Business, innovators, and technology entrepreneurs

The market for personalised services is growing, with products such as Apple Health beginning to respond to demand for a high-trust, personalised health service. There are two components to this business model, representing both personal and non-personal use of users’ data; the first is that Apple’s hardware products provide an information and networking opportunity for the integration of medical records, test results, and personalised health information, integrating heart rate data and third-party data for a bespoke service that caters to the individual.

The second, non-personal use of the data is the opportunity for users to donate their personal health data for scientific research, with their consent. This non-personal use of personal data yields indirect benefits to users and their communities, whilst protecting their privacy. This is a great example of a edgling Data Commons that offers different levels of access to different parties based on users’ consent, delivers value for individuals, and yields a profit for business.

A Person Data Commons would deliver many of the same opportunities interms of product and service development and monetisation for profit, but without the need for a single centralised repository placing control of the data in the hands of a single corporate entity.

A peer-to-peer data sharing platform that facilitates the integration of personal data from multiple sources would offer New Zealand businesses most of the same opportunities that Apple is capitalising on with Apple Health, but in a more democratised, low-risk fashion. By decentralising the network and keeping data ownership in the hands of those who generate it, the commons-based structure will keep individual's data safer and provide more opportunities for multiple businesses to innovate off the back of the insights the integration of such data might generate. A Data Commons that is owned by its participants, rather than by a single provider such as Apple, is more inclusive and therefore offers more value to all participants.

An effective Data Commons will enable small to mid-sized technology and analytics entrepreneurs to grow on a level playing field – in the same way that the Internet protocol enabled new startup retail businesses to enter a market traditionally held by monopoly providers. The costs of scaling are diminished if the Data Commons is inclusive.

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