The University of Southampton

Southampton leads the world on emerging open data industry as ODI opens for business

Published: 
4 December 2012

The Open Data Institute (ODI), founded by University of Southampton Professors Nigel Shadbolt and Sir Tim Berners-Lee, opens officially today.

Based in Shoreditch in East London's Tech City, the world-leading ODI will become the 'go to' venue for those seeking to create new products, entrepreneurial opportunities and economic growth from open data.

It will promote innovation driven by the Government’s Open Data policy, helping the public sector use its own data more effectively and developing the capability of UK businesses to exploit the commercial value of open data.

The ODI’s work will be presented to Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude, who says: “The creation of the Open Data Institute – the first organisation of its kind in the world – underlines our determination to maximise the potential of data as a material for economic and social growth. The ODI, and the expert team assembled there, are already helping to foster a new generation of innovative businesses built on open data, and to develop the specialist skills among data technologists that will see the creation of new products and services. We look forward to working with them to make data more readily available and accessible, and to further cement the UK’s position as an international leader in open data.”

The ODI was announced in last year’s Autumn Statement. It is receiving partial funding from the Government’s Technology Strategy Board (TSB) – £2m a year over five years. The organisation was the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Nigel Shadbolt and has been substantially supported through its start-up phase with resources and services from the University of Southampton.

ODI Chairman and Southampton Professor of Artificial Intelligence, Nigel Shadbolt says: “I’m delighted to see our vision for the ODI made real. A world first, the ODI demonstrates both UK commitment and leadership. It shows what becomes possible when you make data available and build the conditions for people to use it to create new products and services. The ODI will be a catalyst for business, innovation and greater openness.”

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Chair of Computer Science at the University of Southampton, adds: “People are looking to the UK as being a leader. A lot of people have come to me since they heard of plans to launch the ODI with questions about how they can launch one in their own country. I think it’s great to have somewhere to centralise a lot of experience, a lot of the brilliant work that people have been doing in this area both within the UK and in the international community. This is just the start of amazing things that are going to happen in this space.”

Current research by Deloitte reveals key features of an evolving open data market. As part of its start-up activities, the ODI has been working with business experts to assess the landscape.

The Deloitte analysis reveals that:

• The UK is leading the world in open data. Whilst data.gov.uk (in which Professors Shadbolt and Berners-Lee had a key role in its development) does not have the same quantity of data as government open data sites in countries including the US and France, in the period studied by Deloitte, data.gov.uk received more daily visits than either data.gouv.fr. or data.gov.; • Between January 2010 and September 2012, demand for open data on data.gov.uk, measured by the average number of page views for each dataset, has grown by 285 per cent; • There are significant variances between supply and demand for open data in different industry sectors; • As the environment develops, businesses are organising themselves in to five key “archetypes” based on the ways they use open data. Costi Perricos, Deloitte Analytics public sector leader, says: “Data has been referred to as the new raw material of the 21st century. Used wisely, open data can create opportunities for individuals and organisations, both in the public and private sectors, to make more informed and more effective decisions about the issues facing them today. While the open data market is still relatively immature in the UK, demand appears to be increasing. As a result of the rapid growth and availability of data today, we can expect to see a new generation of online citizens and businesses emerging.”

Share this article FacebookGoogle+TwitterWeibo

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×