Interview: Tomas Olsson, EVP Zynapp, on privacy and the future of personal data

There’s no doubt an increasing awareness that the personal data that we generate is nourishing the digital economy. But who owns that data? Are consumers being fairly compensated for allowing companies to use it?  Tomas Olsson, EVP at Zynapp, a platform that helps order their data and digital lives, thinks that a connected future should be based on a fair and equitable value-exchange that puts consumers in control. We caught up with Tomas for a deep dive.


What does Zynapp do?

Zynapp is a new kind of platform that lets you connect to the apps that are important in your life. Zynapp locates your data by time, places, people and topics – just like the brain actually works. All data is collected automatically and stored in what can be conceptualized as “your private vault”, meaning a fully encrypted account.

Who are your customers?

The customers are consumer users and business users. Everyone has their unique Zynapp depending on who you are, what you are connecting and what you are doing!

What problem is Zynapp solving?

Until now has your life been spread out in apps, services and platforms leaving clues about who you are, where you are, what you love and your innermost thoughts. The more digital you get the more of your identity is “out there”, where others have control and understanding of you. Zynapp puts you back in control of the data you scatter in your everyday digital life. With the human brain as a blueprint, Zynapp stores your data on the go and lets you use and share it. On your terms.

How is machine learning central to the Zynapp platform?

AI/Machine learning is a central part for us to give our users control and understanding for their data. We call it smartness for you. Zynapp tags every footprint from different perspectives, trivial tags are tags that follow with the footprint, content tags is understanding of what type of content the footprint has (car, people, etc), context tags where Zynapp understands if the footprints contextual part (project, journey etc) and manual tags where you can associate any footprint with your specific tag.

Are you providing a value exchange to consumers? What are the main benefits?

We have always stated that we believe in a society where everyone is treated with full respect for their digital privacy — a society where the power over data belongs to the people. That means that we will provide a value exchange where the user has different keys to exchange some of their data to brands and services to get super target information, better services and opportunities to monetize when brands want to access you. We see that we can do this, for our users, without giving away access to their full digital identity.

How might the value in personal data disrupt other industries like advertising?

In an era where there is a growing demand of privacy, it’s very clear that companies with business models that are relying on monetizing on users data will get problems and be the candidates for disruption. The user will be in the driver’s seat. We also foresee that the middlemen in the value chain in advertising will get problems, and be the candidates for disruption.

In terms of privacy, trust and personal data, how have consumer attitudes changed?

We can see in real life and from different surveys that the consumers attitude has changed — reaching tipping points where the users are going from concern to action. Cambridge Analytica, regulations like GDPR and all articles and discussions about the side-effects of social media, open eyes and are pushing for changes.

How has legislation like GDPR affected the personal data industry? Is there an opportunity for Zynapp?

Obviously GDPR has and will keep changing the personal data industry – which is basically “all” industries since the new legislation makes responsibility in regards to processing of personal data part of central compliance in every industry. For companies like Zynapp, that have the purposes of the GDPR in our core values, this is a great opportunity to showcase how we believe all businesses should be built: with digital sustainability in mind and with great respect for our users’ ownership of their personal data.

Where is this all going?

Everything will be connected and your life will be dependent on that. People will realize that their data is a digital asset, and will not accept that it is sold and distributed without their active consent. Also, the future will require more intelligent and intuitive solutions to enable people to effectively find, manage, use and share those digital assets.


Tomas Olsson, EVP at Zynapp

 

 

 

     

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