How Companies Are Using Open Data to Create Innovative Products

Image Credit: Open Data Institute
Types of Open Data Used by UK Companies. Image Credit: Open Data Institute

Open Data Institute is introducing a series of studies that focus on the theme of business and open data’s potential value.  In the report, Research: Open Data Means Business, 270 UK companies were identified and analyzed that used, produced or invested in open data as part of their business.. Interesting highlights of the research:

  • Most surveyed companies (70%) can be defined as micro’ enterprises – with fewer than 10 employees.
  • 8% were larger enterprises with 251 or more employees.
  • Many were in the information and communication sector, with the others representing 12 industries, from research to agriculture.
  • Innovation strategies include “using open data to exploit gaps across markets and identify business opportunities, create new products and services, and develop new business models. Many also publish open data themselves, which helps increase the data supply and engage more customers.”
  • Most (70%) use open data provided by government.
  • Almost half (49%) use open data from non-government sources, such as OpenCorporates,, and community projects that include DBpedia, DMOZ, Geonames and Wikimapia.
  • Geospatial, transport, environmental, and demographic types of data are used most.
  • Shoothill is an example of a company that understands the value of access innovation. It specializes in online mapping and data visualization solutions and “started developing open data products when commissioned to integrate flood risk data from the Environment Agency in web-based street maps.” Says Rod Plummer, Managing Director: “A lot of people have seen our flood maps now. People are engaging with us to build systems that use either part or some of this data or mix it with other datasets, to come up with something useful. This has become quite a big part of our business.”
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