MicroPact Blog

Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2016: Connect, Don’t Collect

Analytics in the Age of Ephemeral Data

Michelle LaLumia's avatar

By: Michelle LaLumia

October 25, 2016 | Data and Analytics

Here’s an easy one: According to Gartner’s annual CIO survey, analytics has been the No. 1 priority for 9 out the last 11 years (2006 – 2016). Despite great strides, the rate and means of data collection continue to outpace our ability to define an endpoint. Data is at the center of everything, and it’s coming from everywhere. By 2020, Gartner predicts that 20 billion connected devices will be generating 54.1 exabytes (1018) of data.

Where will all that data be stored? Will brontobytes (1027) of unanalyzed data be loaded onto barges to drift across the world’s rising seas? Not to worry: Gartner also predicts that the Internet of Things (IoT) will increase the demand for data storage by less than 3 percent. How so? Because IoT data is transient. It is meant to be tapped into, analyzed, and discarded, not stored or retained. That’s a paradigm shift, but a logical one. The volume and complexity of data are too high to make collection possible. Don’t collect, connect.

Can You Be Trusted?

A good chunk of data is already coming from wearable devices. Disney’s mastery of IoT is embodied in the MagicBand worn by most Symposium attendees throughout the week. First publicly tested in 2013, the MagicBand is a wearable device equipped with an RFID transmitter and receiver that enables guests to access the parks, enter their hotel rooms, make reservations for popular attractions and restaurants, and buy anything in sight with the tap of a wrist. Guests report greater convenience and a more personalized experience, and Disney can mine aggregated data about migration patterns and consumer profiles to continuously improve its offerings.

Despite the obvious amount of personal data being mined, since the MagicBand was first introduced in 2013, adoption has been almost universal. Why are so many people so willing to grant access to their preferences and whereabouts?

The most important factor is trust. Disney consistently rates among the Top 10 most trusted brands. Trust is your customers’ belief that you provide a consistently high-quality experience. It’s their confidence in your future behavior — for publicly traded companies, it’s reflected in your stock price. You must earn your customers’ trust before they will trust you with their data. 

A Persistent Way of Knowing

The closest proxy to a public sector MagicBand is the citizen e-ID, what Gartner Research VP Rick Howard calls “a persistent way of knowing that’s the individual we’re delivering the services to.” The U.S. lags behind countries in Asia, Europe, Latin America, and Africa in implementing e-IDs. The idea still faces legal, regulatory, and public resistance, especially amid rising cybersecurity threats.

Whether or not citizen e-IDs are in this country’s future, government agencies have the means today to persistently know who is requesting services and to treat that individual like a familiar customer. Last April at the 2016 GITEC Summit, Sean Kelley, a Deputy CIO for the Department of Veteran Affairs, told attendees that by 2020 he wants VA hospitals to be like Disney World, by gaining proactive insight into their customer’s needs and using it to create a great experience. To do so, the federal department that operates the nation's largest integrated healthcare system will no doubt rely on the Internet of Medical Things.

About the Author

Michelle LaLumia was a member of the marketing team with MicroPact from 2016 - 2018.