Japan, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan are to form an “Asian Open Data Alliance” to increase government transparency and public participation, serve as the foundation for innovative services and create economic value. Open data initiatives are seen as critical to the success of IoT and an open data project for Australia was one of the work streams proposed in the recent Communications Alliance report on IoT in Australia.
Few details of the project have emerged. It was announced in a press release from Taiwan’s Industrial Development Bureau, a unit within its Ministry of Economic Affairs, following the 2015 Asia Pacific Open Data Summit hosted by the Bureau in Taiwan. The press release said only that representatives of the participating nations had “announced the joint preparation of an ‘Asian Open Data Alliance’.”
(There is already an ‘Open Data Alliance’. It was founded in 2012 by QuBit, Google, Marin, Ensighten and Criteo to create a new standard in Web data.)
The release also quoted Taiwan’s vice premier Chang San-Cheng expressing the hope that the establishment of an Asian Open Data Alliance would lead to the design of an Open Data index suitable for Asian countries.
Open data fundamental to IoT in Australia
The Comms Alliance report, Enabling the Internet of Things for Australia, said the ability to access data and to share data was “a fundamental requirement and key enabler for IoT.”
It cited a report commissioned from IDC by cloud services provider CommVault, saying “So-called data silos within Asia-Pacific organisations – including many in Australia – are limiting the ability of major organisations to make insight-based decisions, and resulting in increased IT costs. … Data silos are seen as repositories of fixed data that an organisation does not regularly use in its day-to-day operation, or make easily available to other systems in the organisation.”
The report also cited an estimate of the economic benefit of open data in Australia undertaken by Gruen, Houghton and Tooth that had put the current aggregate direct and indirect value of government data in Australia at up to $25 billion per annum.
The report observed: “By reinvigorating open data policies, there would be a contribution to Australia’s cumulative GDP growth of $16 billion per annum or around one percent of GDP over the next five years. Australia could take the lead in opening up data sets and enabling sharing which can underpin IoT acceleration.”
One of the six workstreams proposed in the report was for the development of IoT open data and data sharing principles and guidelines with possible sectoral focus, and the development of privacy guidelines for use of IoT data.
Comms Alliance IoT work kicks off
The report’s co-author, Frank Zeichner, a director of CreatorTech, said the Asian open data initiative was very timely. “While the scoping, immediate goals and timing are up to the workstreams to decide, there is no doubt that international collaboration will be important and that data sharing will be one of the key elements of that. We will have some very knowledgeable people in WS3 [the open data workstream], so, at this stage, I’m optimistic we can achieve some practical and valuable things.”
He said the open data worksteam, along with two of the others — WS1, collaboration and WS6, IoT startup innovation — would be started by 3 December, and the remaining three would start in early February.