Fri | Oct 18, 2019

Open Data Conference a success

Published:Wednesday | May 18, 2016 | 12:01 AM
From left: Dr Maurice McNaughton, director of the Centre of Excellence for IT-enabled Innovation at the Mona School of Business and Management; Laura Manley, co-founder for the US-based Centre for Open Data Enterprise; Katelyn Rodgers, project manager for the United Kingdom-based Open Knowledge International; and Dr Sameer Verma, Professor - Information Systems from the San Francisco State University, in discussion at the UWI regional headquarters on May 6.

The fifth annual Developing the Caribbean Conference and Codesprint (DevCa) was held from May 5-6 and explored how the Caribbean could utilise data to drive its responses to global changes in the public and private sector. The conference has received strong commendation from its partner, the Mona School of Business and Management (MSBM).

Open data is the idea that some data should be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other mechanisms of control.

One of the major findings of the conference was that through the ongoing release of open data there was earning potential for the region of US$272 million.

In his welcome to participants in the conference, Professor Densil Williams said, "In an increasingly knowledge-based economy, data will become the next source of competitive advantage and therefore it is important that we develop in a very serious way the discourse around data and more specifically open data."

Also addressing the conference, Matthew McNaughton, executive director of Slashroots said, "Globally, the data revolution is assessing the actions required to respond to questions around how data is produced and used. There are several important questions that are currently being raised and even as a global community faces this challenge. The Caribbean must also redefine its approach to open data."

The conference included keynote presentations from international speakers Professors Sanjeev Khagram, coordinator of the United Nations Global Partnership on Sustainable Development Data, Bruno Pouezat, United Nations Development Programme resident coordinator for Jamaica, and Katelyn Rodgers of the Open Knowledge Institute.

Presentations were also made by Herman Athias, CEO of eGov; Dr Marcia Forbes, co-founder of Phase Three Productions Limited among others.

The invitation-only workshop was facilitated by the Centre for Open Data Enterprise and featured several Jamaican business leaders in discussions on how open data can support value creation and growth in the private sector. It also provided a unique opportunity for technologists, organisations, researchers and entrepreneurs across the region to network while using tech innovation to solve some of the region's biggest challenges. DevCa is the Caribbean's leading platform for exploring the intersection of digital technologies, today's biggest challenges and the future of the region.