Big data has become a key basis for professional firms to compete and grow, and it already affects every area of business, including real estate, construction, and built environment. Spatially-referenced big data affects every aspect of the survey profession, and chartered surveyors need to understand what big data is and address its implications. These vary from smart cities and smart buildings to information on property related to building costs and property markets. When it comes to this trend, some of the professionals may be behind the curve and may be poorly equipped to capitalize on this omnipresent technology through training and experience. Smart city initiatives using traffic monitoring, environmental sensors, and mobile apps have provided local governments with new data, and even though further information on transport habits, public health, and air and water conditions increases a host of questions about what cities should do with it all, there is one potentially profitable solution: selling it.
By selling them to private-sector third-party developers, cities can and should turn their new data streams into new revenue sources. By licensing third parties to develop mirrors of San Diego's open-data portfolio, that includes over 120 datasets, a new revenue stream could come.
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As local governments keeping open-data platforms deliberately monetizing them, the demand for open data becomes apparent given what developers outside have been able to create with municipal data. Open data's most incredible thing is that third parties do amazing things with that too. Inherently, monetizing city data does not mean putting a paywall around open datasets, but rather charging data uses that go beyond simple browsing. It's not that valuable by itself, the streetlight data, but it's more valuable when it's mixed with other things.
Big data is a technology that has many advantages. It provides an opportunity for those who can successfully navigate and enact the technology landscape, but in the face of changing technologies, the risk of professional marginalization is always present, and big data is bringing great change to the built environment. Today, every business knows that interpreting big data in a proper way can bring them high benefits.