Stories data tell us

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Guest post from Esteban Mucientes

Financial executive officer at Cuchillo and online marketing consultant. He has collaborated with various Spanish public administrations in the field of communication adaptation strategies, as well as offering formation on digital marketing to a number of public and private organizations. He is also a member of the Teaching Staff in the Master’s Degree of Digital Business at the Business School of the Official Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Valladolid) and the Master’s Degree BrandOffOn at the ESDEN Business School.

Additionally, he is Vice-president at AERCO-PSM.

Those who work in the field of technology have been fighting for years against the assertion that has been introduced into so many people’s subconscious: technology as a means, never as an end.

In the world of open data, we happen to find that assertion in various occasions: data end up becoming the end itself, never a means towards a certain objective.

Antonio Ibáñez stated this perfectly in his article. In this way, data just have the value we can obtain from them; this is why it entails a real approach from industry to the administrations so the data allow each section to obtain proceeds, proceeds that do not have to be merely economic (money as an end is not a good idea either), but they can be moral (more transparency), educational (an easier understanding of data) or, why not, economic (proceeds it offers in terms of reputation, eventually increasing the demand for jobs).

This is why it is crucial to find the story, the connecting link that makes this data have a value, considering that without it, it is going to be impossible to make data be worth anything. That is where the relation of all data comes into play. Just as a cropped photograph does not give the whole body of information and can be self-concerned and tendentious, if we do not have a matching dataset, we will never be able to make the right decisions, nor getting the interested receivers to learn or make data attractive enough for companies so they can achieve revenue. And, beware, that data availability has to be coetaneous, never deferred. All data have to be available simultaneously, without any delay between them, which means a challenge, we know, but it is more than feasible with the resources to which we have access today.

That is to say, what is the meaning of sharing traffic data in real time if they are not accessible simultaneously with pollution data? Traffic is interesting not only to car drivers, who would be able to find and alternative route, but also to pedestrians or cyclists – they would be able to search for quieter and/or safer zones. What is more, if we also make pollution data visible, we could be of greater help considering that we can help people who, having some respiratory disease can choose an alternative route.

The real proceeds of said data is their utility, but to that end we must know the stories that may change, having those data available, and the proceeds that, in the short and long term, we will be able to obtain. These proceeds, even though they may seem to end in a few hands if we monetize them, eventually become general and improve the quality of our mutual environment.

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