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Who am I? #iamdata – a new digi.me campaign

As human beings, we are all the sum of our experiences – but online we are defined by the personal data we scatter as we go about our lives.

At digi.me, we believe that your data is yours, that it is powerful and that it is valuable.

And we want to help you take back control, by enabling you to get your personal data from all over the web, see it in ways you couldn’t before and then (soon) share it if you wish.

Download digi.me now to get started!

 

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Omidyar Network investment completes digi.me’s Series A at £5.3M ($7M).

Digi.me, the pioneering start-up transforming how consumers and businesses unlock the value of personal data, has closed its Series A round at £5.3m ($7m) with a $1m investment from Omidyar Network, the impact investment firm created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Digi.me is developing a unique Permissioned Access platform built on its patent-pending technology that will allow users to bring together data from across their lives, including health,  financials and more, and give them the option to share it with businesses for personalised services, convenience or reward.

With digi.me, consumers get back control of how and where their personal data is used, while businesses get the wholly correct and permissioned data they lack today for innovation and service improvements – creating a transparent relationship and delivering a true win-win situation.

Digi.me founder and chairman Julian Ranger said: “Omidyar Network’s investment in digi.me is a recognition that our vision of re-defining the overall relationship that both users and businesses have with personal data is well and truly on its way.

“Whilst new regulations such as GDPR will force some changes, we are ahead of the curve and developing the platform that will enable a transparent and trustworthy relationship between consumers and businesses.

“Being part of the Omidyar Network “family” is also giving us access to amazing businesses and non-for-profit organisations for which the transparent use of personal data will enable deeper customer relationships”.

Omidyar Network Investment Partner CV Madhukar said: “We at Omidyar Network believe that individual empowerment in today’s economy requires one to have the ability to control the personal data that shapes one’s digital identity.

“Digi.me’s solution is particularly compelling in that it ensures privacy through its “don’t see, don’t touch, don’t hold” approach to user data:  Storage, access, and use of personal data rests with the owner.

“Digi.me’s team, innovative solutions, and business model position the company well to set the bar in the ‘me-to-business’ market.”

Digi.me’s current version of the app, which gathers pictures and posts from the major social media networks, is distributed in over 140 countries and in 11 languages. It proved that aggregating personal data streams to bring them to life achieves greater value and personal insight that is impossible to get when that data is scattered across the web.

With the digi.me app, users have their online life at their fingertips with tools including universal search across all platforms, daily flashbacks, the ability to create custom collections of content, data export and more. The ability to add health and financial data will come later this year, with other streams including shopping to follow shortly after.

Digi.me’s unique approach and technology also guarantees that all user data remains wholly private to the individual. Digi.me doesn’t see, touch nor hold any of the personal data downloaded by the user. The app, which is available for PC, Mac, iOS and Android, simply aggregates, normalises and encrypts the data allowing it to be searched, presented and shared in ways that were impossible until now.

With the Series A funding led by Swiss Re complete, digi.me is firmly focused on future innovation and is working on projects with world-leading businesses in the health, finance, FMCG and telco sectors. It is also on course to set up a ‘living lab’ that will be announced later this year.

 

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digi.me team conquers The Three Peaks

Here at digi.me, we’re not just desk-bound techies – and to prove it a large contingent from the office has just conquered the infamous (in the UK at least) Three Peaks Challenge.

This involves climbing the highest mountains of England, Scotland and Wales – Scafell Pike, Ben Nevis and Snowdon – in 24 hours.  The time is almost equally split between climbing and driving – and it’s pretty tough.

But this is the team that had already done Tough Mudder – so they’re pretty tough too.

Read more about the trip, and see lots of amazing photographs (including digi.me literally on top of the world) at this link, written by team member (and our Chief Creative Office) Pascal on Medium.

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Colour me dataful – check out the new version of the digi.me iOS app

Because digi.me is never standing still and always evolving, welcome to the Colour Edition of our iOS app – featuring more colour, quicker navigation and iOS 10 support.

Search has been given a makeover, so pretty, colourful, bouncy buttons await you.

While we were there we tweaked the date selector to make it a little more obvious (and colourful). It seems to have done the trick, at least from our early tests – but do let us know what you think.

A number of you wanted a way to quickly jump to a particular month whilst scrolling. We studied how others have cracked that and settled on a very cool approach Google use for their Docs app.

Our new quick scroll will show itself when you start to scroll through your posts (or you can swipe it in from the right). Grab it and you’ll see each month listed. Click on one of these to jump down to posts from that month or just use it to quickly scroll😉 Oh and it’s pretty colourful.

Gestures are a funny mixed bag of joy. Once known they speed things up, but they can be easily forgotten. So we’ve tidied up the post view itself. You now have quick access to sharing and closing. Tap the caption to read any comments and from there you can go see the original.

