A new £30m system for personal data management is being set up based on research from the Universities of the West of England, Cambridge, Surrey, Nottingham, Edinburgh and Warwick on the Hub of All Things (HAT).

The HAT Infrastructure Platform (HIP) is to create 10m micro-servers to allow people to collect and manage their own data securely, similar to a bank account. The HAT micro-servers are owned by the citizen and can collect and store data for them wherever it’s created. This can improve companies’ access to their users’ data too, giving them direct, real-time, on-demand, dynamic information that doesn’t violate customer expectations or intrude upon their privacy.

Each HAT can be used by an individual to reuse and re-share app data and are based on deploy Docker Containers on Amazon Web Services (AWS), which wraps up a complete system that contains everything it needs to run: code, runtime, system tools and system libraries. The technology arose from a £1.2m EPSRC project that included Prof Glen Parry from UWE (above, far right).

“If we are looking at personal data the boundaries we set for privacy rely heavily on context,” he said. “Digital innovations allow you to move data quickly and repurpose it. We have a problem when we don’t have power of consent, or the consent is tied up with access to a system we need access to. This is the system boundary problem. To me, it is more an operations management and process issue than an innovation one. We’ve created a complex system where boundaries shift and we often don’t know who now can access our data.”

The £30m deal between the Cambridge-based HAT Data Exchange (HATDeX) and Dr Tolga Uzuner, a global technology investor and former Partner at Apollo Global Management, will be used for both HAT-enabled apps and services, and the server and the computing infrastructure to keep them competitive. It will form a part of the HAT Accelerator, a yet-to-be-announced global technology accelerator due to launch in July 2018, to be the leading global strategic investor in the technology.

“The data economy is an emerging digital economy,” said Dr Uzuner. “Digital services from fintech to health are lacking a crucial piece of infrastructure for personal data in the form of the HAT microserver. With it, they can benefit from better coordination and real-time recommendations, and they can create services using data they’ve never had access to before. Augmented intelligence especially, a combination of personal data and machine learning algorithms that private to the individual, will finally be a possibility with this technology.”

The Hub of All Things is also crowdfunding on Exeter-based platform CrowdCube www.hubofallthings.com

Nick Flaherty