Success Factors for Open Data in Dubai and the Middle East
When thinking about the potential impact of open data in the Middle East, one of the most critical factors is the government’s view on commercialization: how important is it to generate revenue from the open data, as opposed to keeping data free, and incentivizing higher engagement and the potential for greater public benefit? Government entities that focus on the immediate revenues they can generate out of selling their data (in whatever form), may be risking the longterm potential of open data, which is more valuable but also requires more time and patience. However, while governments have a responsibility to share data to fuel the digital economy, they ultimately need to generate revenue as well, at least for the sustainability of such initiatives. Beyond the concerns regarding commercialization, in the MENA region, some governments have privatized or outsourced some core services – like their transportation systems, etc – and therefore some of their data resides with privatized entities.
What is the government’s role in establishing the city / country as a hub for information innovation? Legislation and encouragement from government entities are needed for startups to embark on open data projects. The private sector’s contribution in R&D is also crucial for