Swipes are still there if that’s how you roll. But you want to know if we added colour right? We felt your photos are so bright that we didn’t need to🙂

One final gem we managed to get in this release is support for Spotlight search. Ever pull down on your home screen to search your device? If you do (and you should) you’ll now see results from your digi.me library included. So next time you’re quickly searching for a friend’s number you might see photos they commented on or were tagged in.

Love our app? (and we hope you do!) Then please leave us a review to share the love with others. Got comments? Shake the app to send feedback, or leave a comment below.

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Positives to take from WhatsApp sharing personal data with Facebook

WhatsApp’s decision to start sharing user data with Facebook has rightly made waves around the world, mostly for the wrong reasons, but there are still positives we can take from the situation.

Firstly, WhatsApp was upfront about what it was planning to do, (handing over personal information including users’ phone numbers to Facebook as part of plans to allow businesses to message users, which will also allow Facebook to better target ads). Now, they may well have thought they couldn’t hide it even if they wanted to, as it required a change to their privacy policy, but still – openness about what companies are doing with personal data is always to be commended, and will become a legal requirement for companies operating in the EU from 2018 when the GDPR comes in.

That said, of course, WhatsApp should never have forced this on their users, and opt-in would have been an immensely better decision. (If you want to opt out, see here for details regardless of whether you’ve accepted the new terms and conditions.)

Secondly, users and the media didn’t just take it lying down – there were multiple articles outlining why this was a mistake for WhatsApp and criticising both companies across not just tech outlets but respected mainstream media – so the days of people just shrugging when massive changes are made to privacy policies without consultation are over.

Thirdly – and arguably most importantly – those in charge of protecting and safeguarding our privacy are showing they have teeth (and plan to use them) with both the UK’s Information Commissioner and France’s CNIL saying they plan to look into the decision and would be following it ‘with great vigilance’. in addition to a complaint to the Federal Trades Commission from US privacy groups.

Fourth, and finally, there are (very early) signs that people aren’t as ready to be loyal to messaging platforms, even popular ones, with a wealth of online comment of WhatsApp users looking for other, more private, platforms, and mainstream articles such as this one in Mashable.

Obviously we all hope for less, rather than more, personal data sharing without our consent, and there’s rightly a lot of anger at this move. But a sea change is coming, where users will be the ones back in control of their data, sharing it on their terms, and the public visibility and understanding needed to help make that a reality is very much underway.

Digital Catapult and digi.me: a success story!

Whether you’re starting out, growing or scaling up with your tech app, it can be a tough world out there.

We’ve been lucky enough to work closely with Digital Catapult, digital economy specialists who help SMEs grow and scale faster and smarter.

Scroll through below to view the case study we have just done with them:

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What is big data?

Personal data makes up the sum of our lives – but how often do we use the phrase ‘big data’ without fully understanding what it means?

We know – or should do – that pretty much everything we do these days leaves a digital footprint of some kind, but how many people think about or know what happens to that data once we’ve created it? Or that it’s not just what we do online, but offline as well – if it involves carrying a smartphone or using something like an Oyster travel card that knows where you’ve been and when.

Creating more data about ourselves every single day, we also produce an evermore detailed picture of who we are and what we like and do, that is easy for advertisers to track, gather and then monetise, either by tracking us online or selling that data on.

Scary, right? And more than a little annoying. The most obvious manifestation is targeted ads, that follow you around the web once you’ve searched for something.

But, as the advertisers don’t actually know you, although they’re trying very hard to act as if  they do, that information is very often inaccurate – not least if you’be bought a present for a friend or relative of the opposite gender, for example, or for a child.

So big data is omnipresent, evergrowing and often wrong – but what else is it? As a primer, this piece by BBC Radio presenter Timandra Harkness is my new go-to.

Smart on how data enriches our lives while also succinctly flagging up the issues with letting artifical intelligence overtake the human variety, she sums up thus:

“Big data has immense potential, no doubt about that. I met people who are using it to fight disease, to build a global database of destructive and dangerous insects, to prevent plane crashes, and to look into the darkest corners of the universe. But when it comes to human beings, it can be too big for its boots. And the fact we’re so willing to hand over life-changing decisions to big data says less about its true capabilities than it does about our lack of trust in ourselves, and in each other.”

Enjoy!

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digi.me and the ‘single social stream’

We’ve had such an exciting time here of late, finalising our £4.2m Series A funding and sharing our future plans for health and financial data, that you could be forgiven for forgetting just how awesome our existing app is.

So it was great to see it get some press coverage in its own right, from Mike Elgan at Computerworld, who has a huge interest in the whole sphere of ‘lifelogging’ and building a truly connected world.

Riffing on Facebook’s statement from the time of its IPO in 2012 about wanting a more open and connected internet, he laments the fact that Facebook, these days, is actually more about just trying to do that by getting all of the users itself, through organic growth and the acquisitions of both Instagram and Whatsapp.

And that, actually, most of us access multiple sites, maintaining multiple friend lists and interactions with the people on them, rather than being able to do all of this in one place.

