Selling data

What is the challenge?

Companies have data that they need to conduct their business or that they generate in the process. Storing and cleansing data is resource-intensive (e.g. infrastructure and data pre-processing efforts). At the same time, data is a valuable asset that can be used to develop new business areas. Owning data does not necessarily mean that companies can generate an immediate value-creating use for it. Instead, this can arise when the data is sold to other companies that do not have this data themselves but have an economic interest in it.

What data can help?

  • In principle, all data available to a company and for which there are interested parties
  • Currently particularly prominent: sensor data on the statuses and processes of machines and systems or aggregated user data
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Use case category: selling data

How can companies use their data?

Many variations are conceivable when selling (or exchanging) data. The benefit of the data and the valorization in the new context depends on the specific use case. In most cases, the transferred data is enriched or newly linked in its new context in order to generate a new benefit. Frequently, buyers and sellers operate in different industries, so they are not in competition. Often, data is not sold in isolation, but together with a service built on the data. In business networks, data from several companies is also exchanged or combined (data marketplace).

Where is this use of data already being applied?

Steamr is a platform for the free exchange and trade of real-time data. On the global open-source platform, real-time data can be sold in a peer-to-peer network. Traders set the price for their data themselves, and the platform receives a commission.

The media group Facebook has a detailed database for creating user profiles. With this database, Facebook enables advertisers to target ads to specific groups.

FlyNex collects spatial data and geospatial information through drone flights. This information is offered in a pay-as-you-go solution. This provides accurate and up-to-date data regarding the entire German airspace, which is needed for unmanned aviation and out-of-sight devices. 

How does this use of data contribute to value creation?

The sale of data is often an additional business area run alongside the core business. For the sale of data, it is important to ensure high data quality. Furthermore, an appropriate price must be found for the data. This often depends on the benefit of the data for the customer. 

Aim of data use

Sources: Streamr Network AG (2020), Initiative klicksafe (2020), FlyNex (2018)