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What: Block chain technology offers brands the opportunity to collect customer data and incentivize their behavior directly and transparently.
Why it matters: Customers can protect their personal data and monetize it, entering into a one-on-one relationship with brands through a technology called “smart contracts”. Smart contracts allow users to enter into data sharing agreements with brands that are “securely stored on the block chain along with the detailed terms and conditions.”

Block chain technology is poised to revolutionize how brands gather customers’ data and incentivize their behavior. The digital computer code that is best known for being used to create the crypto-currency known as “Bitcoin,” also allows for “smart contracts,” whereby two entities (i.e. a brand and a customer) can enter into agreements that are transparent, verifiable, secure and direct.

So what do “smart contracts” mean for brands?

Smart contracts backed by block chain technology have the potential to shatter the traditional paradigm whereby brands purchase customer data from third parties like Facebook, or loyalty programs that rely on consumer subscriptions but don’t provide a lot of purchasing behavior or product preferences information.

Enter Killi, a consumer application available on iOS or Android. Killi lets consumers sell their personal data directly to brands and receive compensation every time marketers choose to buy it.

Using block chain technology, Killi collects users’ locations and their purchasing data which is stored on the user’s device. Brands can then purchase the data with the permission of the app users.

A personal data locker is controlled by the user and secured by the block chain. This allows you to take back control of your personal data from those who are selling it today without your consent.

When users authorize brands to access their data, Killi stores the payment on the Killi app until users choose to redeem it.

“Killi acts as a personal data locker that is controlled by the user and secured by the block chain. Killi allows you to take back control of your personal data from those who are selling it today without your consent,” Killi tells consumers on its website.

The Killi website is a bit vague on how the technology actually works, but “the offering of being able to monetize your own personal info does sound intriguing,” said Jay Gumbiner, vice president for Latin America at IDC.

“We could even imagine some consumers being worth much more than others based on their purchasing habits, socioeconomic placement, educational level, etc.”

We could even imagine some consumers being worth much more than others based on their purchasing habits, socioeconomic placement, educational level, etc.

“In terms of using block chain for maintaining the integrity of that data and being able to easily track who has been able to access the information, it seems like blockchain could be a great use case for managing data such as this,” Gumbiner noted.

The Killi app relies on block chain technology to create what is known as a “smart contract” between the app users and brands.

Smart contracts allow users to enter into data sharing agreements with brands that are “securely stored on the block chain along with the detailed terms and conditions,” according to Yves Benchimol, CEO at the French startup Occi.

Thanks to these smart contracts and encryption via the block chain, consumers can “easily request an exhaustive list of all retailers/brands they have shared data with, and in which conditions, in compliance with GDPR,” Benchimol said.

Occi is working on its own products for retailers that use block chain and smart contract technology to reward customers while providing a rich set of data about their shopping behavior to brands.

Smart contracts with consumers provide a channel for consumers to share their information with brands, while providing brands new possibilities for influencing consumers’ behavior.

Brands can “create a campaign rewarding a shopper for visiting a store and define the amount they’re willing to reward a shopper along with a total budget, which will be locked in a smart contract,” Benchimol said.

Retailers have access to well-established sources of data on consumers’ preferences and behaviors from a wide range of sources, but new laws such as GDPR create barriers to using that data without consent.

Block chain and smart contract technology “bring forth a new way to solicit data sharing from shoppers, that is more transparent and fair because it directly rewards them,” Benchimol said.

What: Media intelligence firm Meltwater has announced the acquisition of human data firm DataSift.
Why it matters: With its sixth acquisition in a year, Meltwater keeps solidifying its emergence as a leading provider of AI-driven intelligence.

At an interesting moment just after the news of Cambridge Analytics misusing Facebook data, Norway-born Meltwater has announced the acquisition of DataSift. “DataSift has built a scalable platform that lets developers build data science-driven insights from social firehoses while protecting the privacy of an individual’s data,” said Meltwater CEO and founder Jorn Lyseggen. “When combined with the data Meltwater captures and our AI capabilities, developers can disrupt the Business Intelligence space by either building new applications or complementing existing ones with unique signals that can be only derived from external data.”

Meltwater and DataSift have the partnerships, data and AI to serve the growing competitive intelligence market with advanced analytics. DataSift’s CEO Tim Barker and CTO Lorenzo Alberton, among others, have joined the Meltwater team and will add increased leadership bench strength to the development of the Outside Insight platform.

“We share the same vision and passion to increase access to the data and algorithms needed to gain strategic insights from data outside your business,” said DataSift CEO Tim Barker. “At a time when other tech companies are now trying to assemble proprietary ‘data moats,’ we’re excited about joining an established player to create an open data and insights platform–built on the foundation of privacy–for the world’s innovators, developers and data scientists.”

DataSift clients will now have access to Meltwater’s data platform, sophisticated AI models to extract insights, and gain an experienced partner with local expertise in more than 55 markets on six continents.

 

 

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