Perspectives

A billion to one: the crowd gets personal

Deloitte Perspective

2016 (Volume V)

The world is home to more than a billion smartphone users. Internet platforms are bringing those billion people together to share ideas and cocreate millions of apps that entertain us, simplify our daily tasks, and nudge us toward healthier living.

Through mobile devices—and soon, sensors and the Internet of Things—the crowd is becoming personal.

Consider Waze, a transportation app that helps drivers find the most efficient routes in cities around the world. By actively sharing reports through the app or simply keeping it open while driving, users help develop a real-time landscape of the traffic environment, including congestion, speed traps, accidents, and any other hazards. Drivers need only enter their destination to access this knowledge from the crowd and get the best possible route to take at that time.

But it’s not just traffic information that’s driving the “personalization” of big data. We have digital personae generated by our digital exhaust as well, and these are constantly being defined and refined by a growing universe of sensors, bar codes, and cameras that track our every move.

Taking your specific characteristics and behavior and contextualizing them with data on thousands or millions of other individuals allows designers to deliver products and services that are, or at least feel, unique. Auto insurers, for instance, can track the driving behavior of their customers through GPS devices and use the insights for actuarial pricing and segmentation. Such data also can be meshed with insights from behavioral economics to offer customers useful products such as personalized progress reports or performance comparisons with a peer group, encouraging better driving.

We call the creation of unique customer products and services derived from crowd-based insights the “billion-to-one,” or B2ONE, experience.


The article was originally published on Deloitte Review Issue 16, a publication from Deloitte University Press.

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