Why the GoT is more valuable to the global economy than the IoT

A free gift, a smart 11 year-old and a lightbulb moment have Chris Gabriel asking if the Generation of Things (GoT) is of greater value to the world's economies than the Internet of Things (IoT).

A few weeks back I attended one of our technology partner's update sessions and, always happy to receive a freebie (gift fully disclosed of course), was handed an intelligent power plug; one I could control from my iPhone allowing me to turn things on and off from anywhere on the planet.  I became a fully paid up member of the Internet of Things (IoT) club.

However, on returning home I couldn’t easily decide which electrical item I wanted to be able to turn off from a hotel room in San Francisco, or measure its energy use from a bar in Boston.

Without a ready answer I decided to give the plug to my 11 year-old daughter; who quickly worked out that if she plugged her bedside lamp into it, she wouldn’t need to stretch two feet every night to turn it off as she could do it from her iPod touch from the comfort of her bed.  The genius of an 11 year old’s laziness never fails to amaze me!

Anyway, the $50 plug has been put to good use but I haven’t rushed off to buy anymore just yet.  Neither has my daughter asked to save her pocket money to further extend network intelligence in her bedroom.

That same week, Logicalis UK published its Realtime Generation 2015 report - the annual survey of social, digital, technical and educational aspirations of the UK’s 13-17 year olds, a group the report now calls the ‘Generation of Things’ (GoT) due to its ubiquitous digital outlook on life and a vast array of digital devices and data at their disposal.  Crucially, though, it is their change in attitude.

One finding that jumped out was the GoT’s attitude to personal data.

72% of the GoT are happy and willing for their personal data to be shared with organisations - as long as that organisation uses that data to provide them with a more personal or improved service.

Six in ten would be confident sharing personal biometric health data with health providers. Again, as long as that sharing resulted in a tangible health benefit.

With an average of five devices each, and with 25% already having 256GB of personal storage in their hands, pockets or on bedroom floors, the opportunity to use data to provide this generation of digital explorers with services and a level of service personalisation we couldn’t even dream of, is going to be big business.

In fact, in a recent report Microsoft said they believed the UK economy could have a £53billion data dividend if we could align New Data Streams, New Analytics, and More People.

The attitude of the GoT makes me think that the problem isn’t going to be the willingness of people to fairly exchange their data for value.

Microsoft may also have even underestimated the potential size of this market by underestimating the next-generation of digital information creators.

The simple question is, can business and government demonstrate that they are able to deliver the value my daughter will expect and convince her to freely exchange her data for her benefit?  If they can, then businesses can turn the value she wants into value for their shareholders, and government can transform her life and transform the quality and cost of public services.

If not, I expect she may turn off her data as easily as she now does her bedroom light.

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