Category Archives: Discussion

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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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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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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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Spreading the joy of tech at MESTival

We were delighted to take part in the MESTival festival at St Swithun’s School in Winchester this week.

With over 1,000 students from years 5-13 attending from across Hampshire, the festival aimed to give those attending lots of information about, as well as inspiration for, the STEM careers of science, technology, engineering and maths.

Our aim was to demonstrate the joy of tech and how rewarding a career where you can change people’s lives can be – and our demo showing just how easy coding can be to get in to went down well.

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Naturally, we also didn’t miss the opportunity to explain why the Internet of Me is the way forward for personal data and privacy, as young people now will arguably be the biggest benefactors of this in years to come.

With exhibitors including the Army and Navy, a host of STEM-related activities including rocket-powered cars, plus lots of information on potential careers and universities, hats off to St Swithun’s for organising an excellent MESTival!

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digi.me raises £4.2M ($6.1m) in Series A funding round

Digi.me, the pioneering start-up revolutionising how consumers and businesses harness the power of personal data, has secured £4.2m ($6.1m) from Series A funding led by global re-insurer Swiss Re.

With the new funds digi.me will accelerate the development and launch of its unique permissioned access platform, which will soon let users bring together wide-ranging data such as health and financial information and share it – if they wish – with businesses in exchange for personalised services, convenience or reward.

Businesses who are granted access to this 100% accurate, rich and deep personal data can develop truly personalised services for their users. Digi.me’s approach delivers a true win-win proposition, enabling a value exchange that is transparent and mutually beneficial, increasing consumer trust as well as opportunities for innovation.

Digi.me founder and chairman Julian Ranger said: “This is a watershed moment for digi.me. Following our extensive work and innovation in the concept of each of us truly owning and controlling our own personal data, this investment enables us to make the Internet of Me available to everyone, consumers and businesses alike.

“This concept, which is better for the individual and also better for businesses who can access rich data with full user permission, while meeting all new data protection rules such as the GDPR, will allow digi.me to accelerate its activities with a number of multi-national companies who we are already working with, and bring further major businesses into our new ecosystem.”

Daniel Ryan, Head of Digital Analytics Catalysts at Swiss Re, said: “People want to be in control of their data, and many have strong views over what they are willing to share and what they want to keep private.  We’re excited about digi.me because it will enable people to go one step further, and provide full transparency over how they can use their data to access services and benefits.”

Digi.me’s current version of the app, which gathers pictures and posts from the major social media networks, already has over 400,000 users in 140 countries. 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. Soon, it will be possible for users to add their financial and health information. Other streams of personal data will be added in the future.

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, now available on PC, Mac, iOS and Android, simply aggregates, normalises, indexes and encrypts the data allowing it to be searched, presented and shared in ways that were impossible until now.

The successful Series A funding builds on a very strong period of growth and influence for digi.me. The last 12 months saw the announcements of its partnerships with Toshiba, Lenovo and Evernote and the appointment of Jim Pasquale as Executive Vice President North America as part of its international expansion plans. The company also attracted prestigious members to its advisory board including internet visionaries Doc Searls and Gordon Bell, as well as industry leaders Rafael Marin, Stephanie Liston and Guy Whittaker.

Digi.me, which has now raised £7.1m ($10.2m) since launching in 2009, has huge ambitions 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.

Digi.me is available on desktop for PC and Mac https://digi.me/download-trial and for mobile on iOS and Android http://try.digi.me/

Journalist? Find our press pack here

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digi.me and the Internet of Me is all about user centricity

There’s been a lot of buzz around ‘user centricity’ lately, as a technology megatrend that will unite all others before it.

It stems from an excellent post by Andy Weissman of USV, where he expands on the theme of people being the CEO of their own health, with doctors as their consultants.

As he says, and we agree wholeheartedly with, technology is becoming more and more personal – and people expect that to extend to every area of their lives, including how they manage their health.

In short, they want to be at the centre of their medical universe – and with an increasing number of phone apps that can do actual medical tests and track the likes of fertility, there’s clear evidence that this is already starting to happen.

Aggregrating different streams of information to provide a whole more useful and insightful than the sum of its parts is our guiding vision here at digi.me.

As part of that, we will shortly be giving users the ability to add full health and financial data to their personal data libraries, making them a more rounded and complete picture of their owners’ lives. And with it the ability to do more with that data as well as be in control of it. More data streams will then follow.

Uniting lots of common technological themes and magnifying them is what makes user centricity a megatrend. So platforms such as digi.me, which unlocks the power of personal data for the benefit of users and consumers, and the Internet of Me which seeks to put users at the centre of their connected lives are both prime examples of user centricity, writ large and actually in existence in lives today.

Andy goes on to note: “What is happening may be that the components of medical care are being reordered into something new – patient demanded and patient centric. Defined by the user and user needs…The thing that ties all these together is putting the user – the consumer of the healthcare – at the center of the universe and building out from there.”

User centricity is a growing trend and belief that we can expect to see and hear more and more of in every aspect of our lives, as industries of all kinds acknowledge the power people have in their phones, their data and the associated personal data stores they create, and work with that rather than against it.

And because user centricity is a trend that each of us will be part of and benefit from, we look forward to that happening sooner rather than later.