WHAT DATA DO WE COLLECT? WHO DO WE SHARE DATA WITH? HOW DO WE ENHANCE THE DATA? WHAT DOES DATA SHARING MEAN FOR YOU? These were the four questions smacked across my Vizio Smart-TV screen, followed by a brief explanation. As a consumer, I thought, “What is this?” As a DIM student, I thought it was quite interesting, and the wheels in my head started to turn. I was given the option to accept it, or deny it by turning off the viewing data in the settings menu, but I have not decided yet. In the wake of data privacy issues, big data, and data-driven thinking, I thought this would be something interesting to talk about.
What data we collect? Who do we share data with? After further reading the message on the screen, in a nutshell, my Vizio informed me that they want to collect my viewing data (what’s playing on the TV via broadcast TV, Advertisements, etc.) and collect unique identifiers, such as the IP address. This data will then be shared with authorized data companies (i.e. analytics, media, and advertisement companies). Data privacy has become a constant issue between companies and consumers. Consumers feel brands are invading their privacy without their acknowledgement or consent. They don’t get a say-so on what information can be collected, and how it can be shared. Vizio faced backlash when the company was hit with a lawsuit for snooping, collecting, and sharing data without being transparent to customers.
How Do We enhance the data? Big data can be used to enhance the customer experience, by giving companies a peek into consumer behaviors. This insight allows companies to improve their product to tailor to the specific needs of the consumers. Vizio may be trying their hand at trying to figure out how to make sense of and utilize big data. The viewing data is enhanced with demographic data and data about digital purchases/other consumer behavior on other devices associated with the IP address. This will allow Vizio to create an analysis on how consumers engage with content on their TV and other devices. The Automated Content Recognition technology installed in the TV provides the data, and then the company leverages this data to personalize content and enhance the viewers’ experience.
What Does Data Sharing mean for you? The company is obviously taking a data-driven approach to streamline how they run their business. This collected data will help to improve product and software design, targeted Ads and content recommendations. With the data-driven approach, like many other companies (i.e. Netflix), leading with data can help to enhance the customer experience.
Of course, there is always a downside (if you consider what’s mentioned above the pros to data collecting) to everything. Data collection can lead to inaccuracy, privacy breaches, etc., but those are the risks that companies are willing to take because you see better results versus just going with a gut feeling. Also, companies believe that in the long run, both parties will be satisfied.
Vizio is not the first to sneak around and collect data, and will not be the last, they’re just the only ones who got caught. Previously, Vizio had the track feature turned on by default, now consumers are given the option to opt-out. Right now, I can’t confirm or deny if my viewing preferences have improved, but it is something that I will keep tabs on.