Data Considerations for Connectivity
Three decades ago, when viewers watched Knight Rider covertly fight crime in an AI-driven, sentient sports car, artificially intelligent vehicles were a work of fiction, but the future is finally here. Consumers aren’t just driving with the help of interactive dashboard navigation; they’re also working, shopping, and living in a connected world thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) and connectivity that’s stronger, faster, and more reliable than ever before. From house lights programmed to dim at a specific time of day to a wearable personal assistant in watch form, technology expansion and improved software integration have improved our lives with convenience and efficiency in our day-to-day world.
We’re more connected than ever. Connectivity creates opportunities for companies to improve operations, encourage a good customer experience, and boost revenue. However, with exponential growth in available data, businesses must consider privacy, security, and transparency to their bottom line.
Benefits of Connected Data
The majority of data businesses collect is harmless and even necessary for a good user experience. Consumer-provided data, also known as first-party data, enhances app personalization that many consumers appreciate, creating a more useful digital product or application. Tech giants like Apple and Google collect data to connect services—maps, mail, searches, and app integration—seamlessly, which is much more efficient than asking users to submit their data anew for each program.
While laws protect highly sensitive or confidential user data, other information—including search history, location, usage, and browsing history—is passed to businesses and advertisers. Companies use this data to personalize their experience across the IoT and serve up highly relevant ads. Third-party data is why you see ads for the exact product you researched. It helps cut through the clutter and gives consumers the information they need.
Consumers can enjoy unique possibilities as data collection grows, and software and apps use it in more sophisticated ways. Using browsing data, app companies can anticipate needs based on time of day, location, or date (imagine an app that tells you where to eat based on your past restaurant experience—an end to the “where do you want to eat” conversation). It can help small businesses reach more of their target market to thrive. Data collection and analysis can even keep us safer by predicting criminal activity through early warning systems.
The future is developing quickly. Here’s what consumers and business leaders need to know about data privacy and security in today’s connected world.
For two decades, data privacy was an afterthought for many companies. Data harvesting gave unprecedented access to customer insights and market analysis, and many built their business through third-party data. Consumers primarily offered their information without considering how companies would use it, while companies considered data a trade secret and operated outside government oversight.
Today, consumers are more protective of their data and have become increasingly distrustful of sharing their private information. Data collection practices needed to change, and we’ve witnessed a shift toward more transparency and more choices for consumers in the last few years.
Your User & Their Privacy
Data privacy, at its core, revolves around transparency. Consumers need to know how you collect and store their data and why, when, and what data you collect. Typically outlined in a privacy statement on a company website, privacy policies create trust between a company and the consumers they serve.
Data collection is a balancing act. Consumers have noted that companies who ask for too much information, create complex or confusing privacy policies, and use inaccurate information about themselves used in marketing topped the list of what leads to distrust.
Companies should be acutely aware of how they ask for information from consumers and empower the users by giving them back control over what they share. Relying on first-party data and collecting and storing it ethically shows respect for your consumers. When consumers know a company has their best interests in mind, they are more likely to continue building trust with the company for years to come.
Current in Big Tech
One of the most powerful shifts in consumer privacy came in an iOS upgrade for Apple products aimed to protect users’ data. The iOS15 upgrade included the option to mask IP addresses and block third parties from tracking email opens, an iCloud-based subscription that prevents sites from tracking Safari users, and an email address “cloaking” feature that provides a fake email address.
Google upped the ante by announcing they would phase out third-party cookies by 2022 and were not planning to build alternative options to track users as they browse on Google products. After some backlash from the online advertising industry, Google created a Privacy Sandbox initiative to create website standards that access first-party data while still protecting users.
The switch to a first-party data-driven world has considerable implications for development and marketing alike. Developers will have to get more creative with asking customers for their data—email forms, surveys, location data, and browsing behavior. Marketers will, in turn, use this data to identify consumer insights, which means they’ll have to be more in tune with their customers’ needs and continuously iterate to discover what works. Advertising may be more challenging as marketers won’t have a chance to rely on platforms like Facebook or Google to find their ideal customers.
Consumers expect companies to use their data responsibly and protect it from bad agents—scammers and cybercriminals who collect and expose data for profit. Data breaches increased 68% in 2021 from the previous year—the highest total ever. Despite the attention to data protection, more than 294 million people were affected by these cyberattacks, which focused on smaller, targeted attacks on smaller businesses.
Data privacy and data security go hand in hand. As companies work on compiling first-party data and building trust with their customers, cybercriminals will more heavily target individual companies protecting this data. Our ever-present connectivity, including smart cars, smart homes, smart devices, and the overall IoT, brings another dimension to data privacy because there are more access points for cybercriminals to steal personal data.
Now is the time for development and cybersecurity professionals to double down on protecting this data. As your company builds software and digital products, ensure they are secure by design. Develop fool-proof security measures to prevent theft, detect theft early, and respond to security threats. Create code review policies, audit trails, and vulnerability scans to find security gaps.
Consumers are accustomed to the ease and personalization of their apps and software integrations, and companies rely on the information these consumers provide to make informed decisions that benefit their customers. The connectivity ecosystem is a delicate balance between too much and not enough, but the future of data is in good hands.
InspiringApps & Brain+Trust
This content is a collaboration between InspiringApps and Brain+Trust.
