We use data to push ourselves to become better. And as we are used to taking care of our physical beings, we now can maintain our digital selves as well.
Things just worked well together. I loved how I could make my calendars, emails and files sync between my multiple computers, web services and phone. For a young engineer, it was a dream come true.
Since then a whole new world has arisen – one where the physical fuses with the digital in almost every aspect of life. We drive cars on highways paved not only with tarmac, but with data. We build automated logistics networks that adapt to location and weather data. And we mine an abundance of data to improve our own health and well-being.
We use this data to push ourselves to become better. And as we are used to taking care of our physical beings, we now can maintain our digital selves as well.
Thirty years ago, Finnish javelin star Seppo Räty trained under the supervision of a single coach, with a training plan drawn up every couple of months. Data was available even then, but scribbled on paper, and poorly understood. Even so, Räty managed to become a world champion, and a three-time Olympic medalist. Could the same approach win a medal today? I would like to think so, but, in practice, athletes with a digitally-enhanced training regime would have a key advantage.
The sheer amount of digital information available for the new stars, like the 22-year-old javelin thrower Oliver Helander, has grown tenfold, if not more. Helander produces data about his training, results, body, emotional state, sleep and nutrition values to multiple different databases. He has numerous experts, coaches and trainers helping him to understand the data. And all the information needs to be available for the head coach as well for him to have a holistic view of his protégé. All this available data guides him towards the Tokyo Olympics, and his ultimate goal, the Olympic gold medal. Find out more about our pilot.
The same need for data is apparent when Captain Kai Gröhnroos redesigns military service training to be more efficient and personalized for each conscript. Our current young generations of conscripts have exceedingly high drop-out rates, and the causes are not yet fully knowni. It’s one of the jobs for the military service to help and motivate the new recruits become better without overexerting the group.
Becoming more data-centric means that real-time data is made available from each soldier’s wrist for the ‘state of the troops’ analysis at the top. Tracking the exertion and mood of the troops helps with planning the training for each week separately, creating highly specified military training that lifts the mood of the troops, lowering drop-out rates and increasing personal health in general. Having and understanding data about ourselves is truly the key to success. Find out more about our pilot.
Our network of services, the digital world of today, is created to revolve around us. The new oil of the digital world is at the end owned by me. It is the data about me - MyData - that is interesting to everyone. And it’s also the thing we should be controlling ourselves.
MyData is an initiative that puts people back in control of their data. In a world where our data is stored and processed in hundreds of different silos, being able to control how and why our data is used would have real value to people. It’s about privacy and control, but also about redefining trust in a fast-expanding digital landscape
The examples above paint a realistic need for MyData that is becoming more visible in our everyday lives as well. The challenging part is that in real life our data is even more fragmented into hundreds of pieces. If we would want to use our personal data with today’s commonly used technology, we would need to create integrations between each and every service you use. Do you know how many services that would be?
For these scenarios to become reality, we need to achieve a completely new level of integration and usability – something like that I felt years ago when I fired up my first iPhone. Today, of course, the constant flow of data comes from dozens of different systems.
So far, the digital platforms we have created, have not been able to solve the challenge of integrating our digital selves into the digital ecosystem. So, the solution is not to create yet another app platform that is another potential silo.
We should forget the platform economy! The future of our digital interactions is not about platforms. It’s about creating the shared digital infrastructures for the next generation of personal data flow. In the future, we should be able to have our personal data with us everywhere we go, and be able to share it with our friends, our organizations and robots or bots alike. Our data should foremost serve us in creating a better life and better society for us all.
What is this infrastructure of the future? It is called self-sovereign identity, and I will be writing more blog posts about it in the coming month. Follow me on LinkedIn and I’m happy to discuss more!