tug of war over smart building data

Tug of War over Smart Building Data

Who owns it?
Fredrik Beckman. Marketing Manager Sensative AB

Fredrik Beckman
Marketing manager
@ Sensative

Digitalization and IoT are all about data. “The new oil” is already old as a buzzword but just starting to happen for real.

In these early days of IoT, we see many isolated systems with pools of data representing valuable resources for new services and opportunities. At the same time, we talk about Smart Cities where massive flows of data can be used to manage, optimize, and predict. There is a conflict between the realities of today and the vision of free-flowing data.

IoT data is worth gold

Data is precious

In the same way that a smartphone isn’t about having smarter phone calls, the Smart Home is not about connected things. It’s all about the applications that will be derived upon all devices, data, businesses, people, etc.

So, who owns all the valuable data? If you own your house and turn it into a Smart Home yourself, then it’s quite simple: You own your data. You have all the rights to sell it or trade it to different service providers, like the power, cable, or home security company. Maybe you don’t think about that every time you sign a contract for a service, but you should read the small print and see that you get value for your data. Otherwise, the service provider can generate profit from your data without giving anything back to you.

But then we might add a smart speaker, like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, that complicates things. They provide the convenient service of voice control to your Smart Home, for the low price of the cost of the device, including all your Smart Home data. You might not think that there’s any value in knowing what lights you turn on and when you do it, but this data is added to the vast amount of data they already have to make an even better profile on you. The better the profile, the higher the value when they sell your information to advertisers. The Smart Home data also tells that you are home right now, and even what you are doing. Is this a good time to give you a sales call for a specific offering?

An apartment in a Smart Building gets even more complicated. Here, the building itself becomes a hub, connecting the tech of the house with external and internal users, like the power company on the outside and the tenants on the inside.

Smart Buildings have some new characteristics:

  • Buildings become self-aware and continuously anticipate and adapt to changes in weather, time of day, occupant needs, and socioeconomics.
  • Buildings will interact with utilities (including electricity, gas, and water), local power sources, and other buildings to provide services that will benefit building owners, utility operators, and the entire community.
  • Buildings will minimize their life-cycle cost while meeting their objective functions by optimizing energy and water use, enhancing health and the productivity of occupants, contributing to a cleaner environment, and actively supporting better living.
All based on a lot of accessible data.
IoT data is worth gold distributed

The challenge: data distributed between many data owners

The tenants own their data about their family, the usage of their apartment and it’s connected appliances, home networks, TVs, etc., and this data must be managed in a secure and privacy-protected way, or it will be impossible to lease their residence. Think of the landlord installing cameras in the shower… Privacy and security issues here are literally very close to home.

Next is the owner of the building. They have two assets generating valuable data, the tech of the building and the data about their tenants. These buildings will all be players in a new assets trading market for real-time data. Even if the original intention were just to reduce the power bill, the data that’s generated would be an asset that can be traded.

Then we have the power, water, and cable companies that all have detailed data about their customers’ buildings, their installations, and the tenants. This data can be used for much more than billing. It’s a resource for developing smart services for, for instance, resource optimization and energy saving, but it can also be traded to anyone that wants information about a building or the people in it.

IoT data is worth gold market

Tug of War becomes a trading market

All the actors on the Internet of Buildings market, like the Smart City, smart home providers, maintenance services, utilities, etc. will realize the value in owning, controlling and capitalizing upon their data. This will drive the development of new data trading markets and new technologies to protect the rights to data. 

The media industry have been continuously at war with pirates through DRM (Digital Rights Management) and other technologies, legislation, lobbyists, and streaming business models. 

In the not so far future we will see the same for IoT data.

– Fredrik



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