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1st Privacy 2.0 International Summit - Telcos as ‘mediators of trust’?

Is there a growth opportunity for telcos to act as ‘mediators of trust’ in the digital economy? To help consumers manage their ‘digital persona’ in a flexible and secure way, enabling them to benefit from better services while helping merchants and governments reduce costs?

The Telco 2.0 Initiative is delighted to be working with MIT Media Lab and Nokia Siemens Networks on the 1st Privacy 2.0 International Summit on 3-4 February 2010 in Boston, focused on unlocking the value of consumer data.

It’s a private invitation-only roundtable event for 60 representatives from global leadership organizations across telecommunications, technology, healthcare, finance, entertainment, academia and government.

We’ve been delighted by the response - the event is very timely, as effective business models for digital marketing, payments, healthcare and content distribution become even more pressing. We’ll share some of the input and output with readers of this blog over the next few months, and will be running tracks on this topic throughout our public events in 2010.


In the meantime, here is some more context:

Introduction:Part of a new series of Telco 2.0 events for 2010, The 1st Privacy 2.0 International Summit addresses for the first time a strategically important question for all players in the ‘digital economy’: What is the role of the telecoms industry in the management and governance of consumer data?

Summit goals:
• To identify and clarify the commercial opportunities and risks related to proactively managing consumer data, identity and privacy.
• To understand how best to align the interests of the key stakeholder groups: consumers, merchants, legislators, tech companies, and telcos.
• To define the parameters and next steps for the creation of a common international policy and strategy for the telecommunications industry in relation to consumer data governance.

The Summit uses a mix of specially commissioned research and market analysis, stimulus presentations, panel discussions and brainstorming using Telco 2.0’s ‘Mindshare’ interactive format.

Questions Addressed by the Summit:

• Corporate Strategy: Assuming the critical role played by consumer data, identity and privacy management in future broadband business models, what are the commercial opportunities and critical risks and how do we collectively approach realizing/mitigating them?
• Consumers: What is the value to consumers of enabling them to manage their ‘digital persona’ directly?
• Marketing: What is the brand opportunity for telcos in becoming proactive in enabling consumer data management?
• Technology: How do companies implement ‘Privacy and Security by Design’ to balance interoperability and personalization, while ensuring privacy and security?
• Public Policy: How should the telco industry engage with regulators and NGOs on this topic?
• Implementation: What are the best market entry strategies for consumer data/identity/privacy services?
• Collaboration: What sort of common strategic framework for data governance does the telco industry need to create?

Consumer Data, Identity & Privacy - A topic too hot to handle or too important to ignore?

Telecoms operators process vast quantities of data related to their customers: lifestyle characteristics, interests, tastes, communication and relationship preferences, device capabilities, attitudes, beliefs and behavioral patterns. Mobile devices in Europe and North America alone are generating over 1 trillion geo-spatially tagged transactions per day.

From this data, a wealth of information can be gleaned which has enormous potential value to third party organisations (businesses, public services and not-for-profit organisations) looking to optimise their everyday interactions with customers.

A growing number of third parties are already applying advanced analytic techniques to mash this rich time, space and travel data with other sources of insight. These activities have the potential to a.) stimulate a whole new wave of services and b.) to help enterprise business and service processes become much more efficient.
As this activity increases, there is an urgent need for telcos and ISPs to collectively agree on their role in enabling the use of consumer data. There is both a significant opportunity for telcos to act as trusted guardians of such data, and significant risks.

As telcos come to terms with the structural pressures on their core business model - decline in voice revenue and uncertainty around the economic viability of broadband provision - the time is ripe to look at new market opportunities and business models. Telcos have a unique relationship with the consumer and hold the key to helping consumers, organizations and enterprises in all sectors to take advantage of the ‘analytic super-food’ flowing through their networks.

The Telco 2.0 Initiative has defined a significant growth opportunity for the telecoms industry to harness consumer data to create new ‘two-sided’ platform-based business models. Leading telcos are publicly announcing ‘smart pipe’ strategies as the antidote to ‘dumb pipe’ commoditization. These rely heavily on leveraging the customer data that flows through their networks. But data mining, profiling and personalization practices are steeped in controversy, primarily related to privacy.

The urgent need for a sensible and structured debate
National authorities struggle to apply legal concepts to new business models in a borderless world. Privacy groups cry foul at corporate “big-brothers”, while consumers carelessly propagate “sensitive” information across an ever-expanding myriad of services and devices. Governments have suffered embarrassing losses of medical and social security records, Mobile advertising is under attack.

Initial forays by companies such as Phorm in the UK and NebuAd in the US have been met with hostility. Google and Facebook are having to continuously adjust their privacy policies. In this environment, telco operators are understandably cautious of exploiting their customers’ data assets.

However, at the same time, innovative companies have developed ways of aggregating mobile data, addressing user concern and are creating successful businesses from this.

New consumer research by Nokia Siemens Networks demonstrates that telcos enjoy a unique opportunity to build a more privileged position of trust with customers as their data custodians in a digital age. But the advantages they enjoy in seeking to fulfill such a role will not last indefinitely.

Privacy 2.0 - How can Telcos realize the value of consumer data?

Part of the challenge is that consumers’ attitudes vary widely. Privacy is very personal. Some individuals care about data that relates to them and want to be very active in managing how it is shared. Others care about keeping their data private but don’t really want to spend time managing it. Yet others are quite comfortable with sharing (indeed positively seek to broadcast) information about themselves and don’t want to bother with it.

A ‘data custodian’ needs to be able to serve all groups with the same platform. This requires flexibility and a clear strategy.

The 1st Privacy 2.0 International Summit:
• Provides the first focused debate on what the telecoms industry must do to strengthen its role in consumer data for the benefit of all stakeholders - merchants, service suppliers, NGOs and public sector bodies, consumers and citizens.
• Seeks to set out the debate for what is potentially one of the biggest fundamental transformations in telecommunications since the advent of IP communications and the emergence of Web2.0 business.
• Aims to clarify the potential role that telecoms operators could play in managing consumer data in the digital age and provide a framework for moving forward.

Many thanks to the Subscriber Data Management team at Nokia Siemens Networks and Professor Sandy Pentland at MIT Human Dynamics Lab for supporting the event:

Nokia Siemens Networks
Nokia Siemens Networks is a leading global enabler of communications services. The company provides a complete, well-balanced product portfolio of mobile and fixed network infrastructure solutions and addresses the growing demand for services with 20,000 service professionals worldwide. Nokia Siemens Networks is one of the largest telecommunications infrastructure companies with operations in 150 countries. It is the market leader in Subscriber Data Management. The company is headquartered in Espoo, Finland. www.nsn.com/sdm.

The MIT Human Dynamics Laboratory
The Lab invented the technology of reality mining, which uses sensor data to extract subtle patterns that predict future human behavior. These predictive patterns begin with “honest signals,” human behaviors that evolved from ancient primate signaling mechanisms, and which are major factors in human decision making in everything from job interviews to first dates. By using data from mobile phones, electronic ID badges, or digital media to track these honest signals, we can create a “god’s eye” view of how the people interact, and even “see” the rhythms of interaction for everyone in a city. Management insights based on Honest Signals were Named a “Breakthrough Idea of 2009” by Harvard Business Review, and Reality Mining was declared “a technology poised to change the world” by Technology Review. http://hd.media.mit.edu/.

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