Earlier today, Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Nigel Shadbolt posted a great article on The Guardian’s Data Blog, Our manifesto for government data.
They announced the public availability of the U.K.’s beta data.gov.uk site, a cornucopia of over 2,500 data sets of government data — everything from agriculture statistics to workplace employment by industry — open to anyone to use. It’s a great example of the 8th business model for data.
And most of it adheres to proper linked data standards.
Marketers should pay attention to this initiative. When you read the introduction to their article, it’s not hard to imagine this being about business instead of government, customers instead of constituents:
Data underpins our economy and our society — data about how much is being spent and where, data about how schools, hospitals and police are performing, data about where things are and data about the weather.
Yet until recently, not many non-technical people concerned themselves with data and how it could be used better.
That’s changing, and changing quickly. There are growing expectations of greater accountability and transparency of public bodies. New technologies allow data to be managed and re-used quickly and cost-effectively. A greater number of people have the innovation and the skills to use data. And organizations from government to the private sector, from voluntary groups to the media are hungry for data.
Everyone is hungry for data. And as the linked data movement advances, making data as easily shareable and interlinkable as web pages are today, businesses are going to have a tremendous opportunity to use data as a marketing channel.
Initiatives such as data.uk.gov — and its U.S. sister site across the pond, www.data.gov — will help to build critical mass for such interlinked data and demonstrate how useful it can be.
Want to be inspired? Take a look at some of the innovative applications that are leveraging such open data in the U.K., such as Planning Alerts that notifies you when construction projects are being planned in your neighborhood. Useful, eh? (Would have altered the opening plot line in The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, that’s for sure.)
What are the potential data-driven applications that your customers, partners, employees, and fans could build to promote your company’s mission and add value to your ecosystem?