Extract from “My Digital Footprint”, this is from the Chapter 9 “Business Models”

Business Models

My digital footprint, as defined in this book, is about the system of collection, storage, analysis and value. The inputs to the system have focused on data types that can be collected as the user is willing to provide the data (explicit/active) and data that can be gathered by sensor.net (passive/automatic). It has already been stated that there is little value in the long run in collection (harvesting) and storing (regulated). There are possibly a few expectations to this, which are data types that are slow to replicate and can create a differential advantage by having/owning. There is a lot of value in the algorithm and good analysis tool. The understanding of value creation opportunities from analysis will create differential advantage. The outputs or value components are well understood in terms that they can be seen to create value. Additional value is created from the feedback loop as this provides a method to hone, focus and provide depth on responses to an individual based on their data inputs, and also the ability to add flavour, breadth and width based on the individual’s social graph. It has been explored who will engage and participate, and how to create this virtuous cycle and keep it going by understanding the bonds and bridges between risk, privacy and trust. This section focuses on the fundamental question of who owns the data and what the business models are that my digital footprint creates.

The models to exploit my digital footprint are determined by who owns the data, the options being: ‘I own my own data’ or ‘I give up my data’. Indeed, it is likely that, in many cases, both owning and sharing will be a healthy and amicable compromise, but it is worth focusing on the two separate models of ownership, as from this it is possible to draw clear intentions, value and models. Those that combine joint and shared ownership will, like the rainbow of trust, create and fill in the prime groups.

Figure 44 provides the outline of the models that will be explored.

Figure 44
Business models based on data ownership

What data can I own? 

I am in no doubt that owning data is difficult, ignoring the fact that even if I can get it, the analysis may be too difficult to create value. Some data (name, address, date of birth, certificates and other identity data as discussed at the outset) are in fact easy to own but hard to prove. Utility bills, bank and credit card statements are easy to collect and are easy to add to your database. Electronically collecting this data is easy and there are programmes that will allow you to build your own spend profile. Data from Amazon, eBay, PayPal, Yahoo, MSN, iTunes, SMS, email, AudioBoo, Palringo, Google, Facebook, Flickr, blog, Twitter, etc, is rather a more difficult case.

Yes, I replicate everything via a small widget on all my devices/screens so that I own a copy of my data (passive and active) and so does the service provider. It may be difficult to replicate some purchase information, especially cash and near field cashless. Currently the terms and conditions of many of these services determine that they have the rights over your data, they are currently prevented from sharing this to help you. How this small widget combines all the data streams is somewhat more difficult, as is how does my algorithm compare data from my social group to add colour and flavour to my services. Finally, how will my analysis output become available so that it can be fed into a service and, hence, I can enjoy the value?

Difficult and practical questions, and I am aware that some companies are working on them and why there is a lot of wealth to be created in this area and why the business model is wide open.

I purposely have not mentioned too many examples as the website http://www.mydigitalfootprint.com allows readers to add their own examples and promote their own services. I have also avoided the cross-subsidies, two side and freemium categorisation. In many cases, most of the economic models are available; it really depends on the motivation of the service provider, end customer and other parties on how they trade value for data.

I am aiming to gather views on collective action. Could/Should we as creators organise a tribe via Twitter and Google to recover ownership? Google own the link, but didn’t create it.


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