The coming 12 months will see dramatic shifts in the way we view and hold our personal data because the current model is broken.
While everything we do – from our tastes, experiences and preferences upwards – is data that makes up our whole, the current trading model is broken, with consumers up in arms about every-increasing tracking and an innovation gap that means no-one can exploit all the opportunities that data today offers us.
Giving a rousing keynote to the Personal Information Economy conference in London, our founder and chairman Julian Ranger said: “The present situation now isn’t working for individuals and it’s actually not working for businesses either.
“I will tell you that 2016 will be a transformational year. There are businesses we are working with that who are going to be launching new products in the personal information economy and they will make a big difference this year.
“It’s happening now and people are working on it.”
But why it is happening now?
- Innovation – businesses can’t exploit all the opportunities that personal data offers with the current model because they can’t access it. So the model needs changing.
- Increased consumer frustration with companies that seem to know more about us than they should, or ads following us round the web, which has led over 250plus million deploying ad-blockers in what’s being called the biggest boycott in history.
- Upcoming privacy legislation from the EU, and others, which will require explicit permission, meaning lots of the old models will be blocked.
Julian said: “So what does the man or woman in the street think? Companies all want a piece or me, but whether I like it or not, they take it. But that’s ok, it’s just a piece. They can swap or trade it, but they don’t have a full picture of me. Legislation prevents them doing more.
“But what if I do want to stop them doing more? These ad-blocker things look good, and they speed up my web browsing as well. Great, I’ll have one of those.
“Maybe the less those companies know about me the better – that’s a journey that a lot of people have gone on, it’s not a good journey and it’s not actually true, it’s not actually the case.”
“Because surely there’s a lot of cases where the more a company knows about me, the better – the more I can do. It can offer me the products and services that I want – by knowing about me, third parties can better understand what I like, what I need and when I need it – more of what I want and less of what I don’t want.”
He said that, if we’re honest, we all want to be sold to, but it’s the “dodgy” way that businesses are getting data around the side – and our perception of that – that is spoiling things and “absolutely has to change”.
He added: “And it’s not working for businesses, because the data they get today is thin and low-grade stuff, you don’t actually have all the data you need about me to do what you want.
“We need a better way – and the answer is to shift control back to the individual. But it’s not just about control, it’s about owning your data, having that data back, so that you have it, bringing it all together – because after all, who do I trust with all my life? Me.”
“If I hold it, I get more than control – I can see my life, I can do things with that data myself, I can decide then who gets to benefit from my data – you give me the right value proposition and I’ll do it.”
He said that in order to bring the different parts of our lives together without walls, and share different parts, together, to businesses, we all need to own our own data. Data that is unimaginable to businesses now in terms of its width, depth and richness – “rich data, not big data”.
He stressed that digi.me is “allowing you to have your own software that goes and get your data direct and brings it down to you so that you own it, on your own infrastructure. That’s real power, when you are the only person that has all your data.
“When you start sharing that way, the quality of data goes up by orders of magnitude. Costs goes down too far better data, far lower cost – everyone is happy.”
Because we are the sum of our data, having that in one place immediately offers greater levels of interest and insight to each of us – but add in businesses on top and you’ve got a new model for personal data sharing that really works.