Monday 13 January 2014

2014, The Year of Personal Data

If 2013 was the year of wearable, personal devices then 2014 will be the year of personal data. In 2013 we saw a huge rise in popularity of wearable devices for measuring steps walked, distance travelled, pulse, calories consumed, and a lot more besides. These devices, and the smartphone, PC and cloud software that accompanied them, put us on the first few rungs of the business intelligence lifecycle - principally allowing us to do historic reporting.

I believe 2014 will see a great evolution of our use of personal data. Rather than the "rear view mirror" historic reporting that we've seen in 2013, we'll see software that predicts your future activity and offers advice and recommendations on how to positively influence your outcomes. It's not beyond the bounds of possibility for your smartphone to start prompting you to go for a walk lunchtime in order to meet your weekly target for steps, or consume no more 400 calories at dinner in order to avoid bursting your weekly calorie target. And those are just simplistic examples.

As an example of the lengths to which you can go to perform data mining on your personal data, I highly recommend the recent report in Wired of the astrophysicist who diagnosed himself with Crohn's disease. A fascinating story.