Should you get paid for your data? How much?

In a New York Times opinion piece, Jaron Lanier, a computer programmer and futurist, argues that our data is being robbed from us by social media companies and used for algorithmic advertisements, in what amounts to a “crazy behavioral manipulation scheme.”

His proposed solution is that we should be paid for our data. Services like social media would no longer be free, but individuals would be compensated by commissions on any purchases their data influences.

Why it’s hot: 

As digital advertisers, we have a special window into the power (or powerlessness) of data in influencing behavior. Knowing what you know, what would do you think is worth more: $5,000 or the value of all of the data you have accumulated up to this point?

Amazon’s FireFly Recognizes Products in the Real World

Along with announcing the long-rumored Fire smartphone, Amazon also announced the release of a new digital service that lets users scan real-world information to identify products

FireFly can identify up to 100 million products by scanning images like books, TV and art, and even pieces of information phone numbers, UPCs, bar codes. Scans also can pick up on sound, to identify songs or entertainment by audio signature. The service uses Flow OCR technology, meaning it can also integrate with other apps that use similar information to more accurately identify information and grow the database over time.

The vision is two-fold.  In the short-term, scans will link to product pages on and to media available on its digital stores. But the long-term vision is to incorporate scanning behavior into everyday life. Scans of food can yield nutritional facts or ingredients. And the Amazon SDK will allow third-party apps to leverage scanning technology to match user’s preferences to recommend products scanned, like the label of a wine bottle, to take the guesswork out of purchases.

Why It’s Hot

FireFly is a first major step forward in the use of personal technology and big data to augment how we interact with the real world. By creating an SDK that learns from users tastes and preferences, Amazon is hoping to lock in users by providing service that extends beyond eCommerce. Products like Google Glass, however, demonstrate that we have the capability to integrate similar services more naturally into everyday life. Will the scan remain a direct action or become an automatic process that happens behind the scenes, without a user even thinking (or wanting) that action?

Check-In With Mobile Payments

Mobile payments are nothing new and nothing unknown, but have you been paying attention to where they have been popping up? We all know that banks continue to try to give us the best “mobile wallet” options, but there are many apps that are making those mobile wallets obsolete. The fact is, apps are being created to update every process consumers encounter. Each of these processes have a form of payment, and have been integrated into the app in a way that we have broken a good size hole in the wall of trust. Consumers are trusting apps to own their payment information, rather than require information to be inputted and never saved.  These apps range from leaders like Uber to start-ups like Tablelist. One trend that is very important for this mindset is SHARING payments on apps. Not only do consumers trust the app to own their payment info and use it, but they also trust the app to handle multiple payments for one charge. This further enables every process that requires a payment to be modernized and on a mobile device. Now I am writing this with a strong bias towards the upside of mobile payments, but I believe in the very near future there will a large increase in early adopters to this. Part of this is the fact that Millenials are starting to increase their disposable income and are ready to start spending it.


Why it’s Hot:

Anything that is shaping the future is hot. Again, the main point is not that this is emerging technology, but the behavior surrounding the innovations is disruptive. Brands will have to race to be on your phones for your purchase processes. Digital marketing will have an entire facelift with these considerations, including where the efforts will be pushing consumers for purchasing.