Dr Glenn Parry, Associate Professor in Strategy & Operations Management, UWE
Dr Glenn Parry is Associate Professor in Strategy and Operations Management at UWE and is one of the investigators in an internet of things research project named The Hub of All Things. At Moon Consulting we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the latest technological developments; here is one that has the potential to both change the way we view ourselves and how economy works. Gemma Webber interviews Dr Parry on this exciting cloud-based technology, a collaborative project developed by six of the UK's most respected universities.
Glenn, how would you define 'The Hub of all Things?"
"Our team has been building an innovative system and is learning from this development process as we immerse ourselves in the research of our new technology. We call the project HAT, The Hub of All Things. Basically, we take all the information that you generate through using your phone (location), social media, online shopping, apps and a number of sensor devices in the home and collect it up into one place. Each individual has their own set of collected information which describes your preferences, your activities and how you live your life - In essence, this information comprises their own personal data eco-system."
"The HAT offers data plugs to claim your personal data from the Internet, your mobile and internet of things, wearables etc., and all those companies gathering, storing and selling information on you. What do we mean by your data? Where you are and where have you been, what you were listening to, what was in your diary, what you bought, what you searched, what you sent, what you photographed. Also your calendar, your email and more, the list goes on! At the moment the firms who own the technology you use take the data you generate. Who can you claim your data from? Google, Facebook, supermarkets, online stores, phone GPS, streaming services, transport companies, your broadband provider - anyone you can imagine. Our work strives to add as many as possible to make your own HAT more data rich.
The HAT is a private and secure cloud-based information system with storage and data processing abilities. It's your own microserver container. You can access your data and manage it from an easy-to-use dashboard. We call this hyperdata browser Rumpel. With Rumpel, you can access your HAT from desktop and mobile devices. Its named Rumpel from Rumplestiltskin who knitted hay into gold!"
How might I begin to make use of the data about me that is held by, say my locality cards, social media apps or mobile phone?
"Using Rumpel - the first ever hyperdata browser - you can see what different companies know about you. Add to this the data only you know about yourself - your diary, habits, health, coffee preferences and more. Put all of this data together and build a picture of yourself using all of these digital fragments. YOU can choose what you do with this data. You can keep it just for your enjoyment, information or peace of mind - to get to know yourself better and make smart choices online. Or you can share it with friends and family without a third party being involved - to help making plans run smoother, or just for fun. Consider what it could be like when your kitchen cupboard texts you with a note to tell you to buy paper towels because it knows your supply is low and that you've scheduled a weekend of messy DIY project."
"When you become an expert user, you can install the HAT on your computer or other devices in your home or office (the hard HAT), or if you're like the rest of us, subscribe to a service provided by certified HAT platform providers (HPP). These providers are legally committed to ensure privacy, security and confidentiality. You can move your HAT between HPPs at any time. The project has already helped two other start-up companies who are working to use the HAT platform in their offering; EnableID in the UK who have created a personal transport assistant, myjrny.uk and Noggin in Singapore who are a commercial HPP."
So what does the future look like for HAT and for the collaboration between the universities and its partners?
"The knowledge that has been created is all open access, published in academic research and a series of briefing papers that lay out the technology implemented, the ecosystem, together with the incentives, regulation and economic and business models. The programme detail is here. In addition to our team based at the University of the West of England, our university partners include University of Cambridge, University of Surrey, University of Nottingham, University of Warwick and University of Edinburgh together with the Research Councils for Digital Economy."
"Going forwards, you can imagine that markets will emerge so you can securely trade this valuable resource for reward credits, discount codes, money, recommendations. And YES, we keep the control tight through the HAT APIs, following the Code of Practice in Privacy, Confidentiality, Security and Trust developed by the research project."
"With regard to the further refinement and development of HAT, a social enterprise grouping named the HAT Community Foundation (HCF) is taking over from the six-university multidisciplinary research project. HPPs are regulated by the HCF which has been established as the "scheme authority" for the HAT marketplace. It is a company limited by guarantee and has been established as a Charity to represent the interests of HAT users in the overall governance and regulation of the HAT marketplace. Detail is here."
"Moving forward, we've now gained £1.2M research funding from the EPSRC to create the HAT Living Labs [HALL] where UWE are working with WMG, University of Warwick Cambridge and Surrey and. The new research is about business model innovation - given HAT data, what can we do with it, what businesses can we create and how? It examines issues of privacy, security and trust and asks how we can prevent people feeling vulnerable? HALL will focus on HAT data exchanges within the retail industry through the HALL's partners who are Tesco, Hollywood Elite Music, Sky, Hearst, and Methods."
"Technology support is from IBM and HATDEX. HATDEX is the operational arm of the HAT foundation. HATDEX has just achieved its target to raise £50,000 to help transition from a funded university research project to an online platform that will benefit the public. Crowdfunding keeps a community feel. To find out more and donate to the fund, click here."
Pioneering eco-systems such as The Hub of All Things could well spearhead the birth of new and innovative businesses designed to use personal data for the benefit of the individual, communities of individuals, regions and market sectors. You can be assured that Moon Consulting will be on hand to identify and provide the chief executives, chairmen and senior directors that will grasp these opportunities and create the next round of global or niche products and services.
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