Open Data

A Big Bang in the French Big Data Policy

Written by Maxime Goin and Le Thy Nguyen, Embassy of Switzerland in France

Big data as a growth driver

Since his first day in office, French President Hollande has considered “big data” as one of the key elements of the national strategy to foster innovation and the competitiveness of the country. The French ambition in that field manifested itself through the creation of a Ministry for Digital Affairs, held by Axelle Lemaire since 2014. The fact that she reports directly to the Minister of the Economy, Emmanuel Macron, confirms that the big data policy is considered as a potential direct growth driver.




#Big Data in #Austria

Written by Fenja Läser, Embassy of Switzerland in Austria

In 2014, the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (Österreichische Forschungsgesellschaft FFG) and the Austrian Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT) commissioned a study entitled “#Big Data in #Austria – Austria’s Potential and Best Practices for Big Data”. The study analyses the potential of Big Data technologies for the Austrian market, ranging from managing the data deluge to semantic and cognitive systems. Moreover, the study identifies emerging opportunities arising from the utilization of publicly available data, such as Open Government Data, and company internal data by covering multiple domains. If you would like to know more about this study, this articles offers a summary of #Big Data in #Austria.

Big Data Austria


Datacenters and new generation Telescope, Big Data development in Chile

Written by Frank Schürch, Embassy of Switzerland in Chile

According to Prof. Marcos Sepulveda, from the School of Engineering at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, “Chile has not yet adopted Big Data in a significant manner. Data from the ENTI 2014 (National Study on Information Technology), shows that out of 142 CIO (Chief Information Officer) surveyed, only 4.2% said this technology was in use in their organization. Interest in Big Data is nevertheless confirmed, since 21.8% of respondents revealed they had plans to implement it in the short term.” In this article, two exemples of chilean initiative in Big Data, namely datacenters and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope will be discussed.



Measuring Impact over Size: Introducing The Open Data Institute

Written by Philippe Roesle, Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom

The availability and accessibility of data is by no means an end-point; in fact, it is only the beginning. If data strives to offer an added value to prospective end-users, it must be sorted, analysed, visualised and fully interpreted. The availability of various types of data constitutes a very fertile playing field for nascent startup companies. In order to support the exploitation of big and open data, the UK’s national innovation agency, Innovate UK (together with the Omidyar Network), has invested in an interesting non-profit organisation: the Open Data Institute (ODI). Unique in many ways, the ODI not only advocates the release of more public and private sector data as open datasets, it also actively supports the creation of value with a view to achieve social, environmental, and economic impact. For this, the ODI has built a centre of excellence for open data in the fields of research, learning, advocacy, consulting, and startup incubation.


Italy: Big Data and Science Networks Interview with Dr. Claudio Grandi INFN

Written by Ruth Theus Baldassarre, Embassy of Switzerland in Italy

On October 1st 2015, the NRP 75 “Big data” was launced by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), it focuses on the technical and societal issues raised by big data. The five-year programme, funded with 25 Million CHF, will undertake research on computing (data analysis, algorithm, cryptology), data management/security and infrastructure. In this context it appears interesting to highlight the experience of the Italian Academic & Research Network GARR[1].

Computing networks


Massachusetts’ Big Data Ecosystem – A Success Story

Written by Simone Schmieder,  swissnex Boston

Success stories often begin with collaborations of different partners. This is also the case for the Massachusetts Big Data ecosystem. A main pillar for the success of the state’s big data ecosystem was the Massachusetts Big Data Initiative launched by then-Governor Deval Patrick in 2012. The initiative engages collaboratively with industry, academia, government, and nonprofit partners.

The Innovation Institute at the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative directs the Mass Big Data Initiative to expand, leverage, and deploy regional big data assets and resources, supporting strategic development of new opportunities that will boost Massachusetts’ comparative advantages, and addressing the ecosystem’s unmet needs and barriers.

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative

Massachusetts Technology Collaborative


Human Capital Development for Big Data in South Africa

written by Jacquelene Friedenthal, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa

Even though South Africa used to lag a little behind other countries in developing new technologies, it is now fully committed to catching up in certain areas. As described in this article, the progress in research linked to Big Data has been tremendous thanks to the implementation of appropriate measures. For instance, the government is creating new higher education and training institutions to overcome the lack of qualified personnel for the development of Big Data. Furthermore, the authorities also support the implementation of real policy for opening data gathered by the government. The private sectors has picked up on these trends and has also begun to invest in new tools using big data to develop predictive models. However, the government is making sure that privacy is preserved thanks to the Protection of the Personal Information Act. Read more about these subjects in this article.

Courtesy of ATA, a SETI Institute. Photos taken by Seth Shostak

Courtesy of ATA, a SETI Institute. Photos taken by Seth Shostak


An exemple of Big Data’s impact on your holiday

Recommended by Mark Engler (swiss Embassy in Australia)

The potential of Big Data is not only used by public institutions. The private sector has a growing interest in the exploitation of all the Data they gather during their daily activities.  This article illustrates how airlines companies usethe information you provide to optimise their prices. What if the price paid by the person next to you was lower because you live in a wealthy inner city neighbourhood and they live in a cheaper suburb? Or maybe you paid more for the flight because the airline knows from your booking history that you fly the same route at the same time every year to visit family overseas?   If you want to learn the answers, read the article here.



Open Government Data Projects in Japan

Written by Matthias Frey, Science & Technology Office Tokyo, Embassy of Switzerland in Japan 

When it comes to new technologies, Japan is often at the forefront. Already in the 1960’s the Japanese Government used computers to automate a large amount of paperwork and form-filling: large main frame computers for business were installed. This article describes the development and future trends of big data in Japan and it also touches upon the related topic of “open science”.



Argentina: Future regional leader in Big Data?

written by Dieter Cavalleri, Embassy of Switzerland  in Argentina

Data-driven strategies in the market – The big data and analytics market is growing fast in Argentina. After an education phase in 2013, big data is gaining increasing attention from the industry and the Government, which consider it to be an important opportunity for business and research. buenos aires 1 (more…)