By Abed Khooli
Oil has been a major player in the economy (and politics) in MENA for many years. With alternative energy sources, smart power grids and decreasing revenues, raw data is emerging as a potential replacement of crude oil. To extract value from raw data technical skills are required, yet data literacy in the MENA region is still making baby steps in most countries. To start tackling this issue, two immediate steps are essential: raising awareness and building capacity.
By Abed Khooli
There are three connected topics in this short article and they are equally important. Instead of writing a detailed coverage of each, I decided to address them together to underline their interrelation and stress the importance of using them in the right context. Of course, development is the final goal, data journalism is the process and open data is a major ingredient.
By Brandon Rohrer (Senior Data Scientist at Microsoft)*
In a previous post I advised data scientists in training to build stuff. This post gets more specific. Here's what I mean when I say I'm doing data science.
1. Get more data: The raw stuff of data science is a collection of numbers and names. Measurements, prices, dates, times, products, titles, actions—everything is fair game. You can use images, text, audio, video and other complex data too, as long as you have a way to reduce it to numbers and names.
The mechanics of getting data can be quite complex. Data engineers are ninjas. But this guide is focused on the data science, so I’ll leave that topic for another time.
by Dr. Samah El-Tantway and Dr. Hossam Abdelgawad
While we live in an era where smartness is promoted everywhere (smart homes smart devices, smart traffic lights, smart clothes, etc.), one may wonder is that really our ultimate goal (to be smart) - is that enough? Is that solving our problems of today?
In a workshop organized by the IDRC titled “Towards Wise Cities: Opportunities of Today, Challenges of Tomorrow”, we discussed the above topic, its potential and challenges. During the workshop the following topics were touched upon: Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data, Open Data, Open Service Innovation, Citizens Engagement, Incentives, Loyalty Programs, and Wise Cities. While each of these subjects deserves its own blog, below is a reflection on the workshop and how to connect these pieces.
By Abed A. Khooli*
“Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate.” So what do they own, you may ask? Well, the answer is surprisingly simple: data and analytics.
Many refer to data as the new oil or new soil, and it could be a mixture of both. Data has always been around, but the data landscape has changed profoundly over the past few years. With the abundance of data sources ranging from user behavior (such as browsing habits or comments on social media) to the Internet of Things (sensors and small devices with Internet connection – IoT) and the reduced cost of data storage, computational resources, and communication, the potential of the so-called “big data” has already been realized in various domains, ranging from retail to health and even sports.
By Hatem Ben Yacoub (ICT consultant from Tunisia)
The Web Foundation recently released the 3rd edition of the Open Data Barometer, which covers 92 countries worldwide, including 9 Arab countries. Although tremendous effort globally to support opening up government data, they were able to open only 10% of government data!
A new report have just been published in Arabic, examines the results of the 3rd edition of the Open Data Barometer in the Arab world. The report explores regional challenges to open data as an engine for development on the one hand, and one of the means to support the transparency and anti-corruption on the other. The report start with a summary on open data, then the most important results of the third report worldwide, followed by an analysis of the ODB results in the region. Finally, the report concludes with recommendations to support the development of Open Data in Arab countries.