The last decade was one in which we produced a massive amount of data. As Matt mentioned earlier, it was the first digital decade, with more and more of us able to contribute to a huge store of content. So, it’s perhaps not surprising to hear the claim that in the final year of the decade alone, more data was recorded than in the entire history of mankind up to the end of 2008.
This is a trend with particular resonance in the world of personal health and fitness and we’ve noticed a number of gadgets and games designed to track progress. An EA Sports game for the Wii console and the Nike+ iPod system both provide real-time feedback on workouts via wearable sensors. Nike’s system even allows people to upload progress to community pages to compare achievements with others. Adopting a more passive approach, the Ki-Fit armband and Fitbit sensor record each step you take, every calorie you burn, and even the total minutes and quality of your sleep.There’s even a wi-fi enabled weighing scale that tracks your weight, posting historical data to your laptop.
The Public sector is also showing an interest in the tracking trend. The NHS, for example, introduced a free app – the NHS Drinks Tracker – that records alcohol consumption, hopeful that – faced with an accurate log of how much you drink over time – you will be encouraged to cut down.
This trend also has implications for the utilities sector. Smart energy meters (such as this one from British Gas) give people real-time, visual feedback on energy usage, with advice on how to consume more efficiently, be that turning off appliances or switching usage to off-peak periods. Interestingly, online energy monitoring software such as Google’s PowerMeter offer comparisons with other peoples’ energy usage in the local area, potentially encouraging people to cut down via social pressure. Bottom right is also a new device from Garmin that plugs into your car, leeting drivers know how efficiently they are driving over time.
A number of established nVision trends could drive this embryonic trend forward. For example, healthy aspirations are widespread and gadgets that track and improve personal health and appearance have a potentially large audience.Services relating to energy usage and financial management also suit the newfound professional budgeting mindset. Their allusions to cost transparency also match the current mood. A big driver is the trend we call mobile living: more and more of us will be able to self-track in some way when on the move using sophisticated smartphones. This also complements our desire for ‘smart boredom’: entertaining but also valuable activities in moments of downtime, often when out and about, waiting for a bus or standing in a queue.The trend towards Simple complexity is also in evidence here: all of the examples we’ve shown excel at reducing what can be complicated lifestyle data into understandable chunks of insight. Finally, whilst this trend will be met with fears we are inviting unnatural levels of surveillance, we actually sense a growing acceptance of surveillance so long as tangible rewards are received in return.
Agenda 1 2 The Quantified Self Data Data Everywhere! 3 4 Personal Data Exhaust Wisdom of one 1
Information proliferation “In 2009, more data will be generated by individuals than in the entire history of mankind [up to] 2008.” Andreas Weigend, former Chief Scientist at Amazon.com
Data Data everywhere – in popular culture In a 2007 analysis in Popular Science (US), there were at least 15 successful prime-time dramas whose prime subject was science or maths In the entire decade of the 1990s there were only 10.
Although we have more data, it’s not the data itself that people are looking for People don’t want the numbers, they want the ‘aha’ from numbers.
What does data data everywhere mean for business?
How often do your clients tell you that there’s a problem with a brand, but know no more that? Such as “is it in share decline, or value decline? Numbers are everywhere – what is in short supply is the ability to extract wisdom from them.
Data Exhaust The internet and social media create a mountain of random, unstructured, and at times ephemeral data by-products, which may appear to be trash. From FaceBook to Amazon, people are spending more time sharing their thoughts, opinions, plans and perspectives as they socialise and conduct business online. With each of these Internet exchanges traces of information, or Data Exhaust, are left behind. When correlated or combined, these snippets can provide insight into political views, professional achievements, purchasing behaviours, and demographic information—pinpointing trend setters and leading indicators.
What % of Google searches go past the first page? 1%
Why? Because Google are brilliant at understanding and using data exhaust
By getting the right people - Not a typical job advert
NysSpelin Microsoft spent several million dollars over 20 years to develop a robust spellchecker for its word-processing program. Google got its raw material free: its program is based on all the misspellings that users type into a search window and then correct by clicking on the right result.
The effectiveness of this use has led to the advent of keyboard mashing
Google’s leaps forward have shown just how invaluable understanding data can be in creating better products Hal Varian, Google’s chief economist, predicts that the job of statistician will become the ‘sexiestaround’
And its perceived lack of sexiness is proving a dissuading factor in uptake In 2007 at Harvard, there were only 78 math majors, out of a total of 6,700 undergraduates. Yale had 38.
So what does this all mean for business? Data about consumers is growing exponentially, but knowledge of how to harness it and implement actions arising from it lags behind. With so much more data available (and clients convinced of its merit in understanding consumers), businesses will be more keen to hire people that have a greater understanding of data. Greater amounts of data and information could lead to the end of assumption and greater accountability amongst businesses (and their advertising agency) Less and less often clients (well, good ones) will say: “We think there’s a problem with this brand” – they will provide evidence of where the problems lie based on data. What will separate businesses increasingly in the future is being able to glean insights from this information.
It’s not just businesses that are throwing themselves into the world of information proliferation
The Quantified Self New tools and mechanisms have led to the rise of the quantified self : data collected and interpreted by the individual. Invitations to lead healthier, smarter lives, save money and spot inefficiencies in our day to day lifestyles. The Quantified Self is already present in…
In the future we will have a lot more decisions to make
The end of folklore We may be entering a New Enlightenment, with society about to be radically altered by increased amounts of information. The 20th and early 21st Century may be regarded as information Dark Ages, where people made imprudent decisions based on folklore and assumption rather than knowledge.
