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The following post is by guest author Brad Schneider, Chief Executive Officer at Nomad Data
We are living in a world where sensors are added to devices from televisions to keychains. To keep up with the resulting data surge, an entire industry of data sellers has emerged to help companies leverage data the right way. 
But if data is the new oil as the mantra goes, why is data not empowering companies to a greater degree?
Finding the Needle in the Haystack
Like oil, there are many steps to process and shuttle the final product to market. Unlike oil, data is anything but a commodity. A commodity is generally mass-produced and unspecialized. 
Data, on the contrary, is highly specialized. Two datasets being used to address the exact same problem are oftentimes extremely dissimilar. Due to this aspect of data, one of the first obstacles data buyers will run into is the data search problem — how to find the right data to work with.
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I started Nomad Data to address the data search problem. Many companies know where they lack visibility and what kind of information they need to gain a competitive edge. But very few companies have sufficient knowledge of the external data market. 
For example, let’s say I am a fast food retailer and one of my competitors has introduced a revamped breakfast menu. It is obvious that I should try to understand how this menu change has impacted the locations that have adopted the new menu. I should also make sure I understand which menu items are driving the most sales. 
However, what may not be so obvious to me is the kind of data that would give me the information I need. Is it credit card transaction data? Point of sale receipts data? Foot traffic data? Maybe it is wholesale data on what ingredients they are purchasing more of. This world of data is foreign and complex to many people.
Addressing the Data Search Problem with AI 

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At Nomad Data, we have found  that buyers want to explain the problems they are trying to solve and have us show them what kind of data will provide the best solution. 
Nomad Data has data profiles on more than 600 data sellers across industry verticals and data types. Using machine learning and artificial intelligence, our software analyzes client inquiries to understand what they are looking for. 
Next, our software determines which data sellers are most likely to have data that is a good fit. The software then automatically emails the sellers with the highest match scores and verifies the data’s applicability with them. To close the loop, the  data buyer is informed about the data sellers who are the best fit. 
The end result is that data buyers no longer have to be experts at navigating the complex data landscape.
Fixing a Broken System

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In reality, most people only care about what you can do with the data, not necessarily the specifics of the data itself. This means the current data market is backwards.
Imagine going to the drug store and the pharmacist tells you about the different compounds in the medications they sell to help you determine what to buy. Then purchasing high blood pressure medicine would require deep knowledge of pharmacology. 
Thankfully this is not how medicine is sold. This is NOT how data should be sold either. 
Our belief at Nomad Data is that as we tear down the obstacles to data search, we will make the right kind of data accessible to companies that would greatly benefit from it. We expect the data market to accelerate dramatically in the coming years as Nomad Data and data sellers across the world tear down the various barriers to adoption.
To learn more about how we are fixing the broken system of data search, visit nomad-data.com.
At makepath, we use open source GIS tools to help companies visualize what’s hiding in their data. Have any questions about the data market or how to make data work for you? Connect with us at contact@makepath.com and with the Nomad Data team at hello@nomad-data.com