The real value
of data & analytics is in giving direct value to the people
The London underground transport system has been in focus recently for the use of wifi data from commuters. Over the last few years many companies have been looking at ways in which they can harness the immense opportunities that are presented by the masses plying the London Underground pass.
Public perception about WiFi tracking
A major issue that has been troubling most commuters is the fact that the TfL (Transport for London) has, in their perception, been misleading about the nature of collecting personal information from the different devices that use the under rail system of transport.
This is an issue of understanding and trust - a trend that has been emerging elsewhere as Big Data comes into the main stream mind space. There's is a feeling that too much data is being utilised for taking advantage of the many opportunities presented in the digital world today.
The fact the use of Wi-Fi data and analytics can be harnesses and used for many different purposes is the cause of confusion for the public. For example billboard advertising is one that is cited by the TfL. The potential benefits of advertising revenues for the TfL is perceived as reselling data, rather than being seen as public good since the TfL reinvests all their income into improvement programmes.
As many more companies are looking at ways to leverage data, it becomes vitally important to connect and communicate the purposes in a way that's clear for the public to understand.
What about Data analytics to directly serve the people?
Lets start with the potential for real-time services to help the commuter navigate efficiently across the underground labyrinth. No commuter would argue from the benefit of saving time from getting lost or missing a connection. Or analysis of the patterns of user devices trying to reach the internet every time it sees the
With the potential benefits in taking advantage of the information that is generated from the different devices across London and elsewhere in the world. How that's being communicated to the general public seems to be missing the mark.
One issue that most of the population seems to be worried about is an understanding of how their information is being used for the right reasons.
The point is, that if the the public doesn't see the direct benefit to them, they will struggle to connect with the indirect benefits.
The thing about privacy
The privacy of individual data should be one of the major considerations of using big data.
In the use of big data as the next frontier for generating leads and marketing opportunities. However, without the cooperation or at least feedback from the 'data subjects', or in other words the public of the into personal information for reasons other than those meant for the greater good.
There have been a lot of talk concerning the issue and it is about time that all stakeholders and security apparatus came together to look at ways in which the way forward is mutually satisfying.
The underground should be properly connected to serve the people. The connectivity and services companies need to extend that objective by putting people first when making use of the big data available.
The GDPR will ensure that there is compliance in the different avenues in which it plays, not least, that there's better transparency, control and choice to the end user.