Fully GDPR compliant cloud-based application benefitting both consumers and business from EIT Digital

The Proof-of-Concept trial for Unicoop Tirreno was done as one of the tasks of the High Impact Initiative “Trusted Cloud”, officially named as “Trusted Data Management with Service Ecosystem”.

A user-centric application providing strategic retail customer information accordingly with an innovative privacy-management paradigm has been developed inside the EIT Digital’s “Trusted Cloud” High Impact Initiative. Fully compliant with the upcoming European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), it provides complete transparency to consumers on the usage of their personal data and allows them to dynamically control how their data is stored and shared. But, it also secures the interests of the commercial partners against customers sharing data to competitors. The application is now ready to go into commercial use.

The initiative for the retail business application emerged when Telecom Italia (TIM) and fellows Italian Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) and Centro Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), three EIT Digital partners participating in the Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative, presented TIM’s My Data Store to Unicoop Tirreno, one of the largest consumer co-operatives in Italy with nearly one million affiliated customers, 4,500 employees and over 100 sales outlets. TIM My Data Store is a cloud-based personal data management service, developed at TIM’s Semantic & Knowledge Innovation Lab (SKIL) in the connection of the Trusted Cloud.

Michele Vescovi, Senior Researcher at TIM told:

“Unicoop Tirreno found the My Data Store concept very interesting, and they asked us to create a Proof-of-Concept trial for utilizing the data from their loyal customer program. With this solution, dubbed as “Unicoop Spese”,  the retailers can transparently return the data they hold back to their customers – and gain reputation while engaging them with innovative services, improving customer loyalty. “

The customers benefit from the user-friendly application  while seeing how their expenses are composed, e.g. of various product categories, like food and personal care, product types such as organic or locally produced or comparing various brands. By providing this data, the store can get access - under the control of the customer – also to other strategically valuable data on their loyal consumers, such as their preferences, frequent locations, out-of-the-store expenses, or can run data collection campaigns.

Further, the Unicoop Tirreno got feedback on success in delivering its values on providing fair prices, promoting local products and being environmentally sustainable. The “Coop InGreen” dubbed application was tested for promoting sustainability by first crowdsourcing and then returning to consumers information and awareness on the environmental impact of products packaging. Groceries packaging not only impacts up to the 50% of a family’s waste but has also impact on pricing, representing up to 30% of the final cost of products.

Mattia Pasolli from TIM, a contributor to My Data Store, credited:

“We were able to create the POC swiftly by using the My Data Store data connector API to build privacy-compliant applications. Unicoop Tirreno just had to synchronize the purchasing data at the end of each day. The developers could simply relay to My Data Store managing the user subscription and providing users full control on the privacy of their data.”

The consumer-focused POC raised also the question on how to exploit crowdsource collected data in a balanced way. Michele Vescovi explained:

“Information on prices and preferences are strategic assets. When sharing data back to their customers, there is a risk that these can share it further with competitors. Even though prices are public, it is a totally different thing to get them automatically and in real-time. One way to manage this is to define the conditions for the consumers to share the data with any third parties.”

Both Spense and Ingreen applications are now technically available for Android and IoS operating systems, and TIM is ready to start offering them commercially, as license based. Further, the applications will help TIM to build its My Data Store customer base. In addition to the Italian home market, thanks to EIT Digital, the team has been presenting them, among others, to Scandinavian retail chains.

In total, more than 100 Unicoop Tirreno loyal customer program members participated in the POC trial for more than one year. Their purchasing data was identified by their loyal customer program card while paying. In order to dynamically control the use of their purchasing data, e.g. enable the data collection or get access to their mobile app, they needed a free TIM My Data Store account.

In addition to retail business, some other potentially interesting use cases have been identified, among others, controlling the usage of data belonging to many users. Images are the most typical example of this kind of data. On a picture with multiple persons, all of them have property rights to the image, as well as, the right the decide on the use of this picture by the other ones e.g. on social media. Linked to the social media application, the now developed application can function as repository managing users’ approval data.  Further, call records or records of users’ transitions and exchanges fall into this relevant use case for the control of privacy.

Background

The Trusted Cloud High Impact Initiative is one of the 13 Innovation Activities of the EIT Digital Digital Infrastructure Action Line.  

The High Impact Initiative works for establishing a platform of services and marketplace providing trusted solutions and components for European companies to protect sensitive data and infrastructure for consumers and businesses underpinning the competitiveness of EU innovators leveraging the cloud while complying with EU regulation, like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), effective as of May 2018. In addition to TIM - Telecom Italia, other EIT Digital partners participating in its work are British Telecom (lead partner), F-Secure, Huawei, Security Reply, and a multitude of SME's and research institutions, like Fondazione Bruno Kessler (FBK) and Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR), which contributed in the POC on the question on managing price and preference information as strategic assets.

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