Smart Data Challenge looks to spark cross-sector innovation

Cloud up of a female hand touching an illuminated digital display in the dark
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A government-led coalition has launched the Smart Data Challenge: An open call for the sharing of new ideas that could underpin further innovations in UK businesses using smart data. 

Smart data is digital information that is organized at the collection point so that it offers actionable insights in real-time to the user. It enables consumers and small businesses to securely access and share data with third parties who can provide them with helpful services that can improve their operations.

The coalition, which includes the Department for Business and Trade, Challenge Works, the Open Data Institute (ODI), and Smart Data Foundry, hopes to attract leaders in business and academia to offer their proposals on the opportunities smart data can provide.

The initiative hopes to build on the success of open banking as a tool to drive innovation in the financial services industry. In February 2023, Open Banking Limited (OBL) reported that for the first time, seven million consumers and SMBs used open banking services such as financial management and payment tools during January.

The aim is to foster similar innovations that span a number of sectors including energy, retail, transport, and home buying. 

Chris Gorst, challenges director at Challenge Works commented: “A smart data economy could unlock transformative innovations just as open banking did for fintech. It is a new frontier and would represent a massive change to how individuals and small businesses take control of their data.”

According to the organizers, the ideas this program is hoping to attract and develop could be used to address current challenges facing society, such as the cost of living and climate crisis.

Kevin Hollinrake, minister for enterprise, markets, and small business, said: “Smart data has the potential to help create solutions to real life issues that consumers face on a daily basis as well as supporting small firms across the country and helping to grow the economy.” 

The challenge will identify leaders in the smart data space and let them share their ideas on how this technology can benefit businesses and consumers alike. These leaders will also be involved in developing a potential Smart Data Prize, which could offer a share of up to £750,000 to successful participants.

By helping individual innovators turn their ideas into viable business concepts with a view to moving them into development, the most promising ideas will be supported with both guidance and cash prizes, the organizers said. 


7 Symptoms That Tell You Your Legacy Firewall Isn’t Fit for Zero Trust whitepaper

(Image credit: Zscaler)

Protect your SaaS applications and safely deploy workloads to the cloud


“We want creative people from across industry, academia and civil society to join the conversation about opening up services using smart data to make people’s lives better, and enrich our national data infrastructure” commented Louise Burke, CEO at the ODI.

The Smart Data Discovery Challenge’s initial phase calling for ideas will run from 26 October to 8 December. To get involved, innovators can propose cross sector solutions and explain how they will benefit consumers, small businesses, and wider society. A longlist will then be selected with a pitching event set to take place in March, where the best proposals will receive cash prizes.

Solomon Klappholz
Staff Writer

Solomon Klappholz is a Staff Writer at ITPro. He has experience writing about the technologies that facilitate industrial manufacturing which led to him developing a particular interest in IT regulation, industrial infrastructure applications, and machine learning.