Digital Me – Active extension of my physical life in the digital world.
Amidst the digital transformation of countless aspects of our daily lives and all the concentration on my right to manage and control all my personal data, there is surprisingly little discussion about the opportunity to transition from passive digital assistants – Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant etc. – to always active, and proactive, truly helpful intelligent personal digital services. This is what I call “Digital Me”, active extension of me and my every day life in the digital world, that operates constantly and relentlessly in the digital world for me and on my behalf. Digital Me is based on intelligent utilisation of the vast amount of my personal data held by numerous service providers. My data, not theirs. It’s time I take control of it, and, as so kindly enforced by regulation, e.g. GDPR, make it actively work for myself. Enable me to couple all that data with interfaces made available by those service providers, voluntarily to generate business or as dictated by regulation, and with modern powerful artificial intelligence, and I’m en route to make the best out of all my data to improve my life.
You can easily come up with a number of aspects of life where such intelligent proactive digital assistance would be helpful. In this article I will concentrate on four essential areas: personal finance, retail, health and transportation. With our unique viewpoint to each of these segments at Boogie through our customers, we see how all these segments of life are going through significant digital transformation with much more to come in near future, providing an optimal moment in time to consider the potential of transitioning from passive to proactive digital context.
The objective of all this is to enable myself to utilise the best available services, find the best opportunities that I would probably not find or have time to make use of without Digital Me. Find the best financial opportunities for my use of money and to optimise my lifetime wealth. Understand the actions and opportunities that enable me to maintain and improve my health. Optimise my travelling costs, plans and comfort. I do not have the resources to make the necessary analyses and reach the right conclusions, but Digital Me does. He’s active and wide awake 24/7, with the only objective to serve me – his physical extension!
Digital Me in Finance and Retail
PSD2, GDPR, KYC, MiFID… Financial institutions are struggling to keep up with numerous regulatory aspects forcing them to invest in their internal infrastructure and services, often with no obvious immediate business advantages for themselves. At the same time they should be dynamic and agile in their digital transformation, not just to switch their current services to digital form, but to improve and extend their services to keep up with external competition from natively digital, big and small players outside traditional banking field. From consumer’s point of view the situation is ideal – everyone’s fighting for your attention, and the only way to reach a smart consumer is to provide the best services. Constant proactive digital assistance should be an obvious element!
Digital Me knows how I use money. Extending financial terms a bit, to include retail services and loyalty programs, he knows what I buy and where, how much I pay for my communication services, utilities, groceries and transportation. He knows the interest rate of my mortgage. And quite interestingly, He can also be made aware of, in statistical terms, what Digital You knows! In fact, all the millions of digital you out there. And that’s what makes him most useful. With enough statistical data power, and his practically endless artificial intelligence resources, he can help me optimise my financial actions. To take it even further, he can proactively improve my financial actions based on my preferences and information about others’ (digital you) success or failure. He proactively selects the optimal financial instruments for my every day use. He can switch me to financial services with better rates on incentives for me, or even applying the best proven investment policies. Furthermore, he follows my “financial health”, to warn me if my activity, combined with his knowledge of my expected cost structure until next pay day, might lead to a dangerously low balance. Naturally, not all platforms and APIs that could be utilised here are yet available, but regulation and strict nature of business ensure that more and more of those are created constantly.
Digital Me in Health
Regulation and business factors have worked quite differently in health and fitness sector than in finance. In fact, in almost opposite direction, with health service providers purposefully creating closed proprietary systems with practically no open APIs, disabling similar digital proactivity as in finance. However, the expectation of having control over my data is no different here. Therefore it is safe to assume that platform and API economy, through regulation and business factors, will eventually make their way to health services as well.
For Digital Me the statistical analysis is even more crucial when considering my health. You can imagine the vastness of analytical opportunities if Digital Me would have access to statistical health data of millions of people with similar background and lifestyle to mine. With anonymised but connected health, financial and retail data, we could very probably prove a number of connections from consuming choices, every day activities and other lifestyle elements, to positive or negative implications in health. With all that data, Digital Me can proactively direct me in the right direction – or at least suggest necessary changes in my life, in good time before I could make the similar choices based on human observations of myself.
The other side of the coin of protecting my data is the availability of everyone’s data to make such statistical analysis. Often in public discussion the protection of privacy and personal data exceeds the importance of utilisation of anonymised data for general good. This might not be the common consensus, but at least I would happily allow use of my (anonymised) data, whether financial, retail or health, for such purposes to improve our combined quality of life.
Digital Me in Transportation
The general opinion in very core aspects of transportation is also changing rapidly. Here, more than in any other sector, the importance and opinion of ownership is changing dramatically. More and more people do not consider owning a vehicle is essential. What a perfect opportunity for Digital Me to gain ground. He mostly knows when I need transportation. And he knows what means of transportation best suites my situation. A fleet of cars, perhaps owned by my housing company, car rental service or other transportation service company, will do. Living in urban environment, I might not need to own a car. Just reserve one for the physical me. Or call a taxi if I’m in a foreign environment and my preferences state that I don’t like to drive myself there. Book a train ticket if I might appreciate the opportunity to rest or work while travelling. Naturally reserve a flight if the journey is long. Digital Me uses his judgement to offer me a solution, which I can of course refine if necessary. Natural communication with a digital assistant is already quite advanced in today’s services, so even complex situations can be handled with a convenient user experience.
While en route, I would prefer to feel comfortable and have my regular services available. Car manufacturers are already announcing Apple and Android based solutions, which can adapt to the driver’s (or backseat passenger’s) preferences. And who’s there but his highness the Digital Me to provide. One of the major transitions in the digital transformation of all fields is the independence of physical surroundings, enabling availability of personalised services wherever I might be.
All this provides an opportunity for major transportation companies to offer general mobility services instead of individual physical vehicles. Car manufacturers, airlines, train operators. But perhaps more importantly, companies that can utilise their existing business and customer data (like banks and retail chains) to optimise the offered services to best suite my physical, digital, financial, calendar and what-not situation. This again brings us to the major agile business trend of optimal utilisation of available data in optimal sectors, overtaking traditional business model of concentrating on traditional core operations.
Me, myself and my data
To have all this available in reality, is all about which major players have the courage to take the first steps to empower (digital) me. Then the advantages to consumers are so enormous that others will have to follow. Regarding business value to those who currently hold the data in their internal systems – well there it is: monetise data. Regarding all the software needed to establish the data access platform, the artificial intelligence and analyses, don’t worry about that. There’s enough of us coders to implement all that happily. We’re no different – we need our digital other half too!