The data marketplace, where users can hunt for specialized data, is becoming a lucrative market with growing opportunities, technologists stressed at a Silicon Valley technical conference Wednesday.
"Data is a $100 billion market worldwide," said Pete Forde, founder and chief technical officer at BuzzData, during a session at the O'Reilly Strata conference, which featured discussions on dealing with large data volumes and the concept of "Big Data." There are entrenched players, such as news tickers, as well as open source upstarts such as BuzzData, he said.
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There is no universally accepted definition of what a data marketplace is, according to Forde. "There are actually so many different definitions that the only thing in common is that these are organizations that want to be the places you go to get the data you need," he said. But there is a data products value chain and opportunities for disruption and innovation, said co-presenter Peter Soderling, founder and CEO of Stratus Security, which offers its Stratus API management platform for Web applications.
Data sets are not all created equal, Forde stressed, and there are factors that need to be accounted for such as accuracy and freshness. "If you get past a certain point for a lot of data sets, the data is now disinformation," he said.
BuzzData, is developing a data collaboration hub, a service in which participants can get data and then discuss it. Collaboration services for private data sets would be offered via subscriptions. "Basically, our sort of [modus operandi] is to create an ecosystem of people that are excited about data but come with lots of different skills and opinions and ideas," Forde said.
Soderling cited the concept of data-as-a-service, listing data markets, vendor data stores and dataset downloads as examples. He also lauded REST-based APIs and their role in the data marketplace. "Finally, we have a way to integrate data and systems and services with each other that is not so complicated," he said.
Companies such as Infochimps and Microsoft already are involved in the data marketplace. And earlier in the day Microsoft's Zane Adams, general manager of the company's Windows Azure cloud platform, talked about the company's Windows Azure Marketplace DataMarket, Microsoft's data-as-a-service offering. "It's a one-stop shop for data," he said. The service has been in business for 90 days and thus far has accumulated 5,000 subscriptions and conducted 3 million transactions, he said.
Customers include companies such as Dun and Bradsteet, which offers up business information via the service. Microsoft is integrating its service with tools such as Excel, with Excel users able to import data from DataMarket. "By integrating it into the everyday tools we are seeing the usage go up," Adams said.
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