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The biggest challenges related to data marketplaces and data monetisation

On 23 July, i3-MARKET hosted its first workshop, dedicated to the needs of potential end-users of the i3-MARKET solutions. The aim of the workshop was to gather the end-users’ view of the data market and to identify challenges related to data marketplaces, data usage and data monetisation. 

While the first part of the workshop was a virtual discussion about data marketplaces between the participants and organisers, the second part was structured as an online workshop organised in different breakout sessions. In order to galvanise participants’ creative input, the workshop employed the so-called “6-3-5 brainwriting” technique.  Developed by German marketing and business consultant Bernd Rohrbach, this technique fosters the rapid production of ideas and proposals in a small group setting. Groups of 6 people have to generate 3 ideas on a given topic in 5 minute-rounds. The workshop started with an open discussion on general issues regarding data marketplace and the data economy. From this discussion, three core issues were identified and discussed in the group brainstorming sessions:

1. Companies struggle with using the data they collect

2. Companies have trouble finding accessible data sets

3. There is a general lack of trust in data marketplaces

The brainstorming sessions led to following results:

1. Companies struggle with using the data they collect

According to the participants, the issue of not being able to use industrial data relates to ecosystem maturity. This can happen, for example, when there is no ecosystem leader and DaaS (Desktop as a service) is not yet established in the respective industry sector.

Participants also pointed to data cost and pricing. First of all, there is a high cost of handling, searching, and managing data. In addition, the value of data is also often unclear, and there is no free data for industrial use. Not being able to use data is also due to a lack of Open Data availability, or to the fact that Open Data is not necessarily available for commercial use, as well as due to the difficulty to find matching or useful data formats. Moreover, there are hurdles at the company level, the major problems being that there is often no clear understanding of the added value of sharing data or that companies are reluctant to share their data. On top of this, there is little compensation for data owners. Lastly, even if a company gathers and manages data, it might not be able to create value from it. Indeed, it takes a completely novel company structure to be able to incorporate knowledge derived from data or to sell it.

2. Companies have trouble finding accessible data sets

Regarding the problematic of finding relevant data, the main issue raised by the participants is the lack of trusted data providers. This is due to the difficulty to identify compliant organisations and matching users or providers, and to the missing standardisation for data extraction and storage. Finding relevant data is a challenge because of the lack of available Open Data, but also because of the high amount of data sources and the difficulty to find third-party data. Finally, the Data Services that are offered by existing marketplaces are still in their early stages, leaving significant room for improvement. Issues like customer support, data anonymisation, and dataset harmonisation are services that are missing or not offered to a full extent in the current ecosystem.

3. There is a general lack of trust in data marketplaces

When addressing the problematic of trust in a data marketplace, the participants cited regulation as one of the main issues. Indeed, there is a need for harmonised European regulation, for example a financial transaction framework, and for setting up  (smart) contracts. Trusting a data marketplace requires to have trusted partners, which is challenging if there is no reliable user authentication and user verification, as well as no authority to turn to in case of conflicts. The source of the data should also be reliable. In addition, the workshop participants would expect from a data marketplace to have clear terms and conditions, a clear pricing model and a clear mention of the data ownership, as well as ease of use. Among other items, they listed search engines, after-sales support, and the possibility to anonymise data and users.

This first workshop offered valuable insights of data-marketplace users and their main issues. Among others, it seems that openness of data is a recurring problem for the participating companies, as it has been stressed throughout the different addressed problematics.

The results of the workshop will allow the i3-MARKET project partners to develop solutions matching real market needs.