Internet access is finding its way into more and more devices. We now have Internet enabled TV, fridges, cookers and cars. You can buy a kettle that you can text so that it boils. This movement of everyday items onto the web is named the internet of things (IoT). As with other internet based interaction, a lot of data is generated.
The current accepted paradigm is the company that you buy from, or service you use, takes your data. The supermarket knows all your shopping habits and can infer a lot about your life. However, they cannot know the context of consumption; who you ate the food with and why, as that data isn’t currently available to them. A single firm can only see the data from the vertical supply chain they are in. If the supermarket could see who was in your house, when, why and what they consumed they could more accurately provide goods and services to you; even automate the process fully to predict demand based upon who was coming. Contextual data is potentially much more valuable than sales data as it provides the “why?” to the purchase question. It’s all possible, but it requires a lot of intrusion into daily life.
This is where the Hub-of-All-Things [HAT] becomes important. The HAT project brings together experts from the universities of Warwick, Exeter, the West of England, Nottingham, Cambridge and Edinburgh to create a multi-sided-market-platform (MSMP) for the home. A MSMP is the digital equivalent of the old fashioned market square. Many traders can come and sell their wares (apps and devices) and negotiate and barter over prices and exchanges. The HAT acts as a data container, holding the data for all the devices you buy. A core value of the HAT is that all data generated in the home is owned by you, the individual home owner. You can therefore use the data in the bartering process, which gives you the consumer control over the data and some power in negotiation.
There are a number of markets possible. A market for devices and linked applications will develop which link to the web via the HAT, giving you control for heating systems, burglar alarms, and devices to tell you if you left the door open, or let you turn on your kettle before you get home. A market will develop for integration applications that knit together many devices and their data providing analysis and outputs to tell you things, such as how you may save money on heating, or eating better and staying healthy. These are internal markets for the home. Externally, firms will negotiate for access to your data so they can understand better how their offerings are used or consumed; allowing them to innovate new offers and more exactly meet your needs.
Value slippage occurs when the value creator is unable to capture worth and benefit from their efforts. Data is the result of your digital labour. If other individuals, organisations or society benefits more from your digital efforts than you do this will show as slippage and this dis-incentivizes long term value creation – you will stop collecting data as you feel it’s unfair. You must be incentivized as a value co-creator, which helps provide control in the market. In addition, HAT will provide security controls to protect your data and ensure the power remains with you.
You can keep up to date with developments of the HAT project on www.hubofallthings.org
This blogpost is originally text for inclusion in the forthcoming edition of Chaffey, D, White, G. Business Information Management: improving performance using information systems (3rd Edition), Pearson Education.