For many years businesses have used customer data to better understand consumers, so that they can develop and market targeted products and services to us. Now ‘midata’, a new government backed initiative, aims to give the power of consumer data back to consumers themselves. It is doing this by working with the energy, finance, telecoms and retail sectors to release customer data back to individuals in an easy-to-use digital form, which can then be used to bring benefits to consumers.
What does this actually mean? Imagine a world where you have easy access to the data that companies have about you, so that you can use digital tools like apps and personal analytics that will help you to make choices, save money and manage your life more efficiently. For instance, how about helping to manage your money by sharing your credit card transaction data with an app that can alert you to when you’re spending more than usual on particular types of products or services? Or tapping into a service that joins up information about your travel plans with your health records to check and plan your vaccination and prescription needs while you’re on holiday?
Understanding the carbon impact of your supermarket shop. Making your home automatically make heating adjustments based on your personal whereabouts. Helping emergency services prioritise the assistance of the most needy with targetted medicines, the restoration of power and provision of communication updates to individuals based on their specific needs. The opportunities are endless.
These are just a taste of the possible applications of midata, but we are now at a stage where we need to experiment with real customer data to understand how it could be used to empower consumers. This is why the Department of Business and Innovation Services (BIS) is working with a range of companies to run the midata innovation lab (mIL), which aims to develop consumer-focused applications and services using the sort of customer data that will be released under the midata initiative. We need volunteers to contribute their data for use in the mIL and the rest of this document aims to tell you everything you need to know in order to decide whether or not you are want to be one of the personal data pioneers.