Consumer technology reaches companies

Consumer technology reaches companies

February 3, 2017

These are times of digital transformation and there is a great opportunity to increase efficiency and get to know our customers better, but there will be side effects. Let's take up our positions!

End users/consumers have more technology in their hands than ever before in the history of humanity. And what do they do with all this technology on a daily basis? The answer is that they personalise the services they receive.

Google looks at our searches, e-mails and other behaviour; Facebook does the same; digital media install cookies to track what we are looking at and offer us personalised advertising; smartphones record our location, etc.

It is now possible to interact with cars, washing machines, thermostats, etc., machines that have been designed to know what you are doing, how and when you are doing it and, therefore, self-adjust to provide a better service to the consumer.

We have definitely decided to lose our privacy.

The curious thing is that we can stop or disconnect many of these spy functions. However, we decide not to; it seems that personalisation has triumphed.

Companies are not detached from society. On the contrary, they offer the services that consumers are demanding and it seems that consumers (either companies or end consumers) are demanding personalisation. Now, it is possible to carry out the predictive maintenance of a wind turbine in a wind farm remotely, or of an engine, taken as a unit, not as a whole. Why do I have to take my car for a service every 15,000 km if the way I drive is different from other drivers?. Personalisation will influence price-setting, so I will be able to buy a used car based on the information that it gives me on how it has been used, the actual maintenance, etc.

A camera on your computer, control software, etc., will make it possible to configure the workplace and your tasks in the optimum manner. It may seem strange to receive orders on how to operate a machine, but on-the-job and just-in-time training is effective. Millions of data which, once analysed, can personalise the work environment based on day, time, mood, etc.

There is no need to mention them by name, but you can be sure that we can all think of half a dozen technology companies that enjoy great power in the consumer market and who are taking positions in the business market. They have spent years educating us that it is better to have a personalised service than to keep the anonymity that privacy gives.

In the near future, there will be no difference between how we act in our private and professional lives.

We are starting: these are times of digital transformation and there is a great opportunity to increase efficiency and get to know our customers better, but there will be side effects that affect some with their disappearance from the market. We are not only talking about companies but also larger territorial entities such as the European Union.

After the argument about protecting citizens, there is a geo-strategic struggle being waged in the business world. The European Union has launched a strong message to the USA. "Any member state may block the sending of personal data to the USA," according to a judgement by the European Court of Justice. The European judicial system also criticised the European executive (the Commission) for its "laissez faire” approach, as European legislation does not allow personal data to be sent outside its borders unless the country of destination has an adequate protection regulation and, until now, Brussels considered the USA and its companies to be safe.

But, while the right to privacy of personal data is recognised, millions of people continue to feed the databases of large companies, which have now landed in the consumer market, and soon they will do so in the business market or B2B and once they have done that they will have changed the rules of the game. Let's take up our positions!