In today’s digital economy, the data we produce has monetary value; very much like our physical or intellectual labor. It contains information that helps businesses make decisions and generate additional revenues. While there are many discussions around data mining and data privacy, there hasn’t been as much focus on generating revenues from personal data for the owners of the data. A handful of very large companies have been mining and reselling consumer and enterprise data without sharing the revenues with the producers of this data. Most people and even enterprises either do not recognize the value of their data or don’t have a simple way of monetizing their data.
Take for instance the case of the white knights of the ride share sector like Uber and Lyft that provide convenient ride discovery with “cheaper” fairs and at the same time create new jobs. For these companies, their main source of revenue is a percentage of the ride fair. But they also collect and mine valuable data on drivers, passenger, the cars operated by drivers, traffic and driving patterns, frequent and popular destinations, tourism patterns, consumer and provider behavior, and many other valuable data. These data are continuously collected and processed to gain valuable knowledge. The knowledge extracted from the data not only can generate additional revenues from new sources but also can impact the future of businesses by identifying trends and disruption opportunities through data mining. For instance, the ride services data can be used to help roll out a network of autonomous vehicles that would eventually dis-intermediate drivers’ roles and make them redundant.
The larger the network for collecting this data, the larger is the power and control on monetization and less opportunity to compete by smaller entities. In effect, consumers and smaller enterprises are the data producers that fuel the growth of these businesses and not only do they not receive any benefits, but their data can be used to manipulate their decisions or used to minimize their participation and share in the economy. Our data is invaluable for the growth and expansion of these companies.