Unlocking the true value of open data Nordic Morning logo

Unlocking the true value of open data

Author Jonathan Rothwell

16/04/19

Do you know which school is considered the best for your children? Or can you tell when the next bus will finally arrive? Open data holds the answers to these questions and a lot more. At Nordic Morning, we believe open data will prove vital in finding innovative ways to improve the lives of people, business and society. According to Jonathan Rothwell, Content Director at Nordic Morning, it’s already happening, right now. Read on to learn more.

Do you have any idea how much of your tax money is spent on cancer research? I do. And you can too, by simply completing an online form and browsing the results.

Regardless where you live, a lot of the data you need to answer these types of questions is owned by the government and public authorities. And, until quite recently, this information was often difficult to access, or was in a form which was almost impossible to understand.

But that’s all changed.

Shifting mindset

The idea that non-sensitive data should be made freely available has caught on in recent years. Now, government bodies perceive data as a resource which can be shared responsibly. At Nordic Morning, we firmly believe that opening up data improves lives in tangible, but often unseen ways.

Nowadays innovative solutions, services, and even whole businesses have emerged which rely on access to current, reliable information. Many of these solutions have grown in popularity to become seamless parts of our everyday lives.

If there’s any doubt about this, take a look in your phone. You know those apps that inform you how to avoid traffic? They’re powered by open data.

Even the data gathered by some of these apps is being used to create clever semi-autonomous solutions which automatically identifying potholes, for example. We’re truly living in a hyper-connected and data-driven world.

Leveraging the value of data

At Nordic Morning we believe the potential uses for data are enormous. And we’re not alone. A recent European Commission study estimated that the market size of open data will swell to around €75.7 billion by 2020.

There’s examples of this popping up everywhere in Scandinavia. In Denmark, Modstrøm is an IT company that compiles reports for homeowners about energy usage. It then suggests improvements based on information they gather by analyzing 200 years of building statistics from public databases.

As a result of having greater access to data, European citizens can become more actively involved in government policy and decision-making. In Finland, for example, data about everything from road traffic accidents to tax revenues can be found online. As a result of open data, transparency surrounding governmental decision-making is improving, and that has to be a good thing.

The future of open data

Going forward, I’m convinced that having a design thinking approach, combined with access to reliable open data, will ensure organizations like yours will be able to create cutting edge products and services that seamlessly improve convenience, increase productivity and reduce costs.

Although it is hard to truly quantify exactly how and where value will be created, it’s clear to me that open data is already playing a key role in how people, business and society interact and operate.

With the advent of AI and machine learning just around the corner, this draw to open data and its various applications won’t slow in the future. If anything, it’ll cause research and development to accelerate. It’s likely we’ll soon be surrounded by use cases.

Getting ready to embrace open data

Of course, big questions remain. And, while we’re here to help drive discussions, we can’t tackle them alone. That’s why Nordic Morning, alongside 80 other international players and numerous governmental organizations, participated at the Hack for Sweden event from April 4-6.

Through a number of workshops, keynotes and activities held during the event, we highlighted how unlocking data can enable new services which improve people’s lives. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive and confirmed our perception that open data can be used to strengthen the lives of people, business and society in Sweden.

Have you considered what data can do for you?

Get in touch and learn how we can use data to kickstart innovation at your organization.