Wide data is not fake news – it means business

The European data market is expected to be more than double in value by 2025 reaching up to 147B€[1]. Such a vision of emerging data market requires serious consideration on how to integrate and interconnect digital data.

Industrial and personal data, as well as public data sources (see figure below) for instance, are elements of the presumed data market, which will boost products and services in an unforeseen way.

This evolution marks the start of a revolution on how individuals and businesses connect with each other, and how society can benefit from the avalanche of data. Reflecting to this thought, the famous quote ‘data as a new oil‘, is bluntly misleading. Data lubricates society perhaps, but it will never be out of pump. A major force driving this development is the appearance, existence and growth of multitude of data sources and their fusion. This data, interconnected and fused from a set of x amount of data sources, we call wide data.


European data markets emerge from wide data conforming new ecosystems

In the future looms Data Economy enabled by ecosystems based on wide spectrum of data. We only need to find the ways to exploit it. For a single company, this means first a strategic outlook to the use of data. On one hand, emerging data sets become accessible and one needs to identify what to do with them. On the other hand, the question is how the business will transform or perhaps, be disrupted. In the new data economy users are turning to producers, as transformation in media industry shows us. The following three aspects form basis for transformation:

1) regulation and personal data

2) industrial data

3) data platforms integrating variety of data sources.

Regulation and personal data

Europe has done some good choices towards data economy. One of them is the General Data Protection Regulation – an approach to protect our privacy in data market – and the real start for personal data, sometimes called myData. GDPR has been widely under scrutiny, but when the regulation has been enforced, the only way forward is to find clever ways to use data. Another strong game changer is the user.

Currently few large corporations, often described as platform companies, dominate the data markets. They reign digital platforms and hold vast troves of data. Even these giants face a disruption, if either they do not comply with rules or users do not find the platform attractive enough. Such transformation can be seen within social media – Instagram and Snapchat are the choices of younger generations. When changes in regulation and user behavior occur – it means that businesses must be ready to consider new ways of working.

Industrial data

One emerging factor in wide data that businesses must take into account is the availability of industrial data. It is common that industry keeps the data in company cloud and data sharing is not really an issue. While sensible it may be for many reasons, this cautiousness is not necessary in emerging data economy. On the contrary, when data sovereignty is considered, value networks can share data and exploit it in business. In addition, the key question is how to combine the different data sources, open, myData and commercial data in a trusted manner.

There are many examples, which tell us that device such as, watches, or energy meters or even vehicles become platforms for digital services. Eventually, the promise of data sharing and integration from wide spectrum of data sources is that there are new digital service business opportunities. This is a self-resonating effect, the more data is available the more business opportunities emerge from data-driven digital transformation.

Data platforms

In order to implement new data economy it is necessary to rethink also data platforms. They must meet regulations, be flexible with the changes of use patterns and ensure data sovereignty.

A single massive data platform is not the solution but rather network of data platforms glued with data sharing solutions enabling interconnection of data services. Such data platforms have already started to emerge with the promise to unlock closed data value networks by facilitating the access, transfer and use of data between interested actors[2] in both industrial and personal data domains.

Finally, true data economy can blossom when sensible regulation is set and carefully designed technical solutions implemented. Platforms integrating wide data will boost emergence of novel business models for a plethora of new services following every step in the lifecycle of the data.


Tuomo Tuikka
Research Manager

Katri Valkokari VTT

Katri Valkokari
Research Manager


[1] IDC, 2017, European Data Market SMART 2013/0063, Final Report,  https://www.key4biz.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/SMART20130063_Final-Report_030417_2.pdf

[2] IDC study report 28/7/2016 https://docs.google.com/a/open-evidence.com/viewer?a=v&pid=sites&srcid=b3Blbi1ldmlkZW5jZS5jb218ZG93bmxvYWR8Z3g6NjJiZTQ1NTYyZjdlOGNhNg

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