Personalisation in an Increasingly Private World

It’s been over 18 months since the last Mobile Monday event. Far too long in our book.

So last week, we relaunched the series and held the first of many re-focused mobile events at KPMG’s wonderful 11th floor office in the centre of Manchester.

So what was this new focus? Firstly, it was on a Thursday, not a Monday – better for drinks. Who really wants to go for a beer on a Monday night?

Secondly, the event drilled-down into how the definition of mobile has changed – it means far more than just smartphones.

Thirdly, this event was designed to probe one specific area of mobile technology: personalisation.

Who was there?

We were blown away by how many people joined us, with many attendees eager to stay and chat with other guests and speakers well past the event closing time.

We had four speakers on the night to share their unique knowledge of personalisation:

  • David Low, Principal Evangelist of Amazon Alexa, showed how Echo is helping businesses build meaningful relationships with their customers

  • Alex Ayin, Global Business Director of Social Chain, discussed the impact of social media on personalisation

  • Madhuban Kumar, CEO at Metafused, reviewed how GDPR affects personalisation and data privacy within your business

  • Abdul Alim, Founder of Bidooh, showcased a world-first digital ad platform centred around customer personalisation

"Alexa Everywhere"

This was how David Low opened his presentation. He goes on to explain when the device was first thought up, the goal was to create a real-life version of that famous Star Trek command: “Computer, give me…”

Why couldn’t voice commands be taken to the next step? Integrated into devices around the home, Alexa would be the go-to helper for everything from your lighting system to the ability to order shopping without the need for a device in your hand.

He also highlighted the concept of ‘ambient computing’ as the future, where our environment has been transformed by the Internet of Everything, in such a way that computer intelligence surrounds us, yet doesn’t seem to be there at all.


Alex Ayin of Social Chain shared how social media can super-charge personalisation. First, the speed with which things can trend was showcased by his example of the work they’d done with STA Travel.

The challenge was to get 12,000 entries for a competition STA were running within two weeks – after the site crashed due to the number of entries submitted, they received 13,000 within just 24 hours, and almost 32,000 overall.

Hyper-personalisation was next up; the idea that companies specifically select people who would find their products relevant. All managed through social media with ads and products shown only to those who want them.

This approach might seem a little forward to a lot of companies, but Ofcom’s recent study suggests that 42% of internet users are “happy to provide personal information online to companies as long as they get what they want in return”.

You’ve Heard About GDPR, but What Should you Know?

Madhuban Kumar of Metafused reminded people of the sobering realities of privacy breaches. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the most forward-leading privacy regime yet. And non-compliant companies can expect fines of up to 4% of global revenue if they choose to ignore it.

On the agenda were three key principles of GDPR:

  • Personal data now extends to location, IP address and RFID identifiers
  • There will be a right to be forgotten, where people can request that search engines delete certain links on data
  • There will be a much greater rigour placed around consent to use personal data

Privacy will always battle with the utility of tech – the key is to reach a balance between what is simple for a user to understand and comply with, without deceiving them about the kind of data being collected from them.

Minority Report Style Billboards

The principal of billboard advertising is simple: large adverts placed in places with a high footfall means a greater number of people are exposed to your product or service. The problem is, there’s no way of knowing that your ad managed to reach your target market.

This was a problem recognised by Abdul Alim, and last week’s event saw the launch of Bidooh – a digital advertising platform which allows a company of any size and budget to create an ad, upload it and show it every time someone with specific characteristics comes along.

The facial recognition technology can detect height, facial hair, age, whether a person wears glasses, and so on. This data is then collated and used to show adverts that will resonate with that particular person, and that person only.

In Case You Missed It…

Congratualtions to Eddie Lewis, Co-Founder of Final StageUK on winning an Amazon Echo device on the night, and thanks again to David Low and Amazon for donating the prize.

Thanks again also to all our speakers, attendees and everyone who helped to make a great evening.

Photos from the evening are now available below.

The next event will be held in January – almost certainly covering the broad area of ‘health’ – we can’t wait to see you there!

(P.S. If you aren’t on our mailing list and would like to attend our next event, please sign up using the form at the bottom of this page.)

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