Quantified Self - Summary We have seen the rise of the consumer ‘black box’, quantifying everything from energy expended to calories consumed, to money spent to electricity usedto hours slept to….. This has and will continue to help us to make our lives more efficient, but there will be a tension. The tension will grow between how much business and government want our information and how willing we are to give it up Just like business, consumers will be able assume far less about what is good or bad for them. It will therefore become harder to bury one’s head in the sand(although we will definitely try) and harder to hide our excesses or inefficiencies – how much we cost the state, how much time we actually spend working when “working at home” and how much carbon actually appears on our personal eco-tab.
The By-Products of information proliferation… Managing information created by others
Online review sites and aggregators abound, but with such a huge number of points of reference, consumers increasingly seek the recommendations and advice of celebrity peers, one such being Martin Lewis of moneysavingexpert.com.
Even friends and peers are seen as less credible sources of information, as the definition of what exactly defines a friend changes.
2008 – 45% % that trust friends and peers as credible sources of information about companies – Edelman Trust Barometer 2010 – 25%
I don’t know what to believe Try googling ‘wine’ and ‘cancer’ and you’ll find persuasive arguments that wine both causes and prevents cancer
The Daily Mail list of things that both cause and prevent Cancer ALLERGIES ASPIRIN BABIES BEER BREAD BREAST IMPLANTS CAFFEINE CALCIUM CEREAL CHEESE CHILDREN CHILLIS CHINESE MEDICINE CHOCOLATE CONTRACEPTIVE PILLS COSMETICS CURRY DAIRY PRODUCTS DIETING DOGS EGGS ELECTRICITY FIBRE FISH FRIED FOOD FRUIT GARDENING GAS GRAPEFRUIT HRT MAMMOGRAMS MEASLES TANNING PILLS MILK MOBILE PHONES MOUTHWASH RADIOTHERAPY RICE SEX SOYA STATINS STRESS SUN SUNCREAM TEA VITAMINSX-RAYS
And for brands? Consumers will increasingly become turned off by jack-of-all-trades brands, who do a little bit of everything but nothing particularly well. Woolworths is a classic case of a jack-of-all trades brand. Brands will increasingly need to become more T-shaped – spread wide, but with expertise and authority in a certain area.
Wisdom of one - Summary As we move into an ever-chunkier soup of‘fact’, expect more contradictory opinions and diversesolutions being presented as definitive. It will be the modern equivalent of the hypochondriac with the medical textbook. For organisations in the ‘fact’ business this is both a threat and an opportunity. For brands, authority will increasingly become a key communication metric. In a time when truth is more contested than ever, objectivity and impartiality will become rarefied and more in demand.
We will also become more aware of our own Personal Information Exhaust
Personal Information Exhaust Whilst debates surrounding Google Street View and longer conversations surrounding privacy of individuals rage on (the introduction of national identity cards being one), seemingly paradoxically consumers have never before willingly shared so much information with others. The inclination to share so much information is creating huge amounts of information exhaust – the consequences of which will become more apparent
Employers checking facebook profiles of potential new recruits ¼ of employers are checking social networking sites such as Facebook for information about job candidates More than half of those that did look up prospective employee profiles on such sites admitted they used the information to make hiring decisions.
"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again." "Pot had helped, and booze; maybe a little blow when you could afford it. Not smack, though” The politicians of the past had no data exhaust – they dealt with it in different ways
"When I got started in my dorm room at Harvard, the question a lot of people asked was, 'why would I want to put any information on the internet at all? Why would I want to have a website?'.“ "People have really gotten comfortable not only sharing more information and different kinds, but more openly and with more people……That social norm is just something that has evolved over time." Changing rules of privacy
We’re actually broadcasting our exhaust – buying stuff and telling people
And unwittingly Tell the local burglars you’re not at home
Maybe the only safe thing to do is top yourself
Personal Data Exhaust - Summary In the same way that business data is increasing exponentially, so is personal information. Risk and reward will come under even closer scrutiny than before, as more benefits of sharing can be reaped, and yet more is recorded, with the risk of it falling into the wrong hands. High profile crimes facilitated by personal data exhaust have not, as yet, proved much of a dissuading factor for consumers. Consumers will continue to share even more information, but the network with which they share will decrease.
Information proliferation - Conclusions More information collected in 2009 than in the whole of human history up until then. Safe to assume that 2010 will be more than 2009, with more every year after then. In 10 years time we might have 100 times the information we have now. And we have a lot now. Consumers and businesses need to be careful with how they manage it, for their sake and the sake of others. Privacy concerns will mount – consumers will want to balance the benefit of getting targeted information with the worry of giving too much information away.
Gaining permission and being squeaky-clean will be key. Use of data one way to build trust quickly – could be eroded twice as fast. Assumption will be more and more eliminated from lifestyle and business: It won’t be a case of guessing what is good for us, rather knowing. There will be fewer places to hide excesses or indifferences for both business and consumers: harder to turn one’s back or bury head in sand. Information proliferation - Conclusions
First two sections – how businesses and consumers are using the new methods of data collection to improve their fortunes Last two sections deal with the implications of information proliferation and how to cope.