, ,

One trend we hear a lot about is “digital disruption” – and there’s plenty of evidence for it.  No industry is exempt from it.  So, if Uber is the largest taxi company in the world that owns no taxis – and we draw this parallel for every industry – then will the world’s biggest data company be one that owns no data?

The problem is that most businesses are traditional, and given 99% of us work for these traditional businesses, then it is not surprising that, unless we had seen Uber with our own eyes, we simply could not imagine the concept of a taxi company not owning taxis, and nor can we imagine a data company not owning data.   I mean, how can it make sense?  And, for that matter, how can a financial advisor not provide financial advice; or how can a solicitor not give legal services; or how can a doctor not provide health services?  Simple.  Their services are based on the sum total of their training and experience – their knowledge.  Put this knowledge somewhere else (say, in clever algorithms on a computer), equally accessible by you and me (the consumers), and let the technology-driven approach replace the traditional model.  Once I can harness this sort of digital disruption, I don’t need the financial advisor, the solicitor, or the doctor.  But can I harness my own data?

The issue with our own data is that we have granted many institutional bodies and people access to it (often without our knowledge), and, even where we have not granted access, it is still open to unauthorised access (hacking).  The implication of the rest of the world having access to our data is that they can use and abuse it – and they do (often oblivious to the effect that it is having on us individually).

So, let’s imagine a different world.  A taxi company without taxis?  Yes.  OK, now… a data company that owns no data?  We heard at this year’s CES that we, as individuals, need an ‘On / Off’ switch, where we are in control of our own data.  This is because the number one concern for 9 out of 10 of us is security and privacy.

Therefore, like a tap, we need to be able to supply data as and when we choose.  The consequence of this is that we will feel a lot more in control of our own privacy and how our data is being handled.  Both the EU and the US are finalising Bills currently that will have dire consequences for institutions who mishandle data – and the easiest solution to that is: don’t handle my data; let me do it!

Like LifeBank, more and more companies in the future are going to offer you the opportunity to own your own individual data, to carry your own master file, which will mean that you will be able to choose what data you wish to share, and when.  The file will be on your own personal, portable storage facility.  It will not be able to be hacked by intruders, nor will it be able to be interrogated by companies who you unwittingly gave permissions to access your data – because your data won’t be on their servers, available for all and sundry to access via the cloud.  Sure, these companies will still be able to derive insights from analysing metadata, but not the private stuff – and companies that start offering LifeBank to their customers will earn a whole load more trust, because they will be showing their customers that they have their best interests at heart.

We need to be the masters of our own destiny, and not be subjugated to the whims of somebody else.  As individuals, what we all need is to take ownership of our own data – that’s not just about being responsible for it, it’s also being accountable for it.  Then no-one can say, “I didn’t know what they were doing with my data.”  Take your head out of the clouds: take your data off the cloud.  One immediate benefit?  Instances of identity theft will reduce overnight.  Put the data in your own pocket, be accountable for it, and enjoy a variety of spin-off benefits … for example, feel safer; feel more secure; and enjoy being more organised, which in turn brings a host of other benefits!

For more insights, also check this out – it’s not such a stretch of the imagination to see how LifeBank may one day soon be the world’s largest data company… yet, you’ll own the data.  Oh, yeh – do share and comment on this post!