Data-sharing model launched for Indian rural store owners

Data platform Next Billion is collaborating with data exchange service Ocean Protocol to pilot a new data-sharing model that gives Indian rural store owners an extra income stream.

Next Billion, which creates insights to enable companies to expand in high-growth emerging markets, provides free point-of-sale platforms to rural store owners to record real-time inventory and sales data. It is building a data marketplace and piloting a new data sharing model based on Ocean Protocol, the first general platform for borderless data sharing that marries blockchain, data and AI.

Through the pilot, Indian rural store owners will capture real-time transactions via the POS platform and are incentivised to consistently use this platform to submit verified data. When companies buy their syndicated data, transactions can be traced back to the source via Ocean Protocol, enabling Next Billion to reward these rural store owners with royalties.

“We believe global companies’ needs for commercial data can unlock sustainable and inclusive business models that empower local data providers to share fair value from their data,” said Next Billion MD Oliver Gilbert. “Ocean Protocol enables Next Billion to monetise data and share it with companies in a safe and secure manner.”

Despite the lack of digitisation in retail practice in rural Asia, sales are climbing. Driven by the rise of the middle class, the consumption of fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) in rural areas is growing across Asia. From 2009 to 2012, spending by India’s 800+ million rural residents reached $69 billion, some 25 per cent more than their urban counterparts over the same period.

According to recent estimates, consumption in rural areas is growing at 1.5 times the rate in urban areas. The current $12 billion consumer goods market in rural India is expected to reach $100 billion by 2025.

FMCG companies are eyeing this new opportunity and have revved up their distribution channels in rural areas.

This has been reflected by a significant rise in demand for rural market-research data. However, traditional market-research firms lack rural reach, maintain outdated platforms premised on different environments, and their costs remain prohibitively expensive.

Ocean Protocol is a blockchain-based platform for the safe sharing of data that enables companies and data services to build on top. Its technology allows organisations to put a value on, own and control their data while addressing many frictions around data sharing today – including privacy concerns, trust, and auditability. Ocean also allows algorithms and models to come to the data, get trained and then leave without exposing the data or taking a copy, thereby retaining privacy and freeing up data to advance the economy and society.

“A lot of data is generated today, yet they are locked up in silos because people are scared of losing control and not getting rewarded. Ocean helps to solve this by giving the tools for people to own and control their data and develop new data-driven business models,” said Ocean Protocol founder Bruce Pon. “Data owners can program the conditions of access which are then executed precisely. In addition, data can be traced back to its source, enabling incentives to be spread across all stakeholders in the data sharing process.”

“Being incentivised, along with transparency on how data is being used, increases the willingness of people to share data,” Gilbert added. “We hope to provide high quality and agile retail insights at a fraction of what the traditional market research firms would charge while targeting an increase in sustainable livelihoods by 30-50 per cent.”

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