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Me2B makes waves at Mobile World Congress ’17 | Liz Brandt, CEO

Posted on: Thursday 2nd of March 2017

This week has seen Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2017 deliver the latest and greatest new technology, new services and initiatives, from the biggest and most successful brands – the great and good, from telco, social, banking and more.

What is pivotally important and game-changing about this year’s MWC, is the fact that so many brands are championing the Me2B economy; a new principle for business models and services whereby the customer directs the relationship, and businesses thinks first and foremost from the customer’s point of view.

So let’s take a look at a couple of our clients, Telefonica, O2 and Facebook, and what they are talking about at MWC17. Whilst in varying levels of maturity, all have successfully demonstrated their dedication to building out a sustainable data economy; based on trusted digital relationships with consumers. Some of the highlights include:



Jose Maria Alvarez-Pallete, Chairman and CEO of Telefonica (O2’s parent company) announced the launch of its personal digital assistant ‘Aura’, a consumer empowering digital assistant designed to give customers access to aggregated personal data (previously fragmented across the digital world) and the ability to control exactly who it is shared with.

It’s a new way of empowering customers, we are offering that the network belongs to themWhat if we could develop a new relationship with our customers with this technology by using it to give control of the network back to them” said Alvarez, adding: “We need to add another dimension to our company. We need to become a platform company.”.

Additionally, Aura’s artificial intelligence capabilities will help to drive down inefficiencies in the business by reducing the demand for the traditional call centres to process customer enquiries.


mark evans

Mark Evans, chief executive of O2 UK, told crowds that the telco would take steps to enable consumers to block intrusive advertising, giving them greater control over the marketing messages they’re exposed to. This development, against a back-drop of a global ad-blocking crisis and deteriorating consumer sentiment, speaks reams about O2’s understanding of changing consumer needs and preferences. It is a bold and strategic move by O2.

Evans advocated that one way to “build that trust” with customers, through advertising, would be if it was done on their terms by using their ‘permissioned’ data and ‘personalised’ messaging. “I think there are customers that loathe advertising and don’t want anything to do with it and would want systems in place that would stop it…That would be a customer-driven outcome, not ours. In some respects, we’re agnostic…We believe it’s got to be a customer decision about how much advertising they get…There’s an opportunity for us to give more choice and control back to the customer,”, explained Evans.



Last year at Mobile World Congress, Stephen Deadman, Facebook’s Deputy Chief Privacy Officer, spoke about Ctrl-Shift’s work with the social media giant on a global project to explore the value of data in a sustainable digital economy, the result of 18 months of roundtables with hundreds of experts across four continents, culminated in the report A new paradigm shift for personal data’.

At this year’s MWC, Deadman, in true fashion, kept the torch burning by taking part in the GSMA seminar ‘Drones, Phones, And Automobiles: Privacy And Transparency Across The Mobile Ecosystem’, alongside GSMA’s own Director of privacy, Boris Wotjan and Massimo Attoresi, European data protection supervisor.

There, Deadman talked of Facebook initiatives to give more control to its users, extolled the value of new privacy-enhancing consumer services, and explained how he is currently working to embed the findings from Ctrl-Shift’s research work in to the foundations of the business.

Business, but not as usual

The past decade has seen a profound shift in business; data asymmetries, silos, and institutional barriers to access have significantly receded. We’re now at a point where businesses are actively placing data into the hands of the consumer.

What we are witnessing right now, at this very moment, are businesses beginning to germinate early Me2B strategies, setting them on the pathway to unlocking the value of new ‘trusted’ digital relationships with their customers.

We’re seeing the emergence of new initiatives and services to meet changing customer wants and needs, and expectations as to how their personal data is used. It is fantastic to see that Ctrl-Shift’s vision, set out 8 years ago, is becoming a reality.

Companies like Telefonica, O2, and Facebook are setting out their stalls for the year(s) ahead by demonstrating how they’re going to compete in an increasingly data-driven, digital world. These are the very businesses – the early adopters – that are on the right track to harnessing consumer trust and unlocking new levels of value, growth and revenue.

They are, evidently, the market leaders in the new Me2B data economy…and they are coming out swinging.