Mobile data a fascinating and scary opportunity

Ryan Kim - Staff Writer, GigaOM, Speakers: Michael Driscoll - CTO, Metamarkets, Raj Aggarwal - CEO and Co-Founder, Localytics at Structure:Data 2012

(c) 2012 Pinar Ozger. [email protected]

We’re walking around with sensors in our pockets: those of us carrying smartphones, anyway. There are huge opportunities for companies to improve existing services and create new ones with the huge amount of data provided by mobile computers, assuming, of course, that you avoid freaking out your users.
“What’s so interesting about mobile data is how personal it is,” said Michael Driscoll, CEO at MetaMarkets, during a session at Structure:Data. It’s not just what you’re doing on your phone or tablet, but when you’re doing it and where you’re doing it: those are variables that aren’t necessarily as important to the traditional desktop-and-Web-based model of computing.
And “the accuracy of what you can capture in a mobile app goes beyond” other data sources, said Raj Aggarwal, CEO and co-founder of Localytics. That’s going to increase as phone makers put more sensors in their devices–say, for health monitoring–and software developers come up with more sophisticated ways to interact with those sensors, he said.
But as we’ve seen time and time again, there are privacy minefields involved with any type of collection of data from mobile devices, the most personal computing device most of us own. Aggarwal advised anyone working with mobile data to give users an easy way to opt out of those services and to be transparent about how data is collected and scrubbed of personally identifiable information.

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