If you’ve ever thought the government doesn’t care about your opinion when it comes to passing rules and regulations, think again.
In fact, lawmakers on Capitol Hill are required to issue “public notices” about their proposed actions, and every citizen has the chance to comment on these communiques, influence their outcomes, and generally have their voices heard.
So, if that’s of interest to you, then you must meet John Davis, founder and CEO of Notice & Comment (N&C). His organization offers two platforms designed to enhance the flow of information between the US government and its citizens. And, with the current leadership’s call for wide-ranging regulatory revision and reduction, and the millions of ensuing comments, the need for N&C couldn’t be greater.
“We saw a tidal wave coming years ago, that big data was going to overrun the government and their ability to manually review these millions of public comments,” says Davis, who has 20-plus years of professional and government service experience. “Agencies are looking for advanced technology to improve the time it takes to do their job. The timing is perfect for us.”
N&C’s eponymous portal site offers free, direct access to all proposed rules, public notices, and other supporting documents available through Regulations.gov. Visitors to the site can find, read, and comment on any and all proposed government actions and issues that interest them.
And this year, N&C launched Regendus,com, a subscription-based “regulatory intelligence platform,” powered by IBM’s Watson technology, designed to make it much faster for government officials to read and analyze all those comments.
How much faster? Davis points to the FCC’s proposed regulation on net neutrality in 2014, which received 4.1 million comments.
“It took almost their entire staff of 700 people nine months to manually read through those comments,” says Davis. “With Regendus, it can be done in minutes, not months, to get the kinds of specific insights to be able to determine what really is the sentiment of the public.”
Davis adds that the ultimate goal for N&C, one of only 10 companies selected as partners in IBM’s Analytics Solutions Center to develop and commercialize the Watson platform, is to help public and private sector clients accelerate their strategic decision-making.
“We are a product for the times,” says Davis. “The current environment doesn’t mean less regulation, it actually means more work for federal agencies. Our platform [serves as] a knowledge hub to allow people to get analytics on a data set that is relevant, to make their jobs easier to find information faster.”
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