Dataswift is an internet technology company launching a new generation personal data management platform that enables businesses to deliver legal ownership and control of personal data to their customers. This technology represents a platform computing evolution which could represent the future of personal computing - a sort of cloud-based smartphone, that can take on all personal information of users themselves from everywhere, to use for themselves, facilitating personal AI, individualized healthcare and medicine, deviceless telecommunications and telephony, alleviating the burdens of user data protections and GDPR to the enterprise.
Irene Ng is an academic and entrepreneur. She has a BSc degree in Physics and Applied Physics from the National University of Singapore and a PhD, specialising in economic pricing models also from National University of Singapore. In her early career, Irene was CEO of SA Tours and Travel group of companies (Singapore, Malaysia, China and UK) and founded Empress Cruise Lines, a company with an annual turnover of USD250m, which she sold in 1996 before entering academia. She is currently 20% Professor of Marketing and Service Systems at the Warwick Manufacturing Group, University of Warwick; and 80% the CEO of Dataswift where she created the Hub-of-all-Things (HAT) Microserver concept and co-invented the Dataswift’s personal data management system (patent pending). Professor Ng is an advisor to several large organisations, startups and governments on design of markets, economic and business models. She is a Turing Fellow, the ESRC/AIM Services Fellow and the ESRC/NIHR Fellow. She has written several books, published in top journals, written in highly acclaimed scientific magazines and blogs, and well known for her academic papers that have steered the discipline of marketing, service operations and its roles in the data and economy and the Internet of Things. As a scientist and a social scientist, she holds a grant portfolio in excess of £10m. Her personal website is at http://ireneng.com.
Dataswift's history begins with the story of the HAT.
In May 2013, a group of academics from six universities and diverse disciplines – economics, computing, operations management, strategy, design informatics – came together at Warwick University. They were meeting to discuss their new £1.2 million UK-government-funded project: how to engineer and design a multi-sided market for personal data, owned by individuals themselves, the HAT (Hub of all Things).
It took 2.5 years to get the HAT from concept to reality. An Industry Advisory Board was set up, to help solidify thinking on the HAT economic and market model. Mad Hatters’ Tea Parties and HAT Meetups were held to engage with developers, industry, and policymakers. Countless presentations made at academic conferences and industry events to inspire a community of personal data advocates.
In July 2014, the HAT project created its first artefact — a database schema — and released it to the public domain. By the time the HAT project ended in November 2015, the Alpha HAT was ready, along with 6 briefing papers on how the ecosystem should be designed and built.
The “HAT Foundation” — the collective name comprising the HAT Data Exchange Ltd (HATDeX) (former name of Dataswift) and the HAT Community Foundation (HATCF) — was officially launched in February 2016 at an event at London’s Shard building, when a HAT platform capable of collecting, controlling, re-combining, contextualising and sharing personal data was unveiled.
The job of globally rolling out HATs went to HAT Data Exchange Ltd, which held the software IP for the HATDeX Platform and the deployment of HATs in the cloud, while the HATCF was tasked with regulating the HAT ecosystem. Over the following three years, the technology services around the HAT continued to be developed, along with the legal and economic model. The first HAT personal data accounts (PDAs) were deployed in July 2018, and the first HAT merchant partner began building on the platform in January 2019.
MadHATTERS weekly was introduced in Dec 2016 and the debate on issues concerning the state of the digital person continued through the annual Wolfson-HAT Digital Person Symposium.
A £1.8m seed round raise in September 2019 represents a new chapter for HAT Data Exchange Ltd, beginning with a name change to Dataswift.
With seed round, led by IQ Capital with participation from Pacific & Orient Properties Ltd, Alphanumeric Corporation and Delin Ventures, Dataswift aims to grow its personal data infrastructure globally. But it is also looking to develop in new areas, such as using Edge analytics and private AI to create a new market where users’ PDAs privately generate algorithms and better insights, hence making their data more valuable.
Dataswift will focus on solutions that help apps and websites upgrade their company-held user accounts to PDAs, to enable companies to integrate with users data for better recommendations and personalisations.
As the first organisation to fully resolve the technical, legal, and commercial barriers to personal data mobility, Dataswift believes the Personal Data Accounts will be essential infrastructure in everyone’s lives, as necessary as an email address or mobile number.
In January 2019, HATLAB was officially re-launched leading the HAT ecosystem in research and innovation.