This Week in Data – November 23

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Governments need data standards – and they need them now

The debate over the role of private information in government services is furious in Australia. And last week, several industry leaders got together – including Data Republic’s Danny Gilligan and Steve Millward – to talk it all through. The result is an issues paper that settles on some stark findings: one of them being that governments have no current way to “de-identify” people. Yeesh.


“If I give you a single de-identified data-set and ask you to use the personal information, that would be quite reasonable. But if we link hundreds of data-sets together it’s very challenging. It exceeds our capacity to understand it, so people default to not sharing the data.”


Data Republic eyes Singapore as gateway to Asia

Data Republic co-founder, Danny Gilligan, was featured in the AFR discussing how Singapore is the logical market for Australian fintech companies to export their know-how to a region where hundreds of millions of people are banking for the first time. Data Republic opened an office in Singapore in April this year and is seeing huge interest in secure data exchange and data privacy in the region.


“Singapore has always been very good at picking the next big market and positioning itself, whether it is shipping, tourism or financial services and one of the big ones they have identified going forward is the data economy, data exchange and AI.”


Tech giants should be forced to share map data

It’s like the 1990s antitrust lawsuits all over again. Sort of. Maybe. Well, not really. But still, the UK’s Open Data Institute is targeting Apple, Google and Uber in a bid to make them share map information. The group, which is founded by world-wide web creator Tim Berners-Lee, says the information would benefit start-ups. Dunno if that will be enough to convince the politicians, but it’s a start.


“The large companies are becoming more like data monopolies and that doesn’t give us the best value from our data.”


Smart home device risks on the rise

Consumers have been increasingly wary of smart devices like the Amazon Echo or Facebook Portal – 55% of them, according to a PWC survey. They have a point, Bloomberg Law says. One legal expert says these devices are taking information without consent, and they pose a pretty big security risk should they be hacked. (And a business risk too, if the FTC catches wind of any breach.)


“In-home personal assistants inadvertently can pick up conversations and other sensitive data…devices can “misinterpret conversation as commands, responding to something that sounds similar to the wake word, and executing commands like sending messages to your contacts based on a conversation you don’t know that it is listening to.”


Ford ditches cars for bits and bytes

Well, not quite yet. But maybe soon: the Detroit Free Press reports that more than 30% of the company’s profit comes from financing deals. Recently Ford purchased an electric scooter company, Spin, which comes with a huge amount of transport data. CEO Jim Hackett even said on an interview recently that financing data can be used to move into new business models.

Given Ford is dealing with some major changes around the world in car-buying habits, especially as consumers switch to smaller vehicles, making money in new areas like data seems like a winning strategy.


“We have 100 million people in vehicles today that are sitting in Ford blue-oval vehicles. That’s the case for monetizing opportunity versus an upstart who maybe has, I don’t know, what, they got 120, or 200,000 vehicles in place now. And so just compare the two stacks: Which one would you like to have the data from?”


Retailers need to start making money from data

Just yesterday, Gap announced it will shut hundreds of stores around the world. Maybe this article comes a little late: CMO has a deep dive into why retailers need to pivot to monetizing their data more efficiently. Nothing new here, Amazon is the king of this type of model. But here’s the kicker: too many retailers think of this as an add-on, instead of something you must do to survive. Dunnhumby CEO Guillaume Bacuvier has worked with massive brands including Coca-Cola and GSK, and 25% of the company’s staff are data scientists. There’s some need for automation here, he tells the publication, but ultimately retailers of all sizes need to grasp the fact their information is now a major business pillar.


“…retailers are in a sweet spot, because transactional data about what people buy is uniquely valuable for many other businesses. Especially if you can combine transactional and survey data to really understand consumers in a way that’s incredibly attractive to other companies.”

That’s our wrap for this week. Thanks for reading – we hope you found it entertaining and informational. We’d love to hear your thoughts on these articles and anything else data related! Email us anytime at!

Until next week,

Team Data Republic

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