DataSwift: a paradigm shift in customer engagement

Irene Ng
Irene Ng
Jun 2 · 5 min read

Websites and Applications are facing historically low customer engagement, resulting in high churn. According to localytics,

71% of all app users churn within 90 days

That’s an incredible number. It means that only 29% of customers stay after 90 days. For all the money spent on acquiring customers, that’s a huge loss.

The solution, as industry likes to tell it, is in data. Here’s what analytics firms tell you to do:

Keep your customers engaged with (1) personalisation of your website/application to them (2) predictive analytics on what your customers might want or do next on the website/application (3) rich push and geo-push (4) re-marketing – reminders to come back to the app outside of the app through email and social reminders.

To do all that, you need data. Of the personal kind. And the problem with gathering that much personal data is that you either end up having not enough, skirt the fringes of what is permitted under European law, the data is not “fresh” (ie dynamic and contextual) or you don’t know what data you need. You have to spend loads more money with uncertain results and after doing all that, customer engagement is not assured because your application could end up being either pushy or creepy.

We’ve thought long and hard about customer engagement that can help analytics companies, websites and applications and today, I am proud to introduce DataSwift.

DataSwift is a paradigm shift because your website/application (we call them Merchant Applications) doesn’t need to gather any data. Your customers volunteer them to you.

At a recent trial with our partner, out of 144 that agreed to give their emails to sign up to a service, 62% agreed to share their Facebook data through a HAT personal data account, created in seconds. The data stays on the user side, to be requested as and when required. Through a HAT personal data account, your customer owns their data for reuse and sharing with websites. They volunteer data in real time and on demand and they can give them for 5 minutes, 5 hours or 5 days. This is done by the HATDeX technology that sets up the contract in seconds (yes, this is a data contract directly with your own customers for their data and not consent) and execute the contracts based on mutual contracted agreement. Personal data accounts currently enable individuals to bring their Google calendar, Spotify, Facebook, Fitbit, Instagram and Twitter data. In a month or so, we expect spending data (banking transactions) to be in as well.

Yes, the HAT personal data account can hold a lot of the individual’s data but it is up to each website and application to decide what data they want and what benefits they will give to their customers to improve engagement and request the data from their users. DataSwift merely charges for the transactions (API calls) when users agree – much like a credit card transaction.

Since personal data is now stored on user side and not corporation side, websites and applications can just ask for the more relevant data, instead of raw intrusive data. Such relevant data can be the result of computation within the personal data account. For example, ‘Where I am currently?’ (Around Barbican). ‘Where’s my next appointment?’ (Soho in the next 2 hours). ‘How have my week been’ (80% positive posts on social media this week). ‘How tired am I’ (below average sleep and no exercise this week). ‘What’s my mood (been listening to sad music for the last hour)’. The information in brackets are the ones to share and they can be shared in real time without having to give the raw data away nor having to reveal the identity of the user. Your customers can be as private as they want. And you get to keep them engaged.

Read more stories on how the flow works here.

Even if you don’t need more data, websites and apps should consider the efficiency of having “user accounts”. Our partners tell us that 23% of their engineering costs is storing user profile and activities. As a HAT merchant, your website and application pays nothing to store data in personal data accounts and only pay when data is read/written from/to your app’s “namespace” in the personal data account, which is when your customers are active and engaged. If you want data from other apps namespace, you will still have to get your customers to agree, and it costs a bit more but it doesn’t require more technical work. As more data become available to personal data accounts, your website/application benefits from access to more data without more costs.

Why is storage free for DataSwift merchants? Since HAT personal data accounts are owned by individuals themselves, they can be used to share data with all other DataSwift merchant applications, creating a shared network of merchants that accept HAT data, paying transaction costs and thereby contributing to the storage costs.

DataSwift Data-as-a-Service and Backend-as-a-Service uses HAT and HATDeX technology, a proven technology already in use by 7 universities and multiple partners. DataSwift is in the process of going global to acquire merchant applications and websites.

Oh, did I get through the entire post without mentioning GDPR? We like to think about opportunity of data, rather than the costs. But yes of course DataSwift HAT personal data accounts are fully GDPR compliant. Actually GDPR is not really relevant because the data is held on the user side.

Sign up as a partner in the HATLAB sandbox to and discover how DataSwift can help with improving customer engagement.

Irene Ng

Written by

Irene Ng

Director, HATLAB ( CEO, HAT Data Exchange ( Website