A game-changing wealth of data will rock the business world – but are we ready for a new world order?

Remote working has forced many organisations to resort to digital channels for the transmission of information. This means more data; and data eventually becoming open source – but what would be the implication of this in the corporate space? Michael D Brown finds out

As a result of Covid-19, there is an enormous need for data. For example, in countries struggling with the pandemic, there was an astronomically amplified need for data accrual, especially on government authorities, to more efficiently track the flow of citizens.

Indeed, contact tracing demanded a bulk of data-optimised surveillance. Consequently, this magnified need for data ate into privacy.

The pandemic created petabyte of data

All across the world, the pandemic triggered a frantic rush where government authorities readily encroached into the rights of citizens to discreteness. All the consequent improprieties were promptly swept under the carpets of national security. 

In China, authorities mandated citizens to install state-operated applications. Specifically, a lot of data were accrued from most of these apps that worked with facial recognition. 

These data-hungry technologies were equally adopted in Taiwan, South Korea, and Russia with varying successes. In some countries, we saw the forceful installation of spyware on the phones of citizens for surveillance. 

More alarmingly, there were isolated cases where private players questionably partook in the accrual and management of this intimidating pile of data. The bigger concern now is what would be done with this data after the pandemic finally clears off.

The pressing questions span the duration for which this data would be stored, who would have legitimate access to them, and how fortified are the data systems from highly sophisticated external breaches.

Are we ready for a new world order?

The ugly truth is that governments and private players would be reluctant to destroy this game-changing wealth of data. We have seen highly symbolic events in the world involuntarily shape world order. 

It is a known truth that the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks gave the American National Security Agency the ethical validation (and almost judicial impetus) to unleash unprecedentedly comprehensive data accrual systems on civilians. This was done behind the screen with the collaboration of tech giants like IBM, Microsoft, and Google.

In the same vein, the Covid-19 pandemic may usher in a new normal. An age of unprecedented ‘unprivacy’ due to the riches of data now available to authorities and ultimately available to private players and businesses. 

Aside from data synthesised from Covid-related surveillance, the pandemic added terabytes of data into the ever gluttonous-for-data beast called the internet. 

Remote working – as necessitated by lockdown and social distancing policies – had forced many to resort to digital channels for the transmission of information. This means more data and data eventually becoming open source. 

What would be the implication of this in the corporate space? 

The attenuation of privacy (due to the extravagance of readily accessible data on individuals) will spill across every facet of society. This is going to consolidate in the general culture (and consequently, the business world) moving forward. First, personalised data will mop a bit of digital opacity as we have now, making us more traceable digitally.

The cloud is becoming increasingly ubiquitous, with far more devices connected to it in 2020. More gadgets like Apple Watch, Fitbit, and other smart home devices are penetrating almost every aspect of our remotest lives and packing loads of data on us.

This only assures us of even a more exponential boom in big data. Aside from the risk of data breaches and other associated security risks, this means a sizable cache of data available on almost every single individual on the globe. 

What more, with 5G technology becoming more integrated into our everyday life, we would see a hike in the people using customised digital signatures. 

This could mirror everyone having his digital barcode – a unified destination that houses every grain of information about that individual. Therefore, you can rightly say that each individual would have his personalised digital DNA.

Privacy would become speedily eroded as our physical identities get more extensively integrated with our online expeditions. Therefore, we could see VPN gradually wearing off the mainstream.

Businesses will make super-cognitive moves in the market

For businesses, there would be a ‘big-data party’. With the proliferation of such data come enormous commercial windows to proffer more deliciously customised solutions built infinitely around each customer’s persona. Therefore, we would see a sonic boom in hyper-targeted customer experiences.

Businesses will be making way more intelligent decisions thanks to a wealth of customer data sitting in their coffers. When these brands build powerful departments from top big data experts, we expect these businesses to formulate an overwhelming bulk of data synthesised from browser logs, cloud data, social media data, and more. This means the brands will be able to ascertain their targeted audience (in its entirety) with almost 99.9999% accuracy.  

This is not some illusion or hyperbolic prediction arrived at after guzzling barrels of beer. It is almost sure to happen. Already, with the American business data analytics anticipated to clock $95 billion by the end of the year, we will see businesses creating astronomically intelligent predictive models. 

Such big data is already helping giants like Netflix and Amazon create incredibly smart and accurate recommendation engines.

These models after being obesely fed with accurate data on customer’s audience persona (synthesised from buying surveys, habits, purchase history, and other extensive demographics of targeted customer) will enable businesses specifically arrive at the perfect product to wiggle in the eyes of buyers (and at which specific time to recommend this product) to get sales shooting through the roof.

This will you be asking how that small ecommerce store managed to know you wanted you wanted a toy for your kid, or how they managed to know you needed to buy a gift for your wedding anniversary. 

Consequently, on the personal economics side, customers would be suffering more impulsive purchases or emotional spending (with their customer objection walls thoroughly dilapidated) due to the extremely personalised ads businesses would be stacking on their eyeballs. These businesses would be able to cook data to more specifically anticipate market moves and demand patterns.

Ultimately, this would artificially shoot up customer spending power not necessarily because of an overriding economic buoyancy for that community, but because businesses can now mentally and economically manipulate prospective buyers more effectively. 

Michael D Brown is a global management expert known for driving results through (and with) companies, organisations, and academia. He is a sought-after speaker, coach, and the author of Fresh Passion: Get A Brand or Die a Generic. 

Michael is the Director of The Fresh Results Institute, which has equipped countless individuals and businesses with the intellectual and ideological resources they need to achieve exponential results, living their best-branded lives. 

During the past few decades, he has held a number of top executive positions across several reputable American companies. There, he consolidated he reputation as an ‘icon of extraordinariness’, championing the transformation of these firms via cutting-edge business leadership, and consolidating their enviable positions as the undisputed titans of their respective industries.

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