Anyone with an inclination to help diversify the Hampton Roads economy and break the economic bounds of our physical infrastructure is invited to the kickoff meeting for Hampton Roads Open Data Initiative at 7:00 pm on Tuesday, April 5th at the Slover Library.
Open Data is free, publicly available data that anyone can access and use. Generally speaking it comes from governments at all levels, global non-governmental organizations such as the United Nations and World Bank, the scientific and research communities, and non-profits.
The McKinsey Global Institute estimated there is over $3 trillion in untapped value residing in Open Data in the form of new products and services as well as increased efficiencies in existing products and services.
A great recent example of Open Data in action is the Honey Insured health care company. Two Harvard undergraduates needed health insurance and went to the Affordable Care Act web sites looking for some recommendations. Not satisfied with what they found, they lifted the hood and started looking at the raw data. They quickly realized that there was a lot of information baked into the raw data that was not being presented on the web sites. They realized that with a little bit of data integration and analysis, they could present consumers with much better information for making health care choices. And now they have a company that does just that.
Two long-time local data practitioners — Cathy Green of Virginia Beach, and myself, Rick Jones of Norfolk — have immersed ourselves in the Open Data ecosystem and are presenting a year-long series of free monthly working sessions to interested entrepreneurs and business leaders to help brainstorm new ideas and discuss the mechanics of accessing and using Open Data for business ventures.
The kickoff meeting on April 5th will present a high-level overview of some key facets of Open Data, many examples of businesses that successfully use it, and plot a course for the coming year that aligns with the business community’s interests.
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