My vision of how a variety of organisations would be able to interact with me through my electronic persona - illustrating how personal information can be stored, accessed, maintained and given behavior. Since I wrote this in 2000, the field of personal information management has moved forwards and many of these concepts are now taking shape.
I am about to purchase a new car, so I log onto my personal portal and specify my interest and my needs. The appointed intermediary in this case is my bank and they will make my details available to car dealers who can match my needs. Having selected a model from a dealer I require insurance. (I shall use a hybrid model based on the current process of shopping for insurance to illustrate how the personal portal can be employed today).
I shortlist a number of insurance providers and find out the URL for their automated quotation systems. When I visit each of them, instead of filling in a lengthy application form for each, I enter the URL of my personal portal together with an access code so that they are able to pick up the information they require (it will be tagged up in a driver details XML so that all insurance companies will recognize the information). Included in the information are digital signatures from my previous insurance company to verify that my claim history is genuine and from the department of drivers to verify that my license and record are up to date and satisfactory. Each insurance company emails me with their offer and I select one and process it in the normal way. Finally, I disable the access code to the information for insurance companies.
The advantages to both insurance companies are huge, even with this more traditional model. The online processing of insurance applications is simplified and less prone to errors as the trusted intermediary will ensure data validity. The information is seen to be genuine which removes the effort of checking this information manually or even by automated means at each insurance company. And for me, I have removed the laborious task of entering my details repeatedly at each insurance company site.
That was the simple version, even further down the line is where car and insurance can be offered as a cafeteria style package, perhaps with the insurance company issuing personal keys for the car, one per driver. The car will then access the internet and use the personal profile of the driver to custom tune the performance as permitted by the individual's insurance policy. But that is a little way off, so here are a few more examples of gamsworld at work.
I recently visited a tailor and was measured for a suit. I have updated my personal profile on my portal (which includes a photograph) and made this available to a number of stores where I like to shop. They also have access to my home address and credit card details. I have appointed GQ magazine as an authorized regulatory body for managing information requests from all apparel stores. As part of their regulatory body service they sent me a questionnaire from which they are able to profile the types of clothes that I like to buy. They will provide information about me to retailers whose clothing I am likely to purchase for this service they are able to charge the retailer a fee. I am able to receive recommendations for outfits and perhaps purchase them online and have them delivered to my door.
I maintain a list of my friend's on my personal portal and this is represented as a list of references to their personal portals. One week before the birthday of a friend, their portal informs my portal of the impending event. My friend has granted me access rights to social information so I am able to see that she is an avid reader. I visit an online bookstore that she shops at and I am able to browse through books that she has purchased in the past. I use this list to ask for suggestions of books she may like (I could simply select a book from the list of books that she wants, but no) The store uses the list of books to match her to a peer group and from that locate a book that she may want. I am also able to check her purchase records that she has not already purchased the book herself. I purchase the book online and have it delivered to her most current address.
I purchase a refrigerator and when it is delivered to my home I plug it in. The house is internet enabled and knows the details of my personal portal. The refrigerator finds the location of the house and the owner and dials out to its manufacturer leaving a record of where it is and whom it belongs to. The house contacts the personal portal and updates the inventory of appliances. The contents insurance company is informed of a new addition and its value. The insurance company updates the policy and contacts the bank to increase the premium. When the refrigerator malfunctions, it is able to contact the manufacturer (as per the warranty information that it carries) and arrange for a service representative to come out. A suggested time window is placed in my calendar and I confirm that this is okay.
I work for NetPersona Plc. and as part of my employment conditions I will make myself available for company business for certain periods in my day. I shall grant permission to all NetPersona associates to view my appointments within a certain window of my day and permission to specific individuals to update my appointments. There are also windows where customers, suppliers and business partners can view my appointments and also request time or information.
I travel on a frequent basis. I have instructed my personal portal to synchronize the location part of my calendar with a number of my friends, also frequent travelers. On a weekly basis, it will inform me which of my friends in where and will provide me their contact numbers when they are in the same city as me at the same time.
I have a schedule of future travel appointments requiring me to be in different cities around the world. I have appointed my travel insurance company as authorized regulatory body for this information and specified that this information is openly available to airline companies, hotel companies and car rental companies. This will allow them to view my travel arrangements and place tenders to provide their services.
I have an annual heath check and my healthcare provider is able to update my medical records on the personal portal. I also visit the gym and my visit pattern is regularly updated on the gymâ€™s records about me. I request that the aggregated information is also placed on my portal. My health insurance company performs an annual policy review and contacts my doctor whom I have appointed as custodian of information. The doctor authorizes the insurance company for access to highly restricted information on a one-time basis.
I am looking to purchase a new house and require a mortgage. I have appointed my chargecard company as the authorized regulatory body for financial solicitations for information and my accountant as the trusted custodian. I contact my trusted custodian to ensure that my records are in order to make me attractive to mortgage lenders and then instruct my chargecard company to create the specifications that I require. They will then offer this out to mortgage lenders to provide me with a tender. The mortgage lenders will be able to obtain my financial history from the chargecard company and will submit their proposals directly to my accountant. Once I have selected a mortgage offer, the mortgage company is able to request access to my medical records from my doctor.
I walk into a store and on impulse see a sofa that I like. I go to purchase it using a credit card, however I am informed that there is a 6 month interest free credit offer. I provide the store with the address of my personal portal and a private personal access key. They are able to carry out a credit check and grant me the credit arrangement. This is set up online with my personal portal which passes an instruction onto my bank to make the payments. A note is also placed on the portal for my accountant.