Gil Elbaz, CEO, Factual Inc
Founded by Gil Elbaz in 2007, Factual Inc is an open data platform for application developers that leverage large scale aggregation and community exchange.
As someone who is dedicated to creating high quality and accessible data, I am encouraged that more and more people are realizing that data in massive volumes does not really mean much unless it is high quality, verifiable, relevant, and accessible. The most important trend I see in the world of data today is that the element to create quality and accessible data is entering the mainstream.
The rise in data marketplaces or data exchanges is a great sign because they enable distribution to new customer segments, more creative pricing, as well as easier data sharing. Companies like Microsoft’s Azure Data Marketplace, docs, Factual and EMC/Greenplum are creating exchanges that demonstrate, to paraphrase Bill Joy, that there may be more valuable data outside your company than in it. These marketplaces/exchanges will foster the sharing and using of external data sources and will drive the creation of business models so people can get valuable data at a fair trade. There will be a natural process of quality control as the organizers and participants of the markets seek to protect their brands and insist that those who provide data show that it is correct. Third parties will review the quality of data, as they do for most other products.
The rising adoption of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) outside of the world of tech startups will accelerate data accessibility. Most people do not know that most of the traffic for Twitter comes via APIs. The same is true for other popular Internet companies. APIs allow people to incorporate data directly into applications. To make this work, you have to understand how to build and run an API and what kinds of applications it will support. Companies like Apigee are bringing the infrastructure and knowledge of how to publish APIs to market.
I predict that as more great data becomes accessible through APIs and other means, the idea of a data supply chain will become popular. At Factual, we realized that all over the Internet, relevant data was available, but it was incredibly fragmented, and without any clean standards applied. Our first mission is to collect those fragments along with direct contributions from organizations and individuals and to create data about places and products. We have also created many APIs to help mobile app developers, ad targeting efforts, and businesses. We think that as more and more data becomes accessible, more companies will join us in creating data supply chains.