The report unifies and formalises what has already been projected by big data practitioners. The massive generation and use of open data by corporations and government will open up numerous economic possibilities, from reducing fuel use by foretelling traffic jams to helping companies to reduce product cycles with better-educated guesses about what customers want. McKinsey has headlined benefits to consumers, such as price and product transparency. It also draws attention to business risks, such as the outing of negative publicity and organised consumer backlashes to the data-driven, precisely targeted advertising that is seen on social media.
However, these concerns appear trivial in comparison with the business generation potential of open data. Apart from the predictable efficiencies, it can develop altogether new products whose need is not yet felt and identify new markets whose existence is yet unsuspected. But for this to happen, governments must lay down the law on data protection and privacy and create regulatory frameworks, nationally and internationally. India has been a laggard in both data law and public debate on the subject. To catch the open data wave, it must get up to speed.