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Business & Strategy
Many founders and entrepreneurs start their business because they have an itch to solve a problem, but they reach a point along the way where they’re at a turning point. This is where most businesses fail unless they turn the corner. Every leader goes through humbling moments. These are the learnings that host Kendra Prospero unearths by interviewing seasoned leaders on the How I Turned the Corner Podcast. Brad Weber, CEO and President of InspiringApps, joined the podcast to discuss turning the corner on employee turnover. Employee turnover is an important and often overlooked aspect of running a business, especially in competitive industries like tech. And every time there’s turnover, there’s cost—even in the best scenarios. In an inspiring discussion with Kendra, Brad shares his unique approach to keeping employees happy and turnover low. Watch the Full Interview Quote From the Interview “Foundational for us is definitely respect and support for one another on our team. And that goes a surprisingly long way. And it’s also not as common as I would have thought that it is, but that’s really important to us. Everybody on the team is absolutely respected for their contribution, and we want to help them grow in the ways that make sense for them—whether that’s technically or or to pick up non-technical skills that are important to them. We do all of that over the course of their career at InspiringApps.” —Brad Weber About Kendra Prospero Kendra Prospero is the CEO and Founder of Turning the Corner, LLC. For over a decade, Kendra’s career has been all about creating healthier and more rewarding work environments. She helps people connect to work they love, while transforming workplace culture to retain top talent, increase productivity, and build confident leaders. She has served hundreds of clients in revamping their corporate cultures, revitalizing their recruiting and helping them retain their people. Her clients include Google, Infusionsoft, Ricoh USA, Project Management Institute, Galvanize, Boomtown, SurveyGizmo, and SHRM Colorado. About Brad Weber Brad Weber has more than 25 years of software development experience. Brad received his MBA from the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado and spent several years with Accenture before striking off on his own adventures, including the successful founding of four different technology companies. With a passion for software artisanship, Brad founded InspiringApps to build a team that could tackle larger app development challenges than he was able to handle on his own. His leadership creates an environment where the most innovative digital products continue to come to life. About InspiringApps App development that makes an impact. InspiringApps builds digital products that help companies impact their employees, customers, and communities. Yes, we build web, mobile, and custom apps, but what we offer is something above and beyond that. What we offer is inspiration. Our award-winning work has included 200+ apps since the dawn of the iPhone. Our core values: integrity, respect, commitment, inclusivity, and empathy. Our guarantee: finish line, every time, for every project. Get in touch at hello@InspiringApps.com. Say Hello on Social LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/inspiringapps/ Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/InspiringApps Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/inspiringapps/
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As you develop products aimed at this generation, understanding these values can provide insights to consider when designing for Gen Alpha. Gen Alpha Background If you can bet on any generation making big waves, it’s Generation Alpha. Born in the 21st century from 2010-2025, they’re the largest generation and most likely to live the longest. Gen Alphas are also predicted to be the most educated and wealthiest generation of all time. Born into a global pandemic, this generation has become increasingly immersed in technology and digital experiences. As a result, Gen Alphas seek authentic communication and connection more than ever. Unlike their Millennial parents, Gen Alphas frequent platforms like TikTok, Instagram Live, Houseparty, Clubhouse, and similar platforms. AI is part of their daily lives, and they frequently use technologies like Siri and Alexa (among others) from an early age. Due to shorter attention spans in our increasingly digitalized world, short, easily digestible content is imperative. Creativity and innovation are common themes among this brilliant and up-and-coming generation. This demographic has a tremendous amount of earning potential. They like to think out of the box, are incredibly technologically savvy, and value the importance of social causes. They tend to place a high value on climate change and inclusivity. Gen Alpha is a passionate group that desires to help others and improve the world around them. Gen Alpha & Technology Generation Alpha is immersed in a world of technology. According to McCrindle, Gen Alpha has more screen time than previous generations. The pandemic has only intensified technology use. With few places to go, Gen Alpha kids turned to their screens to combat their inner loneliness. One must design with authentic influence to bridge the gap between digital technology and the human experience. Gen Alpha is tired of the manufactured experience and is looking for a genuine connection that speaks to them personally. They tend to have short attention spans and are interested in fast-paced, easily-consumable media content. Due to the plethora of information available to this modern generation, Gen Alpha believes strongly in the power of data and is greatly influenced by it. Gen Alphas are enthusiastic about documenting and sharing their own content and like interacting with others digitally. Influencers can profoundly impact their purchasing decisions. Gen Alphas want customizable, meaningful digital experiences that bring them value and uplift their daily life. Considerations When Designing for Gen Alpha Authentic Influence Niche content creators greatly influence Generation Alpha. That said, this generation is bombarded with influencers and advertisements. We can expect Gen Alpha to distrust brands that seem phony or don’t have their best interests at heart. Similarly, they will likely reject traditional forms of marketing much as their Millennial parents did. Authentic influence is critical for gaining the trust of Generation Alpha. Gen Alphas are looking for genuine connections with brands that align with their values. Raw, real-life experiences, humanized messaging, and value-based technology will be best received best by Gen Alphas. In short—less curated experiences and more authenticity. Having concentrated human-centric features will dramatically shape the Gen Alpha’s user experience. Return on User Experience Gen Alphas invest in experiences that enrich their lives and, in turn, have high expectations for all elements of their experience. The level of transparency of taking the customer on the journey from start to finish will significantly benefit this generation. They want an immersive experience with the entire process demonstrated to them, not just a cherry-picked, glamorous experience. 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