Watch out! The Personal Data Market is Coming

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The title of this blog may be good or bad news, depending on whether you consider yourself chiefly a consumer or broker of data.

Citizens and consumers, who generate thousands of bytes of data every day – switching on devices or utilities, making purchases, boarding transport or just walking down the street in CCTV cities – can celebrate. The data they collectively generate is an asset that is being mined to create value and making companies and even industries rich on the back of it. Now the personal data exchange is coming.

But what of the people whose actions generate the data? Do they own any stake in the value created?  Until now that’s been a resounding no. It’s not been possible to track data to such a granular level. But with the Internet of Things, connecting sensors with personal identity is feasible. And as data becomes ever more auditable, a personal data exchange becomes a distinct possibility.

It’s a concept that has been mooted before on the BVEX with proponents, including HP CTO, Mateen Greenway, and PWC’s Carlo Gagliardi, of proposing that citizens be put in charge of their own data; primarily this case has been argued from data privacy point of view. But now the case has legs from a monetisation perspective. With more citizens selling energy generated in their own back yard to the grid, why not aggregate and sell your own data?

This disruption is not far away according to an article in our sister title, HP Matter. The piece is based on an interview with Matt Hogan, CEO and co-founder of DataCoup whose ambition is to disrupt the data brokers and put consumers in charge of their data. “If there are people that we are trying to disrupt, it is those kinds of third party data brokers, and anybody who doesn’t give the consumer anything in return for an asset that they create” he warns.

Hogan relishes the disruptive opportunity ahead.  “If you look at any other asset class, and make no mistake that data is an asset, is there anywhere else where the chief stakeholder of an asset doesn’t have a seat at the negotiating table or doesn’t discern any benefit? We’re making it our mission to empower the consumer with their data and build out a market place to do just that.”

Sooner or later, the personal data exchange is coming, and you can read more details about one of the likely protagonists here.

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Helen Beckett is the Community Manager of the Business Value Exchange.  She has been a writer and editor for over 20 years and takes a particular interest in the challenges facing the CIO in today’s business climate.