February 18, 2016
Press Release

Open Data and the Sports & Physical Activity Sector: Learning from the Successes in Other Sectors

At the end of December 2015, the DCMS and Digital Economy Minister, Ed Vaizey, called for the public and industry bodies to contribute to the forthcoming UK Digital Strategy. In response, imin suggested that the Government mandate that all future contracts that include Government-held physical activity data must remain open and available for all organisations to easily access and use. imin believes that this will facilitate innovation the likes of which have been seen in transport, with CityMapper leveraging TfL’s open data.

In his public and industry consultation on UK Digital Strategy, Ed Vaizey noted that “Every part of the UK economy and our lives has been digitised – from how we shop and entertain ourselves to the way we travel to work and manage our health”. In many sectors, most notably transport, the opening up and sharing of data has created the best environment for new innovative technology and services that meet people’s needs to have the greatest impact on their lives.

imin believe that we have yet to see such innovation in the sports and physical activity sector. Encouragingly, we are starting to see key stakeholders realise the value in an open data approach, as demonstrated by the attendees of and themes addressed at London Sport's FitTech event in February. The DCMS recently mandated in its new Sports Strategy the use of open data in the sport and physical activity sector, a suggestion made by imin and the ODI in their DCMS Sports Consultation response in October. The Sports Strategy states that:

All organisations that receive funding from Sport England will be required to make data which is relevant to getting more people involved in sport and physical activity publicly available in an agreed format. This may include (but is not limited to) data on the location and availability of facilities, coaches and clubs. Sport England should set and own clear data standards to support this work. Sport England will set out how this will be achieved in their new strategy.

imin stated in its consultation response, with support from London Sport, that the DCMS should go one step further and mandate that all physical activity data held by the Government (including data from Government-funded, endorsed, or loosely affiliated programmes) is made available as open data for use by all the apps and websites that seek to get people active. We believe this contractual obligation will help accelerate digital advancement in the health and fitness industry and subsequently increase levels of physical activity. We anticipate an even greater return on investment than that seen with the opening up of transport data since the benefits include economic, social and health outcomes.

Finally, imin encouraged the Government to support the growing Openactive community, and initiate a programme to help get all sports businesses online and digital-by-default.

If you think your organisation can help support the growing Openactive ecosystem, get in touch at openactive.io/join and help shape the future of your sector around open data, or to see how imin can help your organisation get even more people active, please visit imin.co or contact hello@imin.co.

About imin

imin is a social good technology company that uses open data to effect a transformation of the health and fitness sector that will affect the lives of millions of people. We champion the creation of open data, and a data infrastructure built on international open standards so that access to data is no longer a barrier to innovators around the world who are creating solutions to help people to be more active. We believe that by opening up data in this way, we can help people to live healthier, more active lives, and that we will help to put an end to the rising physical inactivity epidemic.

About London Sport

London Sport aims to make London the most physically active city in the world. Supported by the Mayor of London and Sport England, London Sport’s target is to get 1,000,000 Londoners more physically active by 2020.

Dominic Fennell

Dom is a co-founder at imin