us, the pandemic is leaving local governments around the world sorely lacking insights, impairing their ability to keep citizens safe.

Without question, a lot of progress has been made. Cities can predict when ancient water mains might break and can optimize bus routes; streetlights have been transformed into urban networks; commuters swear by apps that find parking spaces during rush hour. But despite this progress, smart cities typically reflect silos of innovation. Most cities have yet to tap the collective insight across these domains and departments for smarter decision making.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought this shortcoming into stark relief. When the volume of real-time data increases, it exposes a widening gap in the ability of city leaders to spot correlations. This is more difficult in a crisis because the volume and speed of data increases as fast as the need to understand it.

With time being a precious commodity, making sense of real-time data as soon as it is captured not only helps citizens stay informed, but can also keep them safe.

Read the full article about data insights by Ashvini Saxena at Smart Cities Dive.