Beagli: Finding value in your personal data

Personal analytics products can help users extract value from their data. This post describes our development of Beagli, a platform for mining and auctioning personal data.

By Raluca Crisan (Beagli).

Enterprises value data highly; its benefits include improved marketing, smoother operations, and even selling this data to third parties.

Data can also be a valuable asset to the consumer, but the barriers individuals face in extracting this value are high - data is spread across multiple platforms, devices and formats; there is no quick and easy way to centralize it, and platform/format data diffusion impedes both its usage, and its sale in a liquid marketplace.

As such, there is a need for personal data analytics, and for data marketplaces that allow consumers to monetize their own data, as they can monetize other personal assets.

Extracting value from data: insight and personal analytics

While there are some excellent apps out there which provide analytics to users, they are primarily sector specific: e.g. health, finance, social media, work productivity.

This decentralized approach has the following consequences:

1) It can leave out patches of data that could provide useful analysis, such as the mundane browsing history or a user’s communication history. For instance, at Beagli, one of our use cases focuses on turning a user’s communication history into insight that will help users better manage personal and professional relationships.

2) Value is left on the table by not merging different types of datasets (e.g. health and digital or health and finance). At Beagli, we want to offer a central repository for users’ own personal data from multiple sources (online, social media, mobile, health), and the tools to enable them to use their data (initially BI, with a sprinkle of machine learning). Such tools would help users tease out revealing patterns about their behaviour and routines; this, in turn, should facilitate recognition and understanding of negative and positive habits, and how to break or strengthen them.

Beagli Pic. 2

Extracting value from data: monetizing personal data

In addition to deriving insight from data, another way to extract value is to monetize that data. At Beagli, our goal was to design a data market-place that allows consumers control over selling their data. Such marketplaces have a few inherent challenges.

Beagli: Your Data is your Asset

Privacy and trust are key considerations in this market. Our solution is to give customers choice on whether to sell their data, to which brands they sell it, and which parts of data they want to sell or store.

Pricing is a challenging question as well. We wanted to give users the ability to set a reserve price. However, data needs to be sold in bulk, and reservation prices can be vastly different for different sellers and can pervert seller’s incentives. Our approach to this challenge was to constrain the reserve prices users can set to a range of values. This would ensure the market does not get distorted by a few outliers, but the consumer is still given choice.

Possibly the most important challenge is liquidity. Such a marketplace needs time (and volumes) to develop and personal analytics can act as an intermediate stage. An experiment by researchers at Telefonica showed that consumers who understand more about their own data are more likely to value it more. Personal analytics can act as a catalyst and raise awareness in consumers of the value of their data and of what can be derived from it.

In summary, data is an asset, but consumers do not currently have the means to extract the full value out this asset. Personal analytics and data marketplaces are trying to fill this gap.

Bio: Raluca Crisan Raluca Crisan is a co-founder of Beagli, a platform that enables users to mine and auction their personal data. Previously, she worked in data and analytics at Aimia and built up the loyalty analytics function for a mobile marketing company. Raluca holds a BA cum laude from Amherst College and an MA from University of York.