What’s the value of the data generated in a Smart Home?
And, more importantly, who owns it?
In the same way that a smartphone is not about having smarter phone calls, the Smart Home is not about the connected things. It’s all about the applications that will be derived upon all devices, data, businesses, people, etc.
To answer the question: If you own your house and turn it into a Smart Home then it is quite simple; You own your data. And it will be valuable.
You have all the rights to sell it or trade it to different service providers, like the power, cable or home security company. Maybe you don’t think about that every time you sign a contract for a service, but you should read the small print and see that you get value for your data. Or the service provider might try to generate value from your data without giving anything back to you.
But if you rent your place then things get more complicated.
Now the building itself becomes a hub, connecting the tech of the house with external and internal users, like the power company on the outside and the tenants on the inside.
These connected buildings have some new characteristics:
- Buildings become self-aware and continuously anticipate and adapt to changes in weather, time of day, occupant needs, and socioeconomics.
- Buildings will transact with utilities (including electricity, gas, and water), local power sources, and other buildings to provide services that will benefit building owners, utility operators, and the entire community.
- Buildings will minimize their life-cycle cost while meeting their objective functions through optimizing energy and water use, enhancing health and the productivity of occupants, contributing to a cleaner environment, and actively supporting better living.
The important, but complicating, thing is that this is not a Big Data solution by default, as many early initiatives assume. Not one big central IoT platform that controls everything. This is because of many different data owners. The tenants own their data about their family and usage of their apartment and it’s connected appliances, home networks, TVs, etc., and this has data must be managed in a secure and privacy-protected way, or it will be impossible to lease those flats. Think of the landlord installing cameras in the shower… Privacy and security issues here is literally very close to home.
Next is the owner of the building. They have two assets generating valuable data, the sensors and tech of the building and the data about their tenants, probably anonymized and processed for statistics. This value will not be given away. It will be sold. These buildings will all be players in a new assets trading market for realtime data. Even if it is just to have a reduction on the power bill, it will be an asset that can be traded.
And so on…
All the participants in the Internet of Buildings, as a subset of smart city, smart home, smart predictive maintenance, smart grid, etc will be smart enough to realize the value in owning, controlling and capitalize upon their data.
Or some smart IoT entrepreneurs will take that position in the market like an AirBnB or Uber service for data.