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midata Innovation Lab launches new apps

Posted on: Thursday 7th of November 2013

The midata Innovation Lab (mIL) today published five ground-breaking new apps focused on key issues and tasks in consumers’ lives.

The apps, the product of intensive collaboration between the mIL’s 26 Founding Partners, are designed to demonstrate to companies, individuals and policy makers the potential of the new approach to personal data being pioneered by the mIL – aggregating the individual’s data (from many different sources) around the individual and integrating this data in innovative ways to make new services possible.

The mIL, hosted by the Department of Business Innovation and Skills, was launched in July this year to provide a unique environment in which all stakeholders could explore innovation opportunities in a context of personal information empowerment, where individuals access their own data from organisations and store it safely in a personal data store.

Ctrl-Shift led the app development work using its innovation process, which involves working closely with the businesses to inspire and devise the app concepts, build the business models, create the wire frames and develop the final prototype experience. The apps showcase the potential all-round benefits of the new Personal Information Management Services: benefits to the individual, benefits for the private and public sector suppliers, plus broader social benefits.

The five apps are:

Mi Finances Many consumers stumble into debt crises they could avoid if they were forewarned. This app uses the sorts of algorithm used by banks to decide when to restrict credit. Using the individuals’ transaction data the app provides advice on how to optimise debt repayments and how to improve spending decisions. As well as providing a compelling service for individuals, the potential benefits for businesses are considerable. By encouraging proactive debt management and behaviour change there will be less bad debt write off by the banks, credit institutions and other providers of goods and services. This creates the opportunity for significant cost savings and benefits the economy as well as the financial institutions.

Stay Safe, Keep Warm, Save Money Many vulnerable people are entitled to energy support but don’t know they are, or don’t know how to access it. This app helps them get this energy support from local authority or energy provider.

Relative Calm With this app, regardless of location, relatives and carers can access a dashboard of data to help see if an elderly or vulnerable person is getting out of bed each morning, is keeping their home at a safe temperature and is not taking out unusual amounts of money from their bank to pay for work they don’t need.

Mi Health This app connects with the individual’s GP or other health providers and helps individuals understand how changes to their lifestyle could improve their  health and avoid medical intervention.

The Mi Health mission control dashboard

Expert Home Mover Moving home is stressful for everyone. Having to remember all the different organisations you need to inform compounds this stress. This app does the informing for you, while also telling you if it’s worth changing to a different service provider in your new location.

One important step towards the future

Ctrl-Shift’s research and analysis shows that empowering individuals with their own data is the launching point of a new industry of Personal Information Management Services that help individuals make better decisions and manage their lives better. These apps and services will become as pervasive and ubiquitous in the 21st century as electronic appliances and devices are now. The mIL apps are one practical step forward showing this future. Once individuals start volunteering their data it brings potential benefits to organisations across the broad, and at many levels – from transforming an organisations customer-facing activities including market research, marketing, sales and customer services to creating new operational efficiencies and building brand reputation.

Learning from the mIL

The mIL has been a fantastic learning opportunity on multiple fronts: scoping the innovation opportunity; identifying where the business opportunities lie; identifying the practical challenges of personal data empowerment; testing the infrastructure individuals can use to protect, manage and control the sharing of their data; and understanding consumers attitudes towards sharing their data and consumer protection issues.

Ctrl-Shift is currently working with the mIL Founding Partners to produce a joint paper with BIS summing up these learnings. The report is due to be published within the next few weeks.