In the report, Emergent Technologies and Intuit note that the past few decades have increasingly seen risk management responsibilities shift from institutions to individuals--a trend that is likely to continue. At the same time, insurance, health care, retirement and other financial issues are growing more intricate.
"Data-driven solutions will come to the rescue, helping simplify--and even make--these decisions," the report says. "Over the next five to seven years, emerging technologies and new analytical tools will convert daunting data streams into actionable information that will ease personal decision making, reduce uncertainty and save individuals both time and money."
"These analytical tools will store, organize and analyze life's data feeds for us, aggregating anonymous information from large numbers of people to provide individuals with personalized comparisons and insights," the report adds. "Used on their own or in conjunction with advisors such as accountants, financial planners and health specialists, these data-driven tools will demystify the complexity associated with the business of life."
As early indicators of the trend, the report points to three companies that are already tapping into the new data resource to help consumers:
- Financial Engines. This firm uses cloud technologies, large financial data sets and advanced data analytics tools to help people navigate the complexities of retirement planning.
- Exmobaby. This firm creates baby pajamas with built-in biosensors that collect health and wellness data to help parents monitor their babies. The company hopes to aggregate the information into large databases on infant health and wellness.
- Parchment. This startup analyzes a large database of student profiles, including grade point averages, SAT scores and acceptance data to help students choose and apply for colleges by assessing a student's likelihood of admission to a specific school. It can also determine what a student can do to improve acceptance chances.
"Data empowers consumers," Smith says. "Navigating the maze of modern life is becoming increasingly complex. Data is going to help. Data and the analytical tools that come with it will enable individuals and households to make smarter and more informed decisions."
Big Data Will Help SMBs Know Their Customers
For businesses, Smith believes that digital data will help spark a return to the era when neighborhood merchants knew their customers and could anticipate their needs.