We had this slogan ‘live your data’ for our data analytics company in 2007. The company was growing, attracted investors and many new people, and especially the new management and marketing people thought the slogan is too abstract and unclear. I think I had quite a lot of responsibility with that slogan. Probably it was too early, but we now are coming to an era that we can say people truly live their data.
Maybe it is still abstract, but let me try to explain the background. We already made very advanced analytics, combining traditional segmentation, machine learning behavior and social network analytics. We also had the very first concepts for ‘distributed’ data and analytics models, for example, how a mobile phone could learn from the user’s behavior and propose and choose things based on their profile, and a user could even have an anonymous avatar to do things online. Some of those things were too early for that market and technology.
The point of the slogan was that data is becoming a fundamental part of each person’s life. Your data influences your life, your data helps you to live your life and your data can even do things on your behalf. Data is really taking a fundamental role in your life. But, you need tools to control, utilize and manage it, or other people will manage and use it to drive your life.
Now we see this clearer than in 2007. Your finance data very much controls your financial opportunities. Your social media profiles and data create your public image. Your purchase history data determines what kinds of offers and pricing you get. Your health care, and now even real time wellbeing and exercising data, defines your insurance policy and pricing. You live your data.
We have also seen the negative side of this. If someone steals your data, he or she can literally live your life after the identity theft. If someone is able to modify your data, it can change your life drastically, e.g., result in a bad credit score or cause troubles at immigration, or you can even become a terrorist based on your data. You live your data.
We see countries and governments that start to collect all kinds of data not only for credit scoring people, but scoring their reliability and ‘citizenship’. If your data tells that you are not a good citizen, your life can suddenly become much more difficult. You live your data.
Now we are really at a point that we must get control on our own data. There have been enough scandals about data misuse, theft and trading. We are also in a point where legislators, regulators and technology are driving new models to own, manage and use data.
We already see new solutions where people can start to manage their own health care (e.g. MedRec and Patientory) and finance (e.g. Prifina) data. They are still early phase companies and models, but the change has started. Telcos are near consumers and their data, they should also think about how to help their customers embrace a new way to manage data. There are also many more plans about distributed data models, e.g. a social network that doesn’t own data, but just enables people to show their posts (data) to their friends, or a personal AI that helps to find relevant things.
In 2007 we finally started to use ‘data is the black gold of 21st century’ slogan and dumped the ‘live your data’ slogan. The black gold slogan became very popular and many parties have used different versions of that since then. Now this old slogan came to mind at a time when I feel we really are moving from the data as oil era, to the data drives your life era.
Personal coaches and psychologist give advice, how to get your personal life under control. Now we need coaches and tools to take our data into our own control. Live your data, or someone else lives it. And, by the way, your data lives much longer than you.
The article first appeared on Telecom Asia.
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