January 3rd 2015 and I am already feeling the draw of data. I made a promise to myself when I left my last role that I would take a break from hypothesising about data and the insights data blending can deliver to brands and business, as well as how it can significantly benefit us as individuals.
Yet here we are 5 weeks on, Christmas and New Year celebrations just over and I am already hypothesising – this time about equities! I am not about to give away my idea on how I think you can predict the stock market, but to say it involves easily accessible data such as social sentiment, economic data and a few simple rules! This then got me thinking about the right to be forgotten debate – if data can help fund managers who manage our pensions to predict which stocks to invest in and when, surely we should be shouting about the benefits of sharing our data.
I accept that we want to hide certain things about ourselves, but we need to help business, brands and even governments understand more about us so we can receive better targeted messages. Not just sales related messages about the latest Rapha cycling bib shorts (in the case of this author), but preventative messages such as health related ones. These could be based on data shared from something like a Garmin, profile data; including age, sex, where we live, the restaurants and pubs we visit as well as the frequency! This may seem like big brother, but it then comes down to how this data is used ethically and the way the message is presented to help better people’s lives. What I mean by this is simple, the message shouldn’t say…we know you visit the pub 3 times a week and your average heart rate when cycling on the flat looks pretty worrying to us! But a service ‘type’ message advising a general health check at their local health centre, together with a map and simple booking procedure. (If only I could get past the receptionist at our health centre!!!).
The upsides of sharing and giving permission to use our data are huge. The two use cases above would help us because our pension contributions would grow at a better rate and if we could prevent more illness by identifying at risk individuals and screening earlier, the burden on the health service could be significantly reduced saving hundreds of millions of pounds (as well as your life saved!).
As a data practitioner I am in total agreement with the rules that we abide by when managing and processing data, but too often we tend to focus on the downsides of sharing our data and how we store and protect it and not enough time hypothesising about the true value and benefits we can deliver from it.
J Cromack January 3rd 2015