The best way to predict the future is to look at the current problems we are facing in the industry today. Current users of any online process have no idea what is happening with their data and are becoming increasingly aware of this issue. To combat that data issue, there is a giant consumer movement to be able to better understand what is happening with the user data and ways to control, and thus, protect it. Every entity that takes user data – from giant companies like Facebook to single person owned agencies – will have to continuously surrender more of the reigns to the consumer. We believe this will help increase transparency of the use of consumer data and provide some much needed friction points to companies that were never scrutinized before. We predict this movement to gain a more solid footing state side as several states have already adopted policies for consumer protection. We foresee a giant expansion and standardization of consumer data use in the very near future.
These new regulations and constraints on user data will also have a direct impact on the value of the data itself. Many pioneering companies have recently become more intelligent with their business strategies by leaning more heavily on user data.
User acquisition due to external data, cross selling data in different platforms based on user parameters, and deep integration into financial institutions for better monetization are some of the most well-known strategies. Where previously, one could buy third party data about consumers and append it to their own data for better modeling and prediction, the same approach will now become increasingly harder to accomplish. User data itself will be less readily available for sale and thus, it will bring the value of data – especially first party data – significantly up. We predict companies will bolster up their own first party acquisition methods as a result. We might see a giant push for more first party data. Most of the time this means more clients, leads, or sales from the companies that historically did not rely as much on their own data generation. This increase of involvement from companies is sure to rock the boat in some industries that previously were not accustomed to that level of involvement, let alone the potential significant increase in competition.
The same limiting factors on data will force an economic crunch on the companies that previously relied on some of the data that is no longer readily available. This could force companies to research new methods to be able to compete and maintain the same economics. We believe that this will result in a push for companies to double down on their own data and work harder to come up with better modeling themselves. This insight will often push companies to seriously consider AI and machine learning, if it was not being used previously, or inspire the company to move significantly deeper into that direction if they were actively modeling already. We predict a giant increase in the need for more complex AI models to be even better than they were before. These new AI models will be able to achieve the same or better results as before, more efficiently and more accurately, while using less data. We predict that 2021 is primed for the rise of AI and machine learning.