Enrich your products with open data

The idea of turning data into cash flow makes many people scratch their heads. Open data is often advertised as free source material, but how to monetise it?

Turning raw open data into profitable business can be challenging indeed. But what can be achieved by creatively combining data from multiple sources?

Let’s look at housing company notice boards as an example. Electronic notice boards are already available on the market. Adding a general meeting invitation, or a notice about a residents’ gathering or a temporary water supply cut-off on the screen with only a few mouse clicks is convenient. Companies have also experimented with on-screen advertisements.

But what if these notice boards were used in a more versatile way? There is an abundance of free data available to enrich services. Combining open data with the data collected by a housing company can make the life of residents easier and improve their well-being.

The information screen could show, for example, information about the weather conditions, the opening times of the local grocery shop or library, or even the queuing time at the health centre. It could also show the real-time location of snowploughs after a snow storm.

If residents are given an opportunity to add their own notices to the notice board, neighbours can conveniently inform each other about housewarming parties or offer an apology for the inconvenience caused by a home renovation project.

Can the idea be taken even further? Many housing companies already utilise smartkeys with a programmable chip, for example for scheduled access to the basement and attic. What if the key was custom programmed for each resident? For example, upon entering the hallway, a resident could scan their key against the screen and retrieve the timetables of their favourite bus routes, or information about last-minute ticket offers at the local theatre. They could also mark the general meeting invitation as read.

Let your ideas soar! Cities actually hope that the data they have opened will be used commercially. You can get additional ideas in data catalogues:

The Six Cities data opening plans: www.databusiness.fi/roadmap (in Finnish)
Capital region: hri.fi/
Tampere: data.tampere.fi
Oulu: avoindata.ouka.fi
Turku: lounaistieto.fi