Government at every level produces it, as do many global non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. Academia, the scientific research community, and certain non-profits produce it also.
Businesses across the nation and around the world have taken notice and are using Open Data in innovative ways to create new products and services as well as to enhance existing lines of business.
Although Open Data is free for anyone to access, combine, analyze, and otherwise use, creating a sustainable business model is not a free lunch. There can be unique challenges that come with Open Data that need to be considered in any business plan: seeing beyond standard business models to new opportunities, finding the right data among the vast amount that is publicly available, blending many sources into a unified whole, and wrapping it all in manageable policies and standards.
To help interested individuals and companies gain an understanding of how they might use Open Data in their business endeavors and also mitigate the associated challenges, two of the region’s long-time data practitioners – Cathy Green of Virginia Beach, and Rick Jones of Norfolk – have teamed up to create the Hampton Roads Open Data Initiative.
This effort will kicked off on Tuesday, April 5th at the Slover Library, downtown Norfolk. The first session is expected to be a broad overview of Open Data, with discussions about the various facets surrounding its use along and many examples of how different enterprises are using it. Monthly follow-on sessions will focus on specific areas, such as health care, finance, legal services, non-profits, and start-ups, and include sector-specific issues and examples.
The Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce fully supports the Open Data Initiative, and we encourage all members and interested parties to attend these free monthly meeting to decide if Open Data can fit into your vision and business planning.