4th IODC

Blog IODC 2016
Madrid. October 6-7, 2016


The societal benefits of open data: going beyond quantifiable financial benefits

There are a lot of economic benefits resulting from the use of Open Data, but there are numerous positive effects that are not necessarily economic. Openly sharing data can reduce search costs and makes monitoring easier. It enables faster and easier access to information, better resource allocation, increased automation, standardisation and interoperability. Better decision making is one of the main benefits of Open Data sharing, also known as “data-driven decision making”.

Efficiency is an important factor in all companies of all sectors. To provide an illustration of the po­tential non-financial gains, three exemplar indicators are assessed and detailed. The first one is how Open Data can save lives through efficiency gains. The second one is time saving in the transportation sector. This sector is more mature in terms of sharing and using Open Data throughout Europe and will give a good indication of the potential benefits of Open Data for other sectors. The last one is focused on environmental benefits, as this is a subject of growing importance and will cross-cut through most if not all sectors of the economy.

Saving lives

The advantage of providing open healthcare data is to get better insight in the quality of healthcare. It does not only help patients choosing a healthcare provider based on treatment outcomes, but stimulates healthcare providers to share best practices as well. In emergency situations, every minute counts. If effective cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is administered within three to five minutes, it can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival. Every minute without CPR and defibril­lation reduces the chance of survival by 10%. Open Data can improve an effective response by analysing where to place equipment and station personnel.

Relevant examples: LuckyMe, PulsePoint, Trafford council, GoodSAM, Ginger.io, Connect & Coach, London Fire Brigade, CRASH program, LifeSaver

Saving time

Many cities and public transport organizations provided API’s to be used for application development. It is important to focus on reducing travel time, as individuals tend to commute over longer distances. Congestion costs in Europe are about 1% of GDP every year. One way of reducing travel time is through a better distribution of all cars that are on the road at the same time. Providing people with an alternative route will increase the distribution on different roads and reduce the length of traffic jams.

Relevant examples: Warszawski Ninja, Never Run, TravelSmarter, Wild! van de Spits, Carambla – Park Smartly, Tranquilien

Environmental benefits

A topic of growing concern is the greenhouse effect and the overall impact of climate change. Governments are searching for new ways of reducing the toxic effects of, for example, CO2 emission and improvement of waste management. Open Data can be useful to reduce those adverse effects as well, by providing more insight into the specific areas where those problems cause the most health risks and act on them. Another important topic is energy. Individual households can equally benefit from Open Data, by assessing their energy consumption.

Relevant examples: RE:CYCLE, Plume Labs, Päästöt.fi

The examples mentioned above only contain a small selection of the enormous amount of useful applications that exist. Feel free to share your own example of how you used Open Data and Tell us your Story on the European Data Portal.

Do you want to learn more about efficiency gains? Read the full report ‘Creating Value through Open Data’.

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