Consumers have a reason to be concerned as news of personal data mining, bundling, and selling seems to be accelerating. As a result, the data brokerage industry has grown. Opiria’s white paper indicates the industry has a market value of $250B USD. That’s a quarter of a trillion dollars made off other people’s rightfully-owned data, but precious little of it went to the people whose data is in question.
Opiria have an idea that attempts to make both sides of the consumer experience more successful and rewarding. How often have consumers chosen not to do something online because they were concerned about the security of their data? If Opiria’s platform is successful, those concerns could be a thing of the past.
The Opiria Solution
Opiria is an online consumer and usability research platform enabling companies to optimize products and services by understanding what consumers think, experience, see, and feel. Through mobile surveys and mobile diaries distributed directly to consumers’ smartphones, companies can get a better understanding of their target audiences without violating their personal data rights.
Christian Lange, the company’s CEO and founder, sheds light on the Opiria vision. He says the Opiria system is a decentralized marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain for the secure trading of personal data. Consumers sell their data to companies for compensation, which is measured with the PData (for personal data) token.
Lange started his first company in 2005. Focused on measuring human behavior, that company developed software that was used by automotive companies worldwide offering detailed analysis to measure driver behavior with modifications to the automobile’s navigation system. The solution was limited, however, as companies only received data from one driver at a time.The need for big data was evident. This led Lange to the development of a new idea– something easy to use and makes it easy to collect data with technology available worldwide.
To fill that need, Opiria came up with a smartphone app for companies to get feedback from consumers worldwide, 24/7. They began designing the app in September 2015 and had the first version ready to launch by the close of 2016.
How Opiria Works
Opiria is a market research platform for which companies pay an annual licensing fee. The software allows them to interact with consumers through the Opiria app. The system centers on consumer feedback and opinions, part of it is based on surveys.
Still, those who don’t have the time for surveys, or who are not inclined to take them, still have data to sell. “We generate data through our web browsing and our online shopping,” Lange said. “We give information on our wearables, our smart devices, and pretty much anything that has anything to do with being human in the Internet world.”
Through the Opiria app, the company can sell that data knowing that consumer personal data is completely protected. Consumers share what they want to share and with whom they want to share it. Those who care to receive surveys will only receive those which fit their profiles. Being that the app is built on a blockchain, the data will be securely stored to release to further inquirers going forward.
One featured tool of the app is the Mobile Data Survey, which allows feedback over a longer period of time than the moment of usage. When consumers use a product or service, they can provide feedback in the moment. Then they can document it through videos, photos, and comments. This allows companies to get real-time data within seconds where most market research tools are email- and browser-based, and can take as long as a week to provide a company with the data.
For consumers, not only is the app free, but they can also turn their involvement into profit. The PData tokens can be saved and traded for cash.
Opiria’s Progress to Date
A profitable privately held company, Lange says the company needed no external funding to get off the ground. An ICO was launched on January 8 to raise capital. They set the hard cap at $19M USD.
The market has yet to be fully realized, but Opiria has almost 50 companies and 4,000 to 5,000 consumers signed up. Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Intel, and Proctor and Gamble are among the major players paying for the service. Lange tells us that other customers come from every realm of the bitcoin industry including restaurants, hotels, fitness studios, and retail companies.
Opiria is also planning to use 60% of the funds generated from the ICO to grow the number of consumers to 1 million by the end of the year. “If we have a million customers, companies will flock to us,” Lange said.
One attractive aspect that might help them toward the goal of 1 million consumer participants is that personal information is not shared, only consumer data.
Opiria’s Competition and Future Outlook
While Lange says the company has a lot of competition, Survey Monkey possibly being its biggest competitor, he isnt concerned about it. “What gives us the advantage is that we do it all by app; it’s a faster way to do research and a direct line to the consumer,” he said. “A company can send out a survey and it can be delivered to consumers within seconds.”
The next thing they plan to release is software to capture, in an unobtrusive manner, where someone is looking and the emotions they have when they browse the Internet. Marlene Gagesch, the company’s co-founder and chief technical officer, is overseeing this work in Engostott, Germany.
Opiria is also working with Quicken Loans, a collaboration that hopes to equip Quicken with a mobile app that will do a longitudinal study of how people are tracking interest rates, among other things.
Lange goes on to list some other ways Opiria can be beneficial to online lenders. Understanding what kind of lending products people are interested in, for instance. “We can survey potential customers to understand how much interest they are willing to pay, the duration of loans, how you would like your contract laid out, and more,” he said. “You could perform A/B tests to see how people react emotionally to different offers made.”
Lange lays out the process in order to show how Opiria can “perfectly adapt [an] offering to meet potential customer expectations; deploy, get feedback, improve product, repeat.” This process takes weeks or months with classical market research, but with Opiria, it’s done a matter of minutes. “That gives companies a huge competitive advantage,” he said.
Why Opiria, and Can It Do Any Good?
If personal data is already out there for companies to buy—and it’s evident that they are buying it—then who’s to say this is going to work? Lange had an answer for that as well. It seems we’re getting better at guarding our information, and we’ve even gotten to a point where companies find themselves looking for data that just doesn’t exist. That has created this new market for personal data.
Opiria is one of those ideas off the beaten path enough to catch hold. A problem exists–consumer data needs protection–and consumers have to hope that something comes along that pays them for giving up some personal data security. If anyone knows that, it’s Opiria.
Written with Paul Keenan.