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Control your data to create better future - learn from top athletes and defense forces

We use data to push ourselves to become better. And as we are used to taking care of our physical beings, we now can maintain our digital selves as well.

Antti Kettunen / September 16, 2019

It was around 2008 when I bought my first touchscreen smartphone. Like most Finns at that time, I’d been a long time Nokia user. But I was now entering the new world of smartphones. When the iPhone 3G finally arrived on these shores, I got my hands on one and was truly amazed by everything I could now do. Above all else, I valued its ability to seamlessly integrate with my Apple computers.

Things just worked well together. I loved how I could make my calendars, emails and files sync between my multiple computers, web services and phone. For a young engineer, it was a dream come true. 

Since then a whole new world has arisen – one where the physical fuses with the digital in almost every aspect of life. We drive cars on highways paved not only with tarmac, but with data. We build automated logistics networks that adapt to location and weather data. And we mine an abundance of data to improve our own health and well-being.

We use this data to push ourselves to become better. And as we are used to taking care of our physical beings, we now can maintain our digital selves as well.

The data-driven Olympic athlete 

Thirty years ago, Finnish javelin star Seppo Räty trained under the supervision of a single coach, with a training plan drawn up every couple of months. Data was available even then, but scribbled on paper, and poorly understood. Even so, Räty managed to become a world champion, and a three-time Olympic medalist. Could the same approach win a medal today? I would like to think so, but, in practice, athletes with a digitally-enhanced training regime would have a key advantage.

The sheer amount of digital information available for the new stars, like the 22-year-old javelin thrower Oliver Helander, has grown tenfold, if not more. Helander produces data about his training, results, body, emotional state, sleep and nutrition values to multiple different databases. He has numerous experts, coaches and trainers helping him to understand the data. And all the information needs to be available for the head coach as well for him to have a holistic view of his protégé. All this available data guides him towards the Tokyo Olympics, and his ultimate goal, the Olympic gold medal. Find out more about our pilot. 

Data in defense of the country 

The same need for data is apparent when Captain Kai Gröhnroos redesigns military service training to be more efficient and personalized for each conscript. Our current young generations of conscripts have exceedingly high drop-out rates, and the causes are not yet fully knowni. It’s one of the jobs for the military service to help and motivate the new recruits become better without overexerting the group. 

Becoming more data-centric means that real-time data is made available from each soldier’s wrist for the ‘state of the troops’ analysis at the top. Tracking the exertion and mood of the troops helps with planning the training for each week separately, creating highly specified military training that lifts the mood of the troops, lowering drop-out rates and increasing personal health in general. Having and understanding data about ourselves is truly the key to success. Find out more about our pilot.

Creating a more personal future 

Our network of services, the digital world of today, is created to revolve around us. The new oil of the digital world is at the end owned by me. It is the data about me - MyData - that is interesting to everyone. And it’s also the thing we should be controlling ourselves.  

MyData is an initiative that puts people back in control of their data. In a world where our data is stored and processed in hundreds of different silos, being able to control how and why our data is used would have real value to people. It’s about privacy and control, but also about redefining trust in a fast-expanding digital landscape

The examples above paint a realistic need for MyData that is becoming more visible in our everyday lives as well. The challenging part is that in real life our data is even more fragmented into hundreds of pieces. If we would want to use our personal data with today’s commonly used technology, we would need to create integrations between each and every service you use. Do you know how many services that would be?  

For these scenarios to become reality, we need to achieve a completely new level of integration and usability – something like that I felt years ago when I fired up my first iPhone. Today, of course, the constant flow of data comes from dozens of different systems.

So far, the digital platforms we have created, have not been able to solve the challenge of integrating our digital selves into the digital ecosystem. So, the solution is not to create yet another app platform that is another potential silo.

We should forget the platform economy! The future of our digital interactions is not about platforms. It’s about creating the shared digital infrastructures for the next generation of personal data flow. In the future, we should be able to have our personal data with us everywhere we go, and be able to share it with our friends, our organizations and robots or bots alike. Our data should foremost serve us in creating a better life and better society for us all.

What is this infrastructure of the future? It is called self-sovereign identity, and I will be writing more blog posts about it in the coming month. Follow me on LinkedIn and I’m happy to discuss more!

Antti Kettunen
Senior Blockchain Consultant

Antti is the leading Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Blockchain consultant in Tieto, specializing in new service development with distributed ledger technologies. He champions MyData, while driving adoption of Distributed business and identity networks with Tieto's Blockchain Center of Excellence. He passionately seeks creation of better services and ecosystems that make our society more inclusive.


Antti Kettunen

Senior Blockchain Consultant

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