But this brings its own problems: “The trouble is, using several social services is really hard — all that switching from one mobile app to the next, and from one website to the next. Each has its own design, menu structure, settings and configuration options, and processes for handling photos, likes and mentions.

“It’s also impossible for someone with a lot of friends to remember which people are on what network. Most people who try to use several social networks end up forgetting about some and spending most of their time on one, or maybe two. So much for an open and connected world.”

But he sees many benefits to a single stream, where all your posts are gathered in one place for insight and convenience, and guess who he has just found out about? Yep – digi.me – and he’s already a big fan:

“So there you go, Silicon Valley entrepreneurs: Digi.Me is a platform upon which you can build a service that achieves Facebook’s mission to make the world more open and connected — without a Facebook monopoly.”

While he sings our praises here – and even more so on his FatCast podcast interview with our founder and chairman Julian Ranger – “the company makes a product that you should absolutely be using” it’s only fair to say that we’re not the total solution to his single stream desire – he wants somewhere he can import the posts of others, too, and a single place where he can interact with them all, and that’s not what we do. (Although in time we expect to become a platform that others build their own services on.)

But we thoroughly recommend both reading the interview and listening to the whole podcast for an excellent and interesting discussion about what social media activity is today, and could be in the future.

And we can only agree that you absolutely should be using digi.me!

 

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What Hillary Clinton as US president would mean for the future of tech

As the eyes of the world look to the US ahead of the presidential elections in November, it’s clearer than ever that where Barack Obama’s successor leads, other countries will follow.

Which, regardless of which way you lean politically, makes Hillary Clinton publishing her tech agenda very interesting.

Technology is at the forefront of many of the big questions facing our world today, and critically important to how people in that world are able to live, work, be their best selves and contribute to the world of tomorrow.

Of course we’re not naive – her agenda is designed to tick all the boxes for all the people, and most politicians worldwide over promise and under deliver – but it’s still a glance into what a Clinton presidency would mean for some key tech issues.

As anyone familiar with us will know, our driving ambition is all about putting data back into the hands of the people who have most at stake in it – ie you – and giving them more control over what they can do with that.

As part of that, what countries say at a top tier level about what they want data to be and do is, in many ways, critical to our business and how we expand across the globe. So Hillary saying that she wants to “harness the power of technology and innovation” as well as fight for privacy and net neutrality speaks to what we believe in, and is very encouraging to hear.

Our Internet of Me vision sees each of us at the centre of our connected lives, gaining greater insight by gathering information formerly scattered all over the web in one place, and then allowing consumers to exchange it for rewards, while businesses allowed access to it can innovate using 100 per cent accurate and rich data sets.

The open flow of data worldwide is a critical part of this, and so commitments to: “fighting for Internet Freedom and insisting on the responsibility of all nations to respect free speech and human rights online, as well as the open flow of data across borders and access to digital markets.” also get the thumbs up.

Again with the caveats that having an agenda, even if elected, is of course no guarantee of action, plans to open up US data sets on health, education and criminal justice and strong protection of consumer values all sound broadly good too.

It’s got to be put in the mix with other policies as well, of course, and America will decide its next President on more than what they will do in the technology sphere.

But it would be interesting to see Donald Trump set out a similar agenda, so we could see where he stands on these critical issues of our times.

 

 

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My son has just turned 3 – and I’ve already forgotten so much about him

My second son had his third birthday recently – and flicking back through old pictures and posts on my digi.me I was struck by how much has already fallen out of my own, non-digital memory.

I’m not an obsessive photo-taker by any means, for social media or otherwise, but as I scrolled back on my phone through happy days out, big moments and things deemed funny or silly enough to snap on the spur of the moment, I was shocked by how many I couldn’t immediately place, or that didn’t quickly spark additional memories.

Partly, of course, this is just life – son 2 followed exactly 23 months after his older brother, so we were busy all the time. Still are, really, as we combine family life with building two businesses and the associated stresses of freelance and contractor life. And let’s not forget a full two years (and counting) of 5am wake-ups. I haven’t – and I doubt I will.

Still, that said, I want to remember, and be reminded of, all the fun I have with my boys, now and in the future – I want the keys to my memory to hand all the time, easily accessible and easy to explore.

For me personally, this ability of digi.me to act as an exterior brain, all-seeing and uber reliable, is my favourite of its features. I love scrolling back through random dates, remembering what I was doing and how small (so small) my kids looked in the reasonably recent past.

I enjoy, too, the flashback pictures and posts that pop up each morning, and the ability to gather favourite pictures from different platforms together on a beautiful PDF.

For my 21st, my parents spent ages going through drawers and albums full of family pictures, to make me an album of my (I quote)  ‘first, great 21 years’. I loved it then and I love it now, not just because it was a labour of love, but because all the best bits and highlights of all our lives are in there, contained in one large album that I can flick through at will.

When my sons come of age, I look forward to doing something similar that they too can keep – but I suspect digi.me will make the job a whole lot easier!