Customer Futures Digest: Passing the “gun to the head” test, streaming digital trust and using customer wallets for messaging
Plus: 80% of UK bosses feel 'morally uncomfortable' about data use, Google Play accepts NFTs, and creating a Globally Valid Privacy Notice
Hi everyone, thanks for coming back to Customer Futures.
This is the DIGEST edition. An espresso shot of the quietly important things you don’t want to miss about Personal AI, digital customer relationships and customer engagement.
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We’re now in a world of AI exponentials. Most folks think that artificial intelligence is a cool new toy that can write slides and code for you. But within 24 months, your AI will likely be presenting those slides for you, in a language it can’t yet speak.
Remember, the chat-based AI platforms we’re now using every day were released to the public just over 6 months ago. 6 MONTHS.
Soon, AI will redefine entire business processes. And we’ll be reimagining the digital customer relationship.
It’s happened quickly, yes. But the critical point here is that these tools are finally jumping over to the customer side.
Once these AIs are powered by smart digital wallets - where they will be able to prove things about you and about themselves, to businesses and each other - things will get… very interesting, very fast.
Digital transformation, on both the business and customer side, just got dialled up to 11.
Welcome to the future of being a digital customer. And welcome back to the Customer Futures newsletter.
Grab that coffee (or herbal tea), and let’s go.
🧐 Over 80% of UK bosses feel 'morally uncomfortable' about data use
Remarkably, less than a third of UK businesses think that data governance and being good stewards of data is important. Wow. Talk about a root cause issue.
Perhaps worse though, more than 80% of UK bosses confess they feel morally uncomfortable with how they handle customer information. This is a must-read and important piece of research by the excellent data science company Profusion.
👀 Wallets aren’t just about credentials and assets… they are about digital customer relationships
Much of the frothy debate about digital wallets is about payments and digital assets. While a smaller group of identity folk will point to verifiable credentials and ‘reusable digital ID’.
But we risk missing a much bigger picture. Digital wallets - or rather the apps and experiences where wallets will be embedded - will become a new major customer channel.
How do we know? Because we’ll be able to message customers using digital wallets. Not just move money and data around. Case in point: SSI provider Lissi has just launched ‘wallet messaging’.
I’ve previously argued that wallets will become the ‘5th channel’ for customer engagement. Lissi is one of the first examples showing the way. And once Chief Digital Officers realise this, it’s going to be a Big Deal.
📌 Google Play Enabling New Blockchain-Based Experiences
This is a quiet development, but an important one. Android-based gaming apps can now include NFTs. This introduces payments, loyalty, and new token-gated experiences. All within gaming… for now. But once proven, where else will NFTs (and other tokens) show up in the Google-sphere?
Combine this with Google’s recent announcements about their Digital Wallet - custom cards, state IDs, health data, employee badges and more - and you enter a whole new world of digital experiences and opportunities.
Lots to discuss around privacy and data portability. But this is a landmark moment for the app store, and more broadly digital wallets, digital assets and the platforms of the future.
Apple, where you at?
👉 What if we could agree on a Globally Valid Privacy Notice?
A single privacy notice, that represents most people, in most places (or at least, in most jurisdictions), would simplify So. Many. Things. It’s precisely what Signatu have been working on. Worth checking out.
It’s an excellent example of how you can view whole new opportunities when you stand on the side of the customer. What else could we streamline if we start from the individual’s perspective, rather than the organisation’s?
🎧 What’s the fuss about Soul Bound Tokens, NFTs and Verifiable Credentials?
Soul Bound Tokens (SBTs) are Vitalik Buterin’s (frankly clumsy) attempt at using blockchains for more than just digital assets, like representing who you are. But they fall down in so many areas, the major one being privacy (stopping putting everything on-chain, people).
To dig into the details, and listen to an excellent debate about SBTs, NFTs and Verifiable Credentials, check out the BanklessHQs podcast. This one’s with Vitalik (Founder of Ethereum) and Evin (CEO of SSI provider Disco). Get your popcorn.
📖 How to serve consumers who rely on tech, but don’t trust it
Big 4 consultancy EY have taken a swing at defining the critical aspects of digital innovation and customer engagement. In news that surprises absolutely no one who understands customer engagement, they conclude that it’s “trust, respect and value”.
It’s a decent report though, and worth digging below the headlines. They ask important questions like “Do customers feel you are using technology to help them, or to take advantage of them?” and “Is the value your customers get from an innovation fair, considering how much your business benefits?”
