The next generation of the Internet is here.
It is one that is empowering, privacy-preserving and human-centric.
It is one that views data as a service to us as individuals and as members of a collaborative society, as well as a service to firms to offer individuals innovative products and services.
The HAT is the first-ever personal data platform (HATPDP) created to trade and exchange individuals’ own data for services in a standardised and structured manner. While there are many personal data lockers and repositories, the HAT has a schema that ‘flattens’ and ‘liberates’ vertical structures of data so that new mashups and new ways of putting together data for new services could be created to serve individual lives.
Individuals can acquire their own data from internet-connected objects or services, and this acquired data is then transformed by the HATPDP to enable individuals to contextualise their own data, making it meaningful and useful for decision-making. With that data, individuals can buy apps that allow them to analyse, view, trade or make important decisions based on their own data for a smarter and more effective life.
The HAT is therefore a personal data platform for firms to offer individuals services for their data in a scalable way, yet allowing individuals to personalise the data to their own needs for better decisions in their lives. Most importantly, the HAT and its transformed data is owned by the individual.
The HAT is analogous to the ‘email’ model. If you have an email account for your emails, you should have a HAT for your data. You can obtain a HAT from a HAT Platform Provider (HPP) who can choose to offer individuals a HAT with other services, much like the way we can choose between email providers today.
For firms, the HATPDP opens up opportunities for exchanges and use of personal data in a way that is privacy preserving. Firms can (1) build smart devices that individuals can control and acquire the data on the device onto their HAT; (2) build smart applications for individuals to make use of their data; or (3) help individuals exchange their data for better buying decisions.
The HAT Economic Model and Ecosystem
The HATPDP is managed by the HAT (Hub-of-all-Things) Project, a £1.2m RCUK Digital Economy-funded project involving 6 universities — Cambridge, Edinburgh, Nottingham, Surrey, Warwick, West of England — with a community membership of researchers, users, firms, NGOs and government departments. The HAT Project is tasked to engineer a market for personal data. It has a market-making function, and is not a startup.
In June 2015, the HAT Project will evolve to become an open-sourced community-led foundation to support the HATPDP installations globally. Each installation is operated by a commercial HAT platform provider (HPP) who will provide the HAT to users. Each HPP will create new functionalities and ‘plugins’ for its developer community to build apps on its platform. HPPs will also integrate other datasets (e.g. weather, transportation) that will enable application developers to build better apps around open data integrated with private personal data.
To ensure that HPPs and all ecosystem participants comply with privacy practices, the HAT Project will (1) manage the technical specification of inbound and outbound APIs of the HATPDP; (2) manage and validate the apps and devices in the store catalogue; (3) regulate and ensure compliance of the all platform participants to the HATPDP code of practice on privacy, security and confidentiality; (4) regulate and advise on the economic and business models (pricing structures, charge policies, cross-platform financial clearance) of the ecosystem; and (5) provide updates to the platform. Every device or app that connects to the HAT platform has to be validated by the HAT project and is available to all HAT users, regardless of who the HPP is.