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CES 2018: Why Your Data is No Longer a Value Proposition

1024 647 David DeWolf

As I recently wrote, the era of IoT as the future has come to an end.

Connectivity saturation has arrived and set the expectation for nearly every modern product to be a “connected” product, collecting data about its usage and environment.

And this saturation of connectivity has brought about a saturation of data.

Nearly every product at CES boasted information, insights, and analytics. As 3Pillar’s CTO, Jonathan Rivers, rightly pointed out –

“Every app is the same. It’s simply data reporting.”

Data has become ubiquitous (it’s everywhere), and, moreover, fully democratized (available to everyone).

This trend, of course, is nothing new. In May of 2017, the renowned publication The Economist printed, without any fanfare or justification, the declaration that “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data” as a supporting argument for a new approach to antitrust regulations.

The statement went unchallenged and was hardly surprising. For years, pundits have been declaring the value of data. In fact, in July of 2014 WIRED had published a similar headline, this time proudly proclaiming: “Data Is the New Oil of the Digital Economy.”

In many ways, data is the commodity of the digital economy. We’ve all accepted that.

But, do we ever stop and think about what that really means?

If data is to the digital economy what oil was to the industrial age, then we would be foolish to think of data as a value proposition.

No, data is the commodity, the raw material that makes innovation possible.

Just as oil powered the auto industry, the airline industry, and the manufacturing industry, so too, will data power the development of new industries that will compete on the basis of creating value from data.

As Lori Byron recently pointed out in a conversation on the topic –

“John D. Rockefeller and Standard Oil became the dominant player in the market, not because of the value of oil itself, but because they were the most innovative and adept at extracting value from the oil (first through their pipeline network and later through control of the railroads.) They also continuously developed new markets for oil and its byproducts, such as kerosene and petroleum jelly.”

Data in the digital economy is no different than oil in the industrial economy. It is a commodity, and, in and of itself, becomes cheaper and cheaper as it becomes more prevalent. Ultimately, selling data is a race to the bottom. As a commoditized asset, it is nearly impossible to differentiate.

If you want to compete in the digital economy, you must learn to leverage, not just sell, your data.

The question of the digital economy is – what will you do to productize your data?

Join me at Outsell DataMoney | Outsell Inc. where I will be sharing strategies for turning your data into value with VIP attendees.