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The evolving personal information economy

Posted on: Thursday 5th of December 2013

At Ctrl-Shift we constantly monitor the market for personal data and personal data services via weekly newsletters like Market Watch. We’ve summed up the key developments of the last year in our new Personal Information Economy Round-Up.

Most of us would agree that the personal information economy is evolving rapidly. But where are the most important changes unfolding? And when, and how, will their impacts be most sharply felt? The Round-Up reviews these developments across four main drivers of change: business (corporate, competitive and marketing initiatives), consumer (changing attitudes, expectations and behaviours including media coverage of consumer issues), technology (technical and other innovations including the launch of new start-ups and services), and legal and regulatory including changing Government policies.

Key trends

Some of the important trends and developments identified in the report include:

  • Blue chip brands are waking up to the fact that how they manage personal data, and the sorts of data relationships they build with their customers, could make or break their brand and corporate reputations. Leading players are trying to create clear blue water between themselves and their competitors by differentiating themselves around personal data trustworthiness.
  • This is part of a broader move, including Governments and regulators, to forge a new ‘social contract’ around the collection and use of personal data.
  • The growing focus on personal data’s commercial value is beginning to shift the focus of public debate from abstract ‘privacy’ issues to the value of the data and how fairly its benefits are being shared.
  • The number of new personal data management service start-ups launching on to the market is accelerating – averaging close to one a week now. This is evidence of an increasingly vibrant market. The increasing specialist focus of many of these new services also suggests a much more sophisticated personal data ecosystem is beginning to develop.
  • Major changes are being driven by Governments and regulators, whether it’s via moves to re-write EU data protection regulations, initiatives like midata or attempts to build a new identity management infrastructure.
  • Practitioners in Big Data, Internet of Things, Smart Cities and Open Data are realising they face common, core personal data issues and challenges. A year ago, most practitioners saw them as operating in separate spheres.
  • Organisations’ personal data policies and practices are becoming a hotspot of regulatory interventions and legal actions.

Serious strategic intent

Annual reviews are traditional at this time of the year. But this research has serious strategic intent. Under those broad headings of business, consumer, technical and legal we’ve identified over 30 specific trends and developments that are impacting the evolution of this market.

Growing interest in data release is different to experiments in identity management, which is different again to shifting investor sentiment, or the pace of new start-ups entering the space. They each have their own timings and implications, and these timings and implications lie at the heart of organisations’ decision-making – those crucial questions of the ‘what’, ‘where’, ‘how big’, ‘how soon’.

By tracking these developments we can help answer these questions, which is why from now on, we’ll be updating this research every quarter.

The Personal Information Economy Round-Up costs £1495 (free to corporate subscribers to Ctrl-Shift’s research programme).