City data monetization could help our
development roadmap (Live Mint)
Mains Paper 3 : Science and Tech
Prelims level: Data monetization
Mains level: Measures to be followed before setting up Data monetizing platforms
- Data is the new oil.
- Like oil, data also needs to be refined for productive use. Advances in
digital technology are making it possible to collect, store and process
ever-expanding amounts of data.
- This explosion of data holds vast potential to boost innovation,
productivity, and ultimately, economic growth and social value.
Why data monetization is required?
- Governments, especially city administrations, need to explore options to
monetize the data, both structured and raw, so as to create revenue sources
that would help cities become self-sustainable.
- It is all the more important for India, as cities are trying to optimize
their urban service delivery by implementing “Integrated Pan City Smart
Solutions" under the Smart City Mission by generating huge volumes of data.
- Meeting the operational and maintenance cost of digital infrastructure,
estimated at 15-20% of capital annually, will be a daunting task, unless we
monetize city data.
Beginning of the data monetization
- Copenhagen was the world’s first city to monetize public and private
data through its City Data Exchange in 2016.
- It has set up a city exchange in collaboration with a private partner to
create a marketplace for processed city data.
- Some of the data sets available on the platform relate to traffic and
route planning, advertising, use of public spaces, tourism, cultural events
and location-specific offerings.
- The exchange brings suppliers and consumers of data together and acts as
a data market.
- Data suppliers monetize existing data and find new channels for
information and services.
- Similarly, data consumers find access to multiple data sources, which
enables new and improved applications as well as new inputs (for a price)
for planning and forecasting. However, certain information that’s useful to
citizens is provided free.
Data monetizing platforms
- Depending on the size of a city, its population and infrastructure, the
opportunities for data monetization could be enormous.
- Data monetizing platforms (DMPs) can be created at city levels in India
by integrating various data sources.
- These DMPs can act as data markets for the exchange of processed and
- For example, any data related to the environment or traffic may be
useful for a research scholar, who could avail of it via the platform by
paying a nominal amount.
- Similarly, geo-spatial data related to utilities will be useful to
planners and developers, who will be willing to pay a premium for such data.
- Analytic firms and app developers can use raw city data to create
applications and analytics, which can be used for business development.
- Keeping in view the competence required in terms of analytics and
marketing, it is essential to have a Data Monetizing Agency (DMA), to be
selected through a competitive bidding process.
- A long-term concession agreement could be executed between the DMA and a
- The terms could vary, and revenue sharing mechanisms could also be
- Data prices should depend on the category of information. Some of the
open-source data can be free of cost, whereas registered source data can be
- The charges should keep in view the overall business model of the DMA
and its sustainability over a pre-defined period. The government may have
the right to collect a share of revenues, depending on the profitability of
- It is important to address privacy issues related to data before setting
- India is moving towards having a comprehensive Data Protection Act.
- City governments, as data fiduciaries, should lay down appropriate
policies and safeguards to ensure that the rights of citizens (as data
principals) are protected with regard to personal data, in consonance with
- The proposed Data Protection Bill provides for some exemptions for the
processing of personal data for research and statistical purposes.
- Data anonymization must be done prior to offering data on city
- The objective of the policy and regulatory framework should be to
facilitate access to anonymized and aggregated non-personal urban data and
information in both human- and machine-readable forms.
- The policy should pay particular attention to the overall readiness for
- The Government of India has been successful in creating an Open
Government Data (OGD) platform, data.gov.in, for the support of open data.
- This platform lets government organizations publish their data sets in
an open format for free public use.
- Till now, about 300,000 resources have been uploaded to the platform,
which has gathered over 22.4 million views.
- Many of these data sources can be refined and customized. The
government, through a transparent process, can find a technology partner as
a DMA to monetize processed data.
- Expanding the present open data platform into a data monetizing platform
provides a great revenue opportunity for future.