Data is already the new oil

I have been hearing this phrase for years: Data is going to be the oil of the future.

But these days the phrase has become much more tangible.

Tesla has launched the subscription to full autonomous driving.

Until now, autonomous driving was an add-on package to the vehicle itself that had to be purchased for $10,000.

Now they offer the option to take it out for a monthly payment of $199. That’s $99 if you already have your enhanced autopilot package.

The point is that this makes the phrase that data is the new oil very real.

Now as a driver you have to consider a monthly cost for an additional data and software-based service.

199 dollars is, for many people, a cost more or less comparable to the cost of petrol. That cost that month after month made us question whether it was worth using the private car for the benefits it brought.

And now we have a similar decision with autonomous driving. Benefits such as convenience and safety on one side of the scale versus a monthly cost to enjoy them.

The experience of driving your own car until now depended on oil. Now electric vehicles are replacing oil with data.

It makes a lot of sense for it to be a monthly subscription: it’s something we take advantage of on an ongoing basis, and it’s something that will evolve and improve over time. We don’t want to have obsolete software in 12 months on which our security depends.

And from a business point of view, it also makes sense to offer a development and continuous improvement service to the customer for a recurring price and reduce the entry step for customers.

Requiring a high upfront payment gives no motivation for the company to maintain it later. They already have their profit.

And oil is to petrol as data is to autonomous driving.

Oil must be processed into something useful to move a vehicle.

Sensor data from cars must be processed to become an autonomous driving system.

This raises several questions:

As a company: do you have data that, properly processed, can be turned into something of value for your customers?

Not just data that is important for the company to make better decisions, but data that is important to improve the customer’s life and that the customer might be interested in paying for it for the benefit it brings?

I have actually asked myself this question again and I have just rediscovered that I do have information that could be very useful for some of my clients. I am in the process of shaping it and seeing if my clients are interested in paying for it.

This data has been out there for a long time, but it was only when I asked myself this question that I discovered this new possibility.

And as a customer: How much are you willing to pay for valuable information that improves your life? Systems that automate your shopping process and save you time, systems that save you those endless moments in front of the TV to decide the next series to watch, home automation systems that keep your home safe or comfortable by reducing unnecessary consumption, …