A number of things can go wrong with Open Data Projects

TobiasYou’ve got data. Lots of data. And more of it becomes available every second of every day. But if you can’t find the customer and business insights within your data, it just remains untapped potential.
We’ve asked Tobias Temmink (Benelux Technology Officer within Teradata) about the challenges cities are facing with, which collaborations are effective and which investment choices do we have to make.

The biggest challenge with open data will be the governance and usage of the data” 


What are the main challenges  cities are facing with open data the coming years?

The biggest challenge they have is to organize their data and make it available in such a way that it can be used effectively by the community. This is needed to stimulate the community to further evolve their usage of the data. There is a lot of data available, this is not the issue, it is turning this data into something valuable. It is a first step to put some of your data sets online, but that is not the best way to enable and stimulate good usage of the data. This requires a good reliable infrastructure, based on open standards like APIs, and enough metadata available to rely on the data. This does require a certain amount of effort on the side of the supplier of the data, which will initially be an extra cost center, but will be required to make open data a success.

How far can cities go with Open Data?

There are always pro’s and con’s when using data. There are obvious factors like privacy or competitive insights that limit what can be done with open data. But also more underlying factors such as the quality and reliability of the data. While every data may hold some sort of value or interesting insight, it’s apparent to start there where the biggest potential is. This potential should not be based solely on the potential insights but also on factors like how easy it is to unlock this value. Building on these initial successes and findings we’ll move towards finding out how far cities can go.

Which investment choices do we have to make?

The biggest challenge with open data will be the governance and usage of the data. Even though the data may be free, ensuring correct and effective use of the data will still take effort. Reusable methodological tools to measure this should be developed as well as assessment methods to evaluate correctness en effectiveness. This is where most investment must go towards.

What can go wrong with Open Data Projects?

As already stated at the response on how far cities can go with Open Data there are a number of things that can go wrong. Privacy is the first that comes to mind, but there are other legal issues such as data ownership and data retention laws. In any of these areas a mistake can be made, in which case the liability will depend on the situation. On top of this there is the risk of incorrect use of the open data, leading to incorrect conclusions, possibly linked to the supplier of the data

Who is the boss of the data?Teradata

Depends on the conditions under which the data is made available. But in essence as soon as the data is made available, ownership can no longer be easily enforced. Instead of trying to control data ownership we should be focusing how open data may be used. Use of data in way it was not intended to (like abuse of privacy or commercial speculations) should be under strict regulations. We are shifting ownership towards accountability.

Which collaborations are effective?

The collaborations where there is a win win for both parties, both the supplier as well as the user of the data. This will contribute to ensuring correct use of the data and correct provisioning. For instance where an official informative app is surpassed in usage by a community made app based on the same (open) data. In this case the goal of the original app is achieved to a higher standard which is a win win for both parties. Maybe it is even possible to think further and create a shared sense of responsibility by users and suppliers. In that case a usage would also mean certain obligation like for example contribution to the source of sharing derivative value. So collaboration will then mean increasing the potential value – actual valorization of data.

How do you finance the projects?

Financing is normally a task mainly for the provider of the data. But this still requires a significant investment if done properly. Within government this should be seen as a mandatory capability, which is financed by taxes. For public or semipublic companies this should be seen as an additional value they can offer. The potential of the data justifies to what level the open data provisioning justifies financing.

Beyond Data Event

beyond dataOpen data is a highly important new domain within the total society. It is an essential participation instrument, an innovation tool to stimulate new applications for a comfortable life and one of the core elements to shape a Smart City.
On the 6th of April the Beyond Data Event takes place in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. An event which is organized this year for the 6th time by the City of Eindhoven. Teradata is one of the partners of the Beyond Data Event.

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