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European Countries Racing Ahead With Open Data

Blog: Capgemini CTO Blog

Open data is one of those topics you probably already heard about a few years ago. Like most digital topics, it was blown away by big data, data lakes, and data scientists. Hot on the hype curve today we have machine learning, artificial intelligence, labelled data, blockchain, and much more. What do they all have in common?

Data.

It’s all about the data.

Data is the heartbeat of the digital economy.

Where does this data come from? Much of it comes from our online footprint, an increasingly important amount will come from sensors, extensive amounts come from the private sector, and a fair amount comes from the public sector.

Why does data coming from the public sector matter? How many of us have a smart phone and use applications? Did you know that most, if not all, these apps use open data; that is to say, open government data such as weather data, location-based data, transport data, infrastructure data, market data, etc.? Thanks to our research for the European Commission, we know that the market for open data is estimated at EUR 325 billion for the period 2016-2020 for Europe.[1] We also know that companies are increasingly combining four different categories of data: regions and cities, population and society, transport, and the environment.[2]

Is the public sector actually publishing more data? At Capgemini Consulting we have been measuring the state of play of open data across 30+ European countries for the past three years on behalf of the European Commission. It’s not just about looking at the amount of data being published by each government. Open data maturity is measured in two dimensions. Open data readiness measures policy-related indicators. Here, EU countries scored 72% in 2017 compared to 57% in 2016 and 47% in 2015. The second dimension is portal maturity, assessing national levels of development of open data portals, where the degree of maturity now reaches 76% in 2017—a 10% increase over 2016 and a genuine leap from the 33% maturity levels of 2015.

On average, Europe has completed 73% of its journey to set up framework conditions for successful data publishing and data reuse, compared to 59% in 2016 and 44% in 2015. Countries are walking the talk and have understood that it’s up to their own public administrations to open data. No one will do it for them. Discussing how to open data also has ripple effects. From one department to another, one agency to another, people are realizing that their neighbor’s data is actually of interest and that, if they want to build meaningful public services, they are more dependent on one another than they previously believed.

It’s time to use open data as an asset to drive digital transformation from within, particularly in the public sector where putting up a data infrastructure and data sharing practices is key to being part of the data revolution. In the private sector, large and small businesses are slowly waking up to the fact that open data isn’t just something for the nerds to play around with over a rainy weekend.

I’m telling you—that driverless car you see yourself using in the future—what’s really holding it back isn’t so much the technology, but rather the accuracy of the data about roads, road signs, and infrastructure. Now, think about what this would mean for better energy management, smart and useful AI. Well, that depends on continuous and improved data publication.

 

Read more about the report on Open Data Maturity in Europe

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[1] Creating Value Through Open Data

[2] Reusing Open Data : Companies Transforming Open Data into Economic and Societal Value

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