How is Open Data influencing key industries in the UK?

Open Data has the potential to save lives, fight crime, influence minds and provide valuable business insights that can impact us all. We’re cognisant of the growing compliance and regulatory tax that sits on this wealth of information and keeps it from falling into the wrong hands, but too little do we hear of the impactful ways the interexchange of data is benefitting specific industries.

So, in a world full of increasing concern over the use of both personal and professional information for bad, this open Data Day, we have spoken to key experts in their own fields about how data sharing can be a force for good.

Healthcare: Nick Jewell, director, Solutions Marketing, Alteryx

“Today marks a celebration of the possibilities that Open Data presents. Healthcare is a prime example of an industry increasingly adopting advanced analytics, benefitting patients and reducing costs by analysing the goldmine of healthcare data available to extract actionable insights. In particular, data science and analytics are having an impact on reducing the administration of opioids in Emergency Departments across the USA.

“Innovative healthcare systems and government organisations are now leveraging advanced data analytics in meaningful ways to reduce the over-reliance on opioids, proving that breaking down data borders can have huge benefits. By analysing census data on drug use with demographic information from various geographic regions, a predictive model was developed to more easily identify patterns for appropriate use.

“The more data that we can safely and appropriately open up in order to predict, track and analyse global trends, the more advanced analytic techniques we can apply to vital services such as healthcare, thereby improving patient care and optimising critical resources.”

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Finance: Tobias Neale, head of Delivery, Contis

“The free movement of data is imperative to businesses across all industries by providing improved insights, but more importantly better customer experiences which is particularly pertinent in the FinTech industry where digital transformation is rife.

“New Open Banking legislation – like the second Payments Services Directive (PSD2), for example – is helping to transform the way companies access data in the Financial Services industry. By mandating the opening of banks’ APIs to third parties, innovators have greater freedom to meet increasing demands for more personalised and seamless banking and payments experiences. While traditional banks may at first find it difficult to adapt to the changes, the true digital disruptors will see them as huge opportunities – after all, the UK is leading the way in this API-led revolution, and the rest of Europe looking on with great interest as to how it will improve customer experiences in a way we haven’t seen before.

“What is important to remember, however, is that these new freedoms do come with enhanced consumer protection rules in order to safeguard customers and put more obligation on payment providers to ensure security. It is vital that PSD2 and this more accessible exchange of data is considered within the wider context of all the other regulatory initiatives in play across the UK that help define the battle against today’s sophisticated fraud threats.”

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Telecoms: Aengus Rooney, head of Solutions Engineering at Unravel

“Having access to large volumes of data from disparate sources in real-time provides an incredible competitive advantage to any businesses competing for market share. Acquiring, processing and analysing the data in real time results in immediate competitive advantage. Mining the gathered from large complex data sets is likely to unlock deep insights, and can be used for decision-making and trend-spotting immediately. But acquiring and processing large volumes of data is often just the start of the journey to fully ‘operationalise’ an end-to-end data pipeline and implementing a robust data operations (DataOps) discipline.

“This is especially true in the telecommunications industry where effective competition is key to progress in a regulated and mature market. Having a strong data catalogue, effective governance, and robust DataOps processes, both with proprietary data and data from third party or open sources, allows data to be translated to business insights much more efficiently and effectively.

Combining multiple data sources with DataOps teams and practices result in efficient workflows that support an organisation’s data-driven applications to produce more enterprise wide results compared to previously possible with traditional static approaches. Combining proprietary with open data results in a wealth of opportunity for enrichment, correlation and insights, and ensures the analysts in the business are fully equipped.

“In essence, DataOps ensures all data sources are being efficiently used to the fullest and, in order to effectively implement, organisations should look to solutions that can provide tooling and framework for access, integration, modelling and visualisation of data cross the entire stack. This way, businesses can detect unexpected variation as well as generation operations and applications stats that help them get ahead.”

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Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...

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