Let’s get behind open data initiatives, says venture capitalist Fred Wilson

Writing on his widely read blog, influential New York City venture capitalist Fred Wilson urged developers to adopt the adopt the Green Button, the project that United States Chief Technology Officer Aneesh Chopra launched last week to unleash energy data. Chopra challenged the energy community to model the Green Button after the Blue Button, which enables veterans (and soon all federal workers) to download their personal health data. I quote from Wilson’s post, below. (Emphases are mine.)

This is the kind of innovation that gets me excited. The Green Button is like OAuth for energy data. It is a simple standard that the utilities can implement on one side and web/mobile deveopers can implement on the other side. And the result is a ton of information sharing about energy consumption and in all liklihood energy savings that result from more informed consumers.

The Green Button follows on the success of the Blue Button, a similar initiative that allows veterans to get at their medical data.

I’m a big fan of simplicity and open standards to unleash a lot of innovation. APIs and open data aren’t always simple concepts for end users. Green Buttons and Blue Buttons are pretty simple concepts that most consumers will understand. I’m hoping we soon see Yellow Buttons, Red Buttons, Purple Buttons, and Orange Buttons too.

Let’s get behind these open data initiatives. Let’s build them into our apps. And let’s pressure our hospitals, utilities, and other institutions to support them. I’m going to reach out to ConEd, the utility in NYC, and find out when they are going to add Green Button support to their consumers data. I hope it is soon.

This strikes me as an important data point, endorsement and call to action. Let’s see what happens. After a huge year of changes and progress for Gov 2.0 in 2011, open data looks poised to take off in 2012.

For more about the Green Button initiative, watch the video interview with the nation’s first CTO, below. (Hat tip PG & E.)

About Alex Howard

Alexander B. Howard is a DC-based a technology writer and editor. Previously, he was the Washington Correspondent at O'Reilly Media, where he covered the voices, technologies and issues that matter in the intersection of government, technology and society. If you're feeling social, you can follow him on Twitter, like him on Facebook or circle him on Google Plus In addition to corresponding for the O’Reilly Radar, he has contributed to the Huffington Post, Govfresh, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, National Journal, The Atlantic, CBS News and Forbes. He graduated from Colby College with a bachelor's degree in biology and sociology. Currently, he is a resident of the District of Columbia, where he lives with his greyhound, wife, power tools, plants and growing collection of cast iron pans, many of which are frequently used to pursue his passion for good cooking.