UK govt opens midata innovation lab

UK govt opens midata innovation lab

The UK government has opened its 'midata' innovation lab, enabling businesses to collect consumer data and use it to build apps that will help Brits manage their money.

The midata programme - launched in late 2011 - aims to give Brits portable, electronic access to the information held on them by public and private bodies. The government hopes that by harnessing this data, people will be able to better understand their own consumption behaviours and patterns.

So far the focus has been on making sure that consumers can access their data - from utility to phone bills - in an accessible format, but now the government wants to make it easier to unlock the value of the information.

The latest stage of the project sees firms get access to the real customer data of 1000 volunteers through the lab and use it to create digital apps. So far, Telefonica, BBC, Moneysupermarket.com, npower, Grapple and Which? have signed up to the lab.

Consumer affairs minister Jo Swinson says: "Today's most successful businesses are the ones that are creative about building customer relationships. The new 'midata' Lab is an exciting opportunity to put this to the test and explore how businesses could help customers use the data around their spending habits to make better choices."

Martin Lewis, creator, MoneySavingExpert.com, adds: "Currently when it comes to finding the cheapest mobile deal, energy bill or bank account - many people struggle to know their exact tariff name - let alone a detailed analysis of their usage.

"A rose tinted crystal ball would show that with Midata, people will be able to press a button, and their entire usage history is flung to a independent website or agent who'll interrogate it and show them their most competitive provider - cutting out all the guess work and diluting the impact of marketing and spin."

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