When life becomes digital

“We expect and predict that Life Management Platforms with related standards, protocols, business models, applications, etc. will be the one technology driven component that will have the strongest influence on our everyday life for the next 10 years.”                                             – Martin Kuppinger, 2012

This was the bold vision KuppingerCole, a leading European analyst firm, made in their 2012 white paper titled, Life Management Platforms: Control and Privacy for Personal Data. In this paper many predictions were made about the impact such technologies would have, why they would have such an impact, and even by when this impact would be realised.

Let’s fast track to 2016. For the everyday man, woman or child, the notion of a Life Management Platform (LMP) hasn’t yet entered their reality. This doesn’t mean KuppingerCole was wrong. In fact, many of their predictions seem aligned to market trajectory. They were however optimistically visionary on their timescales, particularly those related to such capabilities reaching critical mass.

Before we unpack the definition of a Life Management Platform and talk about why we’re getting much, much closer to this being reality, let’s look quickly at the current state of the market.

As it stands, people living in every country on this planet ‘manage life’ in some way, shape or form. This takes the form of peer-to-peer, peer-to-brand or peer-to-network engagement, of analogue and digital process, of face-to-face and remote communication, of transactions and other commercial functions, of roles and responsibilities, of work and leisure, and of many other categories or functions of life.

Although this is our currently reality, we do not generally think of life management as a concept. Nor do we necessarily think consciously of the cumulative effect all of these things might have. Rather we go about our day-to-day life; our jobs, our friendships, our roles and our responsibilities, as if they are things we ‘just do’. What this means is that we often hire or fire products or services to do particular jobs for us, without putting them in context. In its simplest form, the result is basically a very busy iPhone home screen with lots of different, independent apps that don’t talk to each other.

This behaviour is perhaps why some of KuppingerCole’s predictions, those that have already come to pass, were perhaps very forward thinking in their nature. Exponential change doesn’t occur, and is not widely accepted, overnight. Exponential change occurs over long periods of a time, and is often deceptive in its nature, switching from what ‘feels’ like linear progression to compounding progression. At this point the effect of the change becomes far more obvious as a result of its scale and resulting network effects.

Singularity University calls this the “deception of linear versus exponential growth.

The deception of linear versus exponential growth, Singularity University

The deception of linear versus exponential growth, Singularity University

As far as the evolution of Life Management Platforms is concerned, we have not yet crossed the tipping point. However, with the control of data clearly moving to citizens here in Europe, generational shifts changing the nature of technological adoption, and global consumer sentiment, action and behaviour significantly increasing the propensity for organisation to radically alter their personal data practices, we may well be at an inflexion point.

With events like the European Identity and Cloud Conference (EiC), where Meeco received the inaugural Identity and Cloud award last year for its leadership in bringing a first Life Management Platform to market. However, as we look to the future we see early adopter enterprises collaborating to determine how to accelerate the exponential growth we referenced above.

Now comes time for the definition. Given this article started with KuppingerCole’s influential white paper, let’s use their definition of Life Management Platform to keep us going.

“Life Management Platforms allow individuals to consolidate all relevant data from daily life, in particular data which is sensitive and typically paper-bound today, like bank account information, insurance information, health information, or the key number of their car. Notably they are not limited to such data but support everything which should be shared with, for example, the car manufacturers, the dealers, and the garages (and maybe some other parties).

 Life Management platforms support the privacy- and security-aware sharing of such information, following the concept of minimal disclosure and avoiding the loss of control of this data. They support concepts which allow sharing information with other parties in a way that avoids any data leakage, mainly based on a new concept of privacy- and security-aware apps which process information from both parties without giving any of the parties involved access to information provided by any other party without explicit consent.

 Notably, Life Management Platforms are going far beyond Personal Data Stores because they not only provide a secure store for that information but a secure way of sharing information.”

So in simple terms, Life Management Platforms enable people to store, control and use their data in ways that support and enable desired outcomes, like completing day-to-day tasks or fulfilling key life events. LMPs are effectively trusted digital companions that help you navigate the complexity of modern life.

Imagine if for every time you had to enter data into a form, find the best deal, prove your identity or engage in some type of transaction, you had a ‘Life Management Tool’ that shared your data on your terms with trusted individuals or organisations, and actually facilitated the outcome you wanted. Sounds pretty compelling, doesn’t it?

Now I hear you asking, “Can’t we just skip to the exponential growth part?” If only it was so simple. If only.

One of the key factors pertinent to the success of LMPs at any meaningful scale is interoperability. The reason for this is that data is really designed to flow. When it flows freely, with consent and privacy supported, personal data has the potential to realise its highest value and utility.

There are of course other challenges the market faces if the value of Life Management Platforms is to be realised. But, from the inside and out, from individual and organisational behaviour globally, it’s clear to see meaningful progress is being made.

So, in five years time, will the general population be familiar with Life Management Platforms? It’s almost a certainty.

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