Digital is the old story, the new one is Data

Covid-19 pandemic has altered the digital landscape

The media has been awash with how digital payments are the harbinger of change owing to the contactless economy of the pandemic. But they’re wrong. Digital payments are an old story, the new one is Data.

As IOT and mobile payments gain unprecedented scale, big data is finally a reality. It is the collation of these real-time data touch-points that are feeding high speed AI driven, analytic networks, to give us the change we have awaited for years now.

Data gets Traction

With increasing uncertainty, business forecasting takes on new challenges and data takes centre stage. Data science is fast gaining ground in the bid to offer clarity in an age where businesses are struggling to make decisions faced with increasing chaos. Businesses are working fast to overcome limitations on data sets, escalating data integration, and bring real-time agility into what was previously perceived as a futuristic investment.

Meanwhile, the need to forecast the spread of the virus and possible economic impact itself, has forced organisations to place heavy demands on the trifecta of AI, analytics and data science.

As organisations begin to depend more heavily on data, and drive its demand real-time, other issues around regulation begin to surface.

Digital Trust

As our digital footprint gathers scale, so do incidents of data breach, identity theft and fraud. And when these transgress the boundaries of even the formidable tech giants, to cause data theft at unprecedented scale, it cause a massive disruption in trust. And brings a new focus to designing the systems that regulate data and the businesses that manage it.

The internet was founded on the principles of freedom and in this inherently lies its unaccountability. Digital trust therefore, is a complex web of unframed obligations between technology platforms, regulatory authorities, and individuals. Towards the use and monetisation of data. While the GDPR laying strict boundaries on consent is an important first step, there remain many unanswered questions on data privacy around its transparency and accountability. But raising the right questions is key to framing expectations around individual and collective rights.

Behind the Scenes

As smartphone and internet penetration drives deeper down social and income strata, everyday businesses like grocers digitally transform their business operations, moving ledgers to the cloud and syncing billing with real time mobile notifications. With tech giants entering the mobile payments business, we see an aggregation of payments and credit, layering over an ecosystem of micro players, and syncing shopping with billing and payments for a frictionless journey. With their might, data privacy doesn’t figure as yet, but fraud protection does. And the brand builds a trusted relationship with consumers, through an all pervasive presence.

Meanwhile, the banking industry is emboldened to include overseas payments and international trading, crafting a strong ecosystem of transactional regulation.


Excerpted from Shape of the Future, a report by Future Factory that outlines the new emerging world post the effect of the pandemic.

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