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Information logistics: the launch of the Digital Asset Grid

Posted on: Wednesday 31st of October 2012

Slowly but surely the various pieces of the new Personal Data Ecosystem jigsaw are falling into place. Actually, not that slowly. The pace is hotting up.

Today, at the Sibos conference in Osaka, Japan, Ctrl-Shift reports the results of a six month research project for SWIFT, the global financial payments provider. The research, which involved most of the world’s leading banks, investigates the business case for a new piece of infrastructure called the Digital Asset Grid (DAG) designed to facilitate secure, permission-based data sharing between different parties: organisations, individuals and even devices. Not to put too fine a point of it, the DAG could be the foundation stone of Web 3.0.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 exploded onto the scene with exuberance – the excitement of being able to access and share data at a keystroke. In recent years, however, its progress has been regarded with increasing dismay. The more data there is out there, the harder it is to find the information we actually want. When we do find it, we can’t be sure if it’s true, accurate or up-to-date and it’s hard to check on its provenance. If it’s our own data, we can never be sure who’s going to get hold of it, or what they’re they going to do with it. It’s fashionable nowadays to talk of a ‘data goldrush’, but is it a goldrush or a landgrab, where people whose property rights should be protected are actually abused? In such a world, wealth creation ends up being stifled rather than encouraged: why bring your goods to market if, in doing so, you make them easy to steal?

The Digital Asset Grid

The DAG, with its focus on governance, security and identity assurance, is an attempt to put trust – and dependable trust frameworks – at the heart of data sharing. By removing some of the barriers that are currently blocking the full potential of the information age it has the potential to stimulate a complete productivity breakthrough for information – and act as a shaper for the banking industry.

It builds on SWIFT’s existing capabilities to provide banks and others parties on the grid the ability to: locate and access data assets; verify the identities of parties providing and accessing the data; create certainty about rights and permissions of data use, including financial and other terms; and provide a trust framework to create agreed rules for data sharing. The DAG is designed to enable the full range of peer-to-peer information sharing – B2B, B2C and C2B – and by including trust based sharing of personal data it creates a springboard for new VRM (vendor relationship management) business models and new Personal Information Management Services. The trust-based data sharing infrastructure is also an excellent way for banks to cut costs, improve quality, turn existing data costs into new revenue streams and deliver new services. In short the DAG has the potential to transform the banking system and one senior banker has said it could even “double the size of the banking system in its entirety”.

Here are the links to Alan Mitchell’s and Liz Brandt’s Sibos presentations about the vision for the Digital Asset Grid and the business opportunity. Liz’s presentation provides some compelling stats and insights into the DAG’s transformational proposition and how it unleashes value. Here’s a picture of her in full flow.

Also, here are four presentations about applications enabled by the DAG.

  • Phil Windley, CTO of Kynetx, presents how an intentcasting service using the DAG reduces the friction between buying and selling.
  • Dominic Sayers, Founder of Xenapto, describes how an investor application works.
  • Drummond Reed, Founder of Respect Network, presents a new mobile app called Forever, the goal of which is to eliminate the time, cost and complexity of address book synchronisation. This app will be launched using the DAG in 2013.
  • Fidor have developed FidorSafe – a personal virtual safety deposit box for an individuals or companies data.

There are also testimonials from project participants.

A new information logistics market emerges

The DAG is an example of what we call Information Logistics Platforms (ILPs) which add value by helping people and businesses get exactly the right information to, and from, the right people in the right format at the right time. Our new White Paper Information Logistics: Key to Digital Value Creation explains why we think information logistics is as big an economic opportunity as the mass production line: propelling innovation and wealth creation driven by the plethora of new information services it makes possible.

The White Paper predicts an explosion of interest, and investment, in ILPs over the coming few years. In fact, this explosion is already happening. Pipping Swift to the post by just a few days, BT has also entered the race with a specialist information logistics platform to help businesses streamline their supply chain operations.

‘Privacy by Design and the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem’

As if to emphasise the message that ‘change is in the air’, this week also sees the publication of a new paper by Canada’s Information Commissioner and Privacy By Design pioneer Ann Cavoukian. The paper, ‘Privacy by Design and the emerging Personal Data Ecosystem’, co-authored with Ctrl-Shift, marks the beginnings of a sea-change in regulator thinking about privacy and personal data. Using the examples of US-based personal data vault Personal.com and permission-based data sharing platform Respect Network it shows how a new Personal Data Ecosystem, built on a recognition of individuals’ right to manage and control their own data, is redefining the whole privacy debate: from a massive regulatory headache to a huge social and economic opportunity. The Commissioner’s video blog about the report is posted here.

Personal Data Stores or Vaults are one piece of the jigsaw. Personal Information Management Services are another. ILPs connect the two. The picture is falling into place and we have updated our Timeline charting the changing personal data landscape to record the new developments.