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Big data openness means much more than open data

Big data has been around a long time but more recent talk of ‘open data’ is changing perspectives on how to best utilize data wherever it resides and in whatever format. Big data and the newer phenomenon ‘open data’ are closely related but they’re not the same. Both types of data can transform the world, but when government turns big data into open data it’s especially powerful.

Joel Gurin, Founder and Editor, OpenDataNow.com describes open data as accessible public data that people, companies, and organizations can use to launch new ventures, analyze patterns and trends, make data-driven decisions, and solve complex problems. Open data should also be relatively easy to use, although there are gradations of ‘openness.’

Openness is not however enough. Data must be intelligently open, meaning that it should be discoverable, accessible, intelligible, assessable and re-usable. The use of big data to support greater openness and accountability and also needs to ensure privacy protection for big data analyses in areas such as health; law enforcement and financial history.

Openness builds bridges between platforms and people. However, for every new piece of technology that embraces openness, there are a dozen that are completely walled off.

For communications service providers (CSPs), the vast stores of data they amass is never fully utilized, often because it is held in differing systems in differing formats and differing structures. A group of TM Forum members have joined forces to address this issue working together in a project called the Big data openness for application development ecosystem Catalyst.

Catalysts are rapid fire, member-driven proof-of-concept projects which both inform and leverage TM Forum best practices and standards, connecting service providers, technology suppliers, and global enterprises to create innovative solutions to common industry challenges.

This catalyst is about big data openness and monetization, it explores an open and dynamic mechanism to help service providers to extract the full value of data and to increase their business revenue. Its main objective is to build an openness platform for service providers and vendors in an ecosystem that will allow them to get the most value from their data. That same data can then be made available to application developers so that they can come up with useful applications that will help the end users to enjoy a better customer experience and to also increase the business value for the service providers.

The project will be exploring the best way for boosting big data value and will define approaches for open data and standardization. Deliverables will include an open data environment defined by several layers including platforms, languages, tools, application programming interfaces (APIs), Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and data. Data refining (normalization, aggregation, correlation, key information identification) and ‘openness agility’ are the major innovation targets of this project.

It allows different parties (this catalyst includes a data ingestion party, a data refining party, and an application development party) to engage in the data application ecosystem easily, and will provide online service and API configuration mechanisms for enhancing agile data openness. According to ever-changing business requirements CSPs can leverage the data value by utilizing this open framework and information sharing.

There are two champions here – STC and China Mobile. Participants include: Huawei; Viavi; Guavus; HighJet; and EBIstrategy. Working together, these players create an agile, accelerated environment to come up with a solution that everyone can benefit from.

The Big Data openness for application development ecosystem Catalyst will be demonstrated at TM Forum Live! 2016 in Nice, France, in May.

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