💡 Passing the “gun to the head” test
Every Personal AI business should be asking themselves: “Even if somone put a gun to my head, can I access customer data?”. This is from Yngvi Karlson, and the team at Hyphen. They are visionaries, and one of the smartest Personal AI startups out there.
I see this question as one of the simplest ways to test if a new digital service is “personal” or “personalised”. The difference matters. Another question to ask of course, as Yngvi puts it, is if it’s even wise to enter a personal or intimate conversation with an AI that’s owned by a big, centralized company.
🎵 Can we stream digital trust, like Spotify?
The idea of ‘streaming digital trust’ seems abstract. But the more you think about it, the smarter you realise it is. And it comes from Marie Wallace, one of the brightest leaders in decentralised identity.
CDs were a breakthrough. They ‘digitized’ our music. More reliable, faster and higher quality music. But Spotify was the real disruption: making music truly digital. Streaming digital content, being able to mix and match what we want. It changed the whole music business model…
And so the same is true of identity. Digital IDs were a similar breakthrough to CDs. They ‘digitized’ our cards and plastic. Once again: more reliable, faster and higher quality.
But new Verifiable Credentials will be the real disruption: making our identities - and lots of other personal data - truly digital. Streaming digital trust, being able to mix and match what we need. And like Spotify disrupted music, verifiable credentials may well flip the whole data business model…
Bonus: Phil Windley spoke to Marie about all this recently, and summarised it in his brain-buffet of a blog, Technometria.
💰Can Verifiable Credentials reduce the costs of loan underwriting by 10x?
This recent video by Dock discusses the opportunities for using Verifiable Credentials to reduce the costs of loans and underwriting.
One of the powerful ideas behind ‘Self Sovereign Identity’ (SSI) is that you can make any blob of data - or indeed any document - instantly fraud-proof. It means that anyone then receiving data or document can check its source, and authenticity, in seconds. Meaning that today’s expensive manual verifications can disappear.
I’m betting that within 3 years, businesses will be applying the ideas around SSI data plumbing to every conceivable business process and customer touchpoint. Including insurance and underwriting.
🎟️Formula One Announces Blockchain Ticketing Experience
Pet Berisha is the authority on where Sports meets Crypto. I highly recommend his weekly newsletter. Especially this recent take on F1’s plans for NFT ticketing, and the implications.
New digital wallets will mean that anyone can Pay, Prove or Pass (thanks to Tim Bouma for that one). Many in the Web3 community - now including high-end sports clubs and brands - are attempting to do all these three things with NFTs.
Which works if it’s just a ticket. Or a digital asset. Amazing new experiences and loyalty programmes. But what if the ticket also needs to be accompanied by proof of ‘Over18’. Or proof of employment. Or proof of anything else for that matter. Or, you know, privacy?
It’s why Verifiable Credentials hold so much promise. And why digital wallets will be used for so much more than NFTs and crypto coins. See also: ‘What’s in a wallet’.
💱The flawed argument for central-bank digital currencies (CDBCs)
Europe’s policymakers are wrong about CBDCs. So argues the Economist in an article on the cashless society ($). We don’t need a digital replacement for cash, it says.
While many promote the benefits of speed, security, inclusion and resilience, there’s a growing number on the other side of the debate. Notably around privacy and perceived (and theoretical) government control.
Put more simply, why can’t my digital money behave like my paper money…? Portable, private and useful everywhere. I make the same argument for identity: why can’t my digital ID behave like my paper ID?
🥷300% spike in fake documents last year - and it’s not just the fraudsters
ID and document fraud used to be about a dodgy guy in a garage with a laminating machine. As the PC arrived, fake documents shifted over to anyone with Photoshop and an eye for editing payslips and the date of birth on an ID card.
But the latest wave of document fraud might not be what it seems. Inscribe’s recent ‘2023 Document Fraud Report’ looked into what was actually being faked in dodgy documents.
It uncovered that fake document templates, like forged payslips, soared by 300%. More interestingly, only 12% had edited only the identity attributes (likely 3rd party fraud). Yet over 40% of fake payslips had changed only the financial details (more likely 1st party fraud).
Throw in AI, and it’s Game Over. Democratise the tools and you also democratise the fraud. We’re going to need a new way to prove things about ourselves. And yes, verifiable credentials are an answer to much of this. Watch this space.
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