Open Data may place governments at the centre of innovation

By 2019, smart cities projects and initiatives based on voluntary personal data sharing will benefit half of those living in large cities. Says the Gartner technology consultant, who points out an opportunity for governments to position themselves at the “society technological innovation centre.”

The key to this is knowing how to take advantage of Open Data strategies. Thanks to the devices proliferation and Internet of Things growth, Gartner predicts that by the end of this decade, 20% of all local power organizations will be able to generate revenue with solutions that include an open data strategy.

At the same time and as hyper-connectivity increases, citizens will also be able to benefit of passive information sharing, becoming increasingly aware of their day-to-day data value, willing to exchange it for other real time useful services and elements.

“As citizens increasingly use personal technology and social networks to organize their lives, governments and businesses are growing their investments in technology infrastructure and governance,” said Anthony Mullen, Gartner Research Director. “This creates open platforms that enable citizens, communities and businesses to innovate and collaborate, and ultimately provide useful solutions that address civic needs.” continued.

Another of the trends pointed out by Gartner is that people prefer chatting platforms, such as virtual assistants or chatbots, to the detriment of conventional applications and websites. Government entities are monitoring this phenomenon and are rendering similar solutions available. It is, for example, the case of Singapore, which is collaborating with Microsoft in the “Conversation as a Platform” initiative to develop chatbots in a range of public services. With this, the way in which the citizen and the governments interact will reach other dynamics and the volume of generated data will increase, creating the opportunity to develop open data portals that can increase efficiency, improve citizen experience, boost innovation and even generate government organizations revenues.

“Open data portals in cities are not a new thing, but many portals today have limited machine readability and therefore limited business value,” said Bettina Tratz-Ryan, Gartner Research Vice President. “The city becomes ‘smart’ when the data is collected and governed in a way that can produce valuable real-time streams, rather than just backward-looking statistics or reports.”

In this regard, for cities, the next step will be a “data market” creation where it can be presented and managed in order to obtain more commercial benefits. And there are already some practical cases: Copenhagen, in Denmark, is one of the pioneer cities in this field, with the City Data Exchange project coordinated by Hitachi.

Monetizing this data goes through, according to Gartner, automation and extension of the user experience, enabling citizens and businesses to discover and prepare it, set standards and share it with their communities or organizations.

“Users will have a number of options to ‘pay’ for data access depending on the use case,” said Ms. Tratz-Ryan. “A normal citizen may simply participate via data democracy and have free access in return for providing their own data, whereas commercial use may require sharing revenue with the data owner, or buying a license to access an enriched data source.”


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