The Future of Data – an import.io white paper

The Data Summit London earlier this year brought together some of the greatest minds in the tech and data scene. To take advantage of their brilliance we asked a few of the main stage speakers to contribute to our White Paper: The Future of Data. In it you’ll be able to read about “Growing Industries with Data” by Paul Joyce from Geckoboard, “Using Data to Predict the Future” by BigML, “The Importance of Data Literacy” by Martins Vaivars from Infogr.am, “Data Privacy Concerns Us All” by Charles Arthur from The Guardian, “Web Data in Government” by Andrew Fogg from import.io, and “Data Will Change Everything” by JP Rangaswami from Salesforce.

The Future of Data

Introduction by David White

At its core, import.io is the manifestation of the belief that integrated access to data, especially from the web, is going to be the most important technological advantage in the next 10 years.

The internet represents the largest repository of information in the world. Experts estimate that the sum total of information available online amounts to be around 1,200 exabytes of data which, if you placed it all on CD’s, would reach to the moon five times. The amount of digital information doubles roughly every two years, and today, less than two percent of information is non-digital.

The age of Big Data is here. The world is quickly becoming “datafied”. Locations, prices, words, relationships and even the things you like on Facebook can all be stored, measured and analysed – potentially for profit. The possibilities of what could be achieved if all that information was available programmatically at an affordable price was the driving motivation for founding import.io.

We believe that data is the future. It’s widespread use will produce a marked transformation in how society processes information; not just in the business sector, but in every aspect of human life. To give you an example, experts estimate that simply by using data to drive efficiency, the US Healthcare Industry could create more that $300 billion in value – every year.

The possibilities of what we can achieve with data are endless. It will develop new sectors of the economy, disrupt industries, drive innovation and create an estimated 4.4 million jobs in the next year alone. As a society, we have only just scratched the surface of what access to data can do and the insights it can bring.

Already we’ve seen a few early pioneers who are using web data to do some amazing things and generate some very real value (some of which you’ll read about in this paper). So far we’ve helped a number of large corporations improve their bottom line and save countless man hours; allowed hundreds of small startups to launch a business or disrupt an industry; and given a major charity the evidence it needed to lobby for real policy changes; all due to the ability to seamlessly access critical data that wasn’t previously available.

This is just the beginning. Data belongs in the hands of people who can, and will, do amazing things with it. Already, our users have created over 100,000 APIs on our platform, which means they’ve opened up more data in the last 6 months than has existed in the last 10 years.

The Structured Web is well on it’s way to becoming a reality, and as you’ll hear from these top-level experts in the data industry, access to it is only the first step to unlocking its true potential. Import is merely a tool, but we hope that it is one that will act as a catalyst for change, innovation and growth. In this paper we’ve brought together some of the brightest minds in the data space as a way of inspiring you to keep finding new and innovative ways to use data.

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