It’s the age of Big Data, that’s for sure. Data permeates all our lives now, in all kinds of ways, and as time goes on it’s just going to get harder to ignore this powerful resource.
One of the most interesting things about data is that a whole lot of it is produced by us — individual people. Internet users generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data every day.
That’s a big number, and hard to visualize, so try this statistic: we’ve produced more data in the last two years than in the entirety of human history before that. That’s a lot of information.
This data comes in all sorts of forms, many of which are incredibly valuable to companies and service providers. That’s because it can be used to target advertising, improve products, and build stronger and more productive relationships between businesses and their customers.
But the sheer amount of data out there means it’s tough to handle it all effectively. We end up seeing a lot of wastage, a lot of lost opportunities. It’s a shame, because data is so useful and has enormous potential if it’s used efficiently.
So how can we do that?
Changing the Way We Treat Data
Right now, our data isn’t used very effectively. Large companies and online platforms collect our data in massive amounts, but they fail to apply it in a way that benefits anyone other than themselves.
The result is poorly targeted ads that annoy consumers and cost advertisers dearly. More sinister is the privacy element.
When giant corporations like Facebook have access to sensitive data on their users, they have a certain responsibility to be careful with it. But there is plenty of controversy surrounding events like the Cambridge Analytica scandal where Facebook allowed a political consulting firm to access large amounts of their users’ data.
In the current system, companies spend lots of time and energy collecting and refining our data, but it still ends up being poorly applied.
We need to harness this data better in order to create better marketing and improve the experience of users. The key to this could be in combining our online data with our offline data.
What’s the difference? Online data is the information we generate from strictly web-based activities like Google searches, social media activity, link clicking, and chats.
Offline data is the data we generate when we aren’t online. This includes things like purchases, our location, subscriptions, and information about what demographics we belong to.
Both types of data are highly valuable to companies but are often not properly combined. By bringing both data types together it’s possible to build a much more complete and accurate portrait of a user, allowing for better research and development and marketing by companies.
But it’s also important to do this in a fair and ethical way that benefits both the users and the advertisers. How do we do this?
The Blockchain Approach
Blockchain startups like O2OPay want to make it possible to use both online and offline data in the best way possible. They want to build an exchange where users and companies can share data with rewards for both parties.
It’s a big shift away from the current centralized system, where large third parties have a monopoly over our data and rarely use it to its full potential. With O2OPay, customers are rewarded with ERC20 based O2O tokens for sharing their valuable data in a decentralized ecosystem.
These tokens can then be exchanged for fiat money, so users are essentially getting paid for their data.
Meanwhile, businesses get a much more reliable and accurate view of consumer behaviour, and they can use this to improve their marketing efforts across the board and provide a better service to their customers.
At the time, when technology continues to move forward at breakneck speed, it’s vital to take new approaches to our data and use it more effectively and in a way that’s rewarding for everyone.