NUM, a London-based startup that makes useful data machine-readable so it can be built into devices, apps and services, is offering developers free, unrestricted access to more than 23 million data points.
Described an alternative to the Web, and built on top of the Domain Name System (DNS), NUM provides open public data on companies in the UK. Domain owners can override their pre-populated data by adding NUM records to their own DNS. Or they can also claim and update their pre-populated records using a simple user interface.
As part of its official launch, NUM has published free, unrestricted access to 23 million data points about 4.8 million UK companies – available to anyone building apps, services and assistants.
According to NUM, its launch is in response to the ‘limitations imposed by the gatekeepers of the web’ and because it ‘is time to level the playing field’.
Providing useful information
Elliott Brown, inventor of NUM, says: “The ever-increasing need for machine-readable data has resulted in the rise of centralised APIs offered by the giants of the web. Companies like Alphabet have built an empire by crawling the web, indexing its content and storing it. They’ve built devices, apps, services, operating systems and entire ecosystems on top of this data.
“Developers looking to build apps that use machine-readable data face two options: Crawl the web as Alphabet have done, store that data and try to keep it up to date; or use a paid, restricted, rate limited API. This has stifled the creativity of millions of developers and users are left with little choice but to use privacy-compromising apps offered by the giants of the web.
“But there is an alternative: a way for companies to provide machine-readable data direct to devices, apps and services used by customers. This is NUM – an open standard to publish machine-readable data associated with domain names.”
NUM – funded by Innovate UK and UK angel investment – has also unveiled CompanyDirectory.UK, a directory of some of the UK’s largest companies. Contact information, including social media profiles, telephone numbers and opening hours, is provided in a searchable list.
While the directory is currently UK-focused, NUM has plans for international roll out in 2022.