AIR | A New Vision for Marketing.

William Shropshire for Sphre.

To understand the future of marketing we need to understand the past; specifically, what has worked well and what hasn’t. We need to be aware of the contemporary problems, otherwise the solutions in the future will only be a band-aid. To understand its contemporaneous pillars, I like to do an evaluation of what marketers value the most: what brings them the most money. And then you can be sure that by following the money trail, you will start to find what marketers want as a future in an idealistic world. Generally, in this setting, the individual’s rights are cast aside and trampled on by poor ethics and as a corollary, inadequate regulations that do not provide enough protection; and the public is powerless to do anything about it because the justice system is not set-up in the favor of the individual, it is set-up for efficiency. And we all know what that means: dollars and cents. Although, of course, you will never hear these words from a top marketer, or a regulator, or a judge, or a politician, because they all have their hands in the cookie jar.

So, what is most valuable to a marketer today? Data. Today, marketing executives use big data to understand every aspect of their target base. They use it to identify new opportunities for growth, or, to flip the coin; they use it to understand what is not working. With data, anything can be analyzed and provide insight, the possibilities are endless. At a very basic level, we have all used data for one thing or another. Our biggest mistakes in life can come from making decisions without actual evidence. So, when you are dealing with millions or billions of dollars, it is very much like creating an essay. You need to justify why you are spending that money the way you are. Where can you expect to recoup this money and in-turn, pull a profit? These are the questions marketers must answer.

According to the Worldwide Semiannual Big Data and Analytics Spending Guide from the International Data Corporation, worldwide revenues for big data and business analytics will grow to $203 billion by 2020 (1). In 2016, it was worth $130 billion. So, when you look at companies such as Facebook, Google, IBM, Oracle, and you see the amount they are worth and the amount of data they have access to, you need to start asking yourself whether the data is being used ethically? Back in 2015, the world had created less than 10 zettabytes of data, by 2025, the IDC estimates that this figure will be around 180 zettabytes (1). To those who have no idea what a zettabyte is, it is equivalent to 1 trillion gigabytes. So, 180 zettabytes are equal to 180 trillion gigabytes of data that is being sent across the internet. And companies are paying big bucks for this data. Even the World Economic Forum has dubbed personal data as a type of asset. We also know that companies are using this data to create what is now called a psychographic identity; or an online identity (2), which is used to help them predict your behavior so they can target you properly and make money off you.

So, if companies are collecting our data, your data, and using it to make billions of dollars in gross revenue a year; and if it is being considered an asset; then why is it that we are not being compensated for our part in this growing data exchange? We, the individuals, produced this data, it is my data, and it is your data. It is time that we started to secure our digital identity asset, and if we choose to, monetize it, so we can ensure we are being paid what we are rightfully owed. Enter Sphre’s Identity security and monetization application: Air. Using the Air application, you will be able to control your online personal identity, and allow permissioned access to your data in exchange for a pre-disclosed fee. All this takes place on an open-source Hyperledger fabric with a network of decentralized users. What we are essentially doing is saying to the Big Data companies: the jig is up, we know what you are doing, and we know that you are profiting from us, but if you have a seat at our bargaining table, we can reach an agreement so that you can still have access to it, but we simultaneously are being treated fairly, and securely. We predict that Digital Identity Monetization will become a huge trend in the future of the digital world, in fact, it is already in motion.

In 2016, e-Identity initiatives had been put in place. The UN and the World Bank set a goal of providing everyone on the planet with a legal ID by 2030. National eID programs are being initiated in countries all over the world, such as: Algeria, Cameroon, Jordan, Italy, Senegal, Thailand, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Norway, Liberia, Poland, Jamaica, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. Schemes such as the Gov.UK Verify (3) were introduced, and Australia announced that they will be launching their first phase of their digital identity program by August 2017. Digital driving license projects are already underway in the USA, UK, Australia, and the Netherlands. Testing of blockchain technologies for use in a transnational e-residency program are also underway (4). Smart borders/smart airports are already in discussion with over 700 million plus ePassports already in circulation (5). The European Union’s Electronic Identification and Signature (eIDAS) set a regulation in motion that will require mandatory cross-border recognition of eIDs by September of 2018 (6). This is only the tip of the iceberg and big data companies will have no choice but to respect your e-identity and sit down at your bargaining table under your terms!

We at Sphre, are going to be there for you, to secure this for you, with you, side-by-side, as your teammate. Because when you take away the social construct that is an organization, such as Sphre, you will find that behind it exists people just like you. We have families, we have friends, we care about what is happening to our world, and what is happening with our data. We see the paradigm shift that is coming, and we see how centralized organizations are trying to stop it. But it won’t work, the revolution is in motion: to quote Johnston’s Law:

“Everything that can be decentralized, will be decentralized.”

We want to leave a safer, more secure, more transparent and at the same time more efficient world for future generations to live in. Providing the Air platform as a centralized yet decentralized location for all your personal identity, with the power of discretion at your fingertips is just one of the projects we at Sphre look to implement as a stepping stone in this direction. Welcome to the movement. And we are so happy to have you be a part of it!

(1) http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS41826116

(2) http://smallbusiness.chron.com/consumer-psychographic-66558.html

(3) https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/introducing-govuk-verify/introducing-govuk-verify

(4) https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/estonian-government-partners-with-bitnation-to-offer-blockchain-notarization-services-to-e-residents-1448915243/

(5) https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/estonian-government-partners-with-bitnation-to-offer-blockchain-notarization-services-to-e-residents-1448915243/

(6) https://medium.com/r/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fec.europa.eu%2Fdigital-single-market%2Fen%2Fe-identification