Close ☰
Menu ☰

Milestones in the control shift

Posted on: Thursday 15th of December 2011

So much has happened and changed in 2011 and the control shift is well underway. We’ve captured below some of the significant milestones that have unfolded this year with links to the relevant news items taken from our Market Watch.

Consumer empowerment

Consumer habits are rapidly changing driven by technology and use of social media. Consumers are becoming hyper connected and active participants in markets and they are recognising the power of acting collectively (think Occupy London). They are changing their shopping habits: according to Reevoo’s research nearly 90% of respondents would not purchase a product before reading others’ opinions. New peer to peer market places are emerging and decision support services such as billmonitor are developing.

The launch of Facebook Gestures this Summer has big implications for Volunteered Personal Information and, as some commentators have said, there will be an explosion of information sharing. Facebook has continued to alter the personal data landscape, with debates about Facebook’s privacy policies educating individuals about the need to understand and control information sharing.

Entrepreneurial activity

Entrepreneurial activity is fostering demand for services that enable consumers to control and manage their own information. In the Autumn announced their open beta and the personal data project Singly launched. Mydex successfully completed a pilot of the world’s first live personal data store service working with a range of parties including the Cabinet Office, Directgov, YouGov, three London Councils, the Information Commissioner’s Office, BT and Experian in the Spring. In March the world’s first citizen data transfer took place with Brent Council.

We’ve seen some developments and new approaches to managing personal identity online throughout the year, including services such as MyID (a digital identity certification platform that people can use to certify their digital identity), (a new social web service that enables users to build a personal trust network using peer-to-peer vouching), (which allows users to manage their online reputation and recently raised funding), and MiiCard (providing users with a digital passport).

Government initiatives

There has been a number of significant Government initiatives over the year. Open data measures were announced in the Government’s Autumn Statement. A new Open Data Institute will ‘help business exploit the opportunities created by release of public data.’

In April the Department for Business Innovation and Skills set out its consumer empowerment strategy in a paper ‘Better Choices: Better Deals’. The strategy includes initiatives to support collective purchasing, collaborative consumption and protection of consumer feedback to assure the integrity of online reviews. The midata programme – an initiative to encourage companies to release the data they hold about customers back to customers in a portable electronic format – is also an integral part of the strategy. In November the Government, business and consumer groups announced their commitment to the midata vision, and at the PM Energy Summit in October Government, consumer groups, the six largest energy suppliers and Ofgem agreed to give consumers access to their personal energy usage data in electronic format as part of the midata programme.

The Governments ID assurance programme which aims to establish a decentralised market of competing private sector identity providers was recently allocated £10 million. Each provider will deliver an identity assurance service, so that public sector and other providers can be confident of the identity of the person they are dealing with.

There have also been policy developments abroad. In September the US Government issued a memorandum to agencies to require, encourage or permit the “timely release of  complex information and data in standardized, machine readable formats in ways that enable consumers to make informed decisions.”

Commercial developments

As consumers are increasingly changing their habits and demanding a voice some organisations are realising the mutual value that can be achieved by collaboration – see an announcement by Converse, for example.

Other organisations are recognising the value of sharing personal data, which the World Economic Forum in a report issued early this year called the ‘new asset class’, and the opportunity this provides to change the rules of engagement. Callcredit piloted their new service called Noddle to release credit scores back to individuals free on an ongoing basis. Individuals can use these credit scores to pre-screen products and services they apply for. Noddle launches today with an objective of achieving a market leading position, encouraging ‘‘40 million Britons to be more aware of their credit rating and to put that information to good use – whether it’s improving their credit position or hunting down money saving deals.”

We’re looking forward to 2012 to see what new events emerge as the control shift continues to take shape in this era of consumer empowerment.