Sunday, February 28, 2016

Opening up the Billion Sided Market for our IoT data.

In the HAT project, we came up with the idea for  starting a data exchange for all of us to exploit our data for fun and profit.

There are several important innovations we are bringing to the IoT world:

  • Multi-sided market - we are all now used to the two-sided markets of the smart phone & the cloud - we get apps and services for "free", in reality, trading data about our selves (wishes from searches, preferences from likes,  places from location checkins, etc etc). However, the market is heavily tipped in favour of the large cloud providers, and the user has little knowledge or control over her data, and in particular, very little view of its use and value. The HAT changes all that by providing a hub for each user with storage processing and interfaces for access by other parties, but with visibility, control and above all, valuation for the data.
  • Democratised data - HAT providers store the data and provide access, so we need a marketplace for the valuation - an exchange, where bidders can establish openly a price. This could be at a fine or coarse grain - for example, usage of utilities (power, water etc) typically is interesting for service providers, but typically, aside from billing, fine grain use is only really interesting to the actual consumer in their home or office. Alternatively, monetizing usage information about retail goods could be traded directly with retailers or even wholesalers for discounts, loyalty points, or money, and can include preferences for really accurately targeted advertisements in exchange for further discounts or e-cash. 
  • Freedom - freedom to switch hub, to choose aggregators who have a better deal, or provide stronger service guarantees, is a given  - the large number of HATs is trivially deployed and scaled out in today's cloud based world. This encourages innovation in HAT technology itself. The symmetry of the business relationships allows this dynamic, in contrast to the asymmetric power wielded by the centralised services of the last fifteen years.
  • Silo Busting - the IoT world is notoriously not an Internet of Things, but a hodge podge of many different services, overlayed on the internet and the cloud, but not in any way connected to each other. The HAT changes that by creating a collection of places where data from multiple worlds can be integrated by new applications and new customers from any of the millions of sides of the new market. We are strongly technology agnostic when it comes to IoT at the "lower level" - of course there are good reasons for different systems to work in different ways. We break open the silos by allowing user-centered integration of data. Its about you, so you control it, whatever it is. Cosmetics, entertainment, clothes, energy, well-being, you name it. Think of the value being missed by existing isolated systems when they cannot put 1+1+1 together, but can only see how single values (kilowat hours, litres, meters) increase over time, instead of being able to combine together information with meaning! A space for a million apps for combining your data - more innovation, driven by new value made out of new joins across the seams of the legacy disjointed IoT world.
  • Privacy Protection - We really care about our privacy. The legacy cloud systems today (your social media, web mail, search, travel portal usage) currently do a half baked job on this. When we take far more personal information into the HAT, it is essential we offer much much stronger assurances, applying the very best practice in technology and also written in to the terms & conditions in plain language. If one HAT doesn't get it right, it is easy to move to another. This enables an eco-system with constantly improving, transparent, control over data visibility - once again, another dimension on which to innovate.

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