Revealed: The key findings of ground-breaking Ctrl-Shift Personal Data Mobility Sandbox

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Ctrl-Shift, the personal data innovation consultancy, has published the first results of a ground-breaking Personal Data Mobility Sandbox – a collaboration of market leading organisations including Barclays, the BBC, BT, Centrica and Facebook, with digi.me as the data facilitator.

This first phase of the Data Mobility Infrastructure Sandbox has examined safe data sharing, investigating how new markets can be unlocked by making data sharing safer for individuals and organisations.

The central objective is to advance Personal Data Mobility to enable the safe and easy use of personal data, permissioned and controlled by the individual, enabling value that is fairly and safely shared by all.

The report describes the current enabling capabilities for data sharing and, importantly, defines the gaps that need to be filled to make it both safe and valuable. These will be prioritised in its next phase of work, support the development of a shared vision of Personal Data Mobility.

The key findings and outcomes of the sandbox are:

The primary conclusion is that the end-to-end process of personal data sharing can be made safe.

Much of the infrastructure and capabilities required for safe data sharing already exist. Significant in this are the services provided by Data Facilitators, such as digi.me, in helping individuals share and gain value from their data whilst controlling it securely.

Personal Data Mobility can enable valuable new services, and the capabilities already in the market mean that progress can be made in developing these.

This sandbox included a first exploration of how increased Personal Data Mobility can create value. Working with data innovators, the sandbox demonstrated how combining multiple data types, made accessible by Personal Data Mobility, can lead to the creation of more valuable services, with increased personalisation, better prediction and more timely interventions.

Critical gaps exist, which require co-ordinated intervention to fully unlock the value of safe personal data mobility. These fall into the two categories of Governance structures and Integrated User Experience.

A clear way forward has been defined to address these, based on two streams of activity:

  1. Key governance issues of Liability and 3rd Party Validation. Building rigorous frameworks for the development of practical governance solutions, which also embody relevant and effective capabilities currently in market, to achieve rapid progress.
  2. Enabling the User Experience for Data Mobility. Making the user experience easy and safe is critical for there to be widespread uptake of Personal Data Mobility services. This work-stream will focus on the design and technical challenges of enabling people to share their data with minimal effort and risk.

The Ctrl-Shift Data Mobility Sandbox Programme also includes a series of Data Mobility Value Sandboxes. Realising value from sharing their personal data will be what drives individuals to use Personal Data Mobility services.

The Value Sandboxes will concentrate on the Customer Value Opportunities, which can offer the greatest benefit to individuals and therefore, businesses, society and overall economic growth.

Speaking on behalf of all the participants, Nick North, Director of Audiences at the BBC said, “The potential benefits that Data Mobility can bring to the individual and to society are huge – delivering value to people and supporting our culture in the digital future. But there are barriers to realising these benefits.

“The Data Mobility Infrastructure Sandbox has given us the means to look for new forms of value in new combinations of data, highlight what is holding us back, and help us to articulate which of these barriers may be best overcome through broader collaboration.”

Peter Simon, Customer, Product and Propositions Director, Centrica states, “As our sector undergoes a rapid transition from commodity to service, our customers need now to be able to see the benefits of the changing system first hand and have easy access to the tools that will let them benefit.  Data is critical to delivering this transformation and the Data Mobility Infrastructure Sandbox shows us just what is possible.”

Liz Brandt, CEO of Ctrl-Shift, states, “Across the EU, individuals now hold an important right – the right to data portability. But currently there is no infrastructure to make exercising this right and sharing data safe and easy. Consequently, it creates financial and reputational risks for individuals and organisations participating in data sharing and, as we have seen more recently, risks for society.

“If we want the sharing of personal data to create sustainable value, it needs to be safe and easy – there needs to be rails on which it can run. But at the moment these rails are not available. The intent of our work is to collaborate with leaders drawn from a broad range of sectors to identify and define the infrastructure we need to make safe and valuable Personal Data Mobility a reality.”

In 2018, Ctrl-Shift was commissioned to produce and publish a report for the UK’s Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) – Data Mobility: The data portability growth opportunity for the UK economy. This concluded that Personal Data Mobility can be a major accelerator of innovation and economic growth – creating new forms of value for individuals, businesses and society as a whole.

The 2018 DCMS report also identified what needed to be addressed for Personal Data Mobility to be achieved. This fell into two main categories – the infrastructure required to enable Personal Data Mobility and how it can be used to create valuable new services.

Ctrl-Shift created the Data Mobility Infrastructure Sandbox specifically to bring together leading businesses, consumers and consumer organisations, government, regulators, and data facilitators to collaborate on addressing these core issues, within an independent, facilitated environment.

Simon McDougall, the ICO’s Executive Director for Technology Policy and Innovation, said: “It’s great to see UK organisations taking a proactive approach to supporting the right to data portability, and helping find ways for us to move to a world of data mobility.

“Like the ICO’s own regulatory sandbox, this is another great example of privacy and innovation working hand in hand, and it is critical that business and regulators work together to develop ideas that benefit everybody. I am looking forward to continuing working with Ctrl-Shift and the other participants on this exciting project.

The role of Businesses, Governments and Consumer and Citizen groups

Personal Data Mobility has the potential to unlock significant value for Individuals in the form of service enhancements or valuable new services. However this will only happen if businesses embrace the innovation opportunity that Data Mobility offers.

For Businesses the opportunity to create value from Personal Data Mobility already exists. The market is still immature, and some data sourcing will be manual. But participation even in these early stages will deliver valuable learning and accelerate the creation of innovative new services as the range of data sources becomes broader and the flow of data becomes more automated.

Governments have the opportunity to build on existing Personal Data Mobility initiatives, such as in financial services with Open Banking and PSD2, to accelerate the development of a new growth engine for the digital economy and ensure that the additional value created is fairly shared. They have an important role to play as legislators, data exporters and potentially data importers. Regulators also have an important role to play with sector regulators needing to collaborate to make cross-sector data sharing a reality.

As guardians of the wellbeing of individuals, Consumer and Citizen groups have an exciting opportunity to collaborate with businesses on how to use Personal Data Mobility to create fairer value exchanges that deliver enhanced benefit to both individuals and the organisations who serve them.

There is a range of businesses, research firms, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and academics that are the Champions of Data Mobility. They will be at the forefront of new service creation and the opportunity that Personal Data Mobility is creating will enable start-ups and smaller businesses to gain a strong foothold in this dynamic new market.

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