Tech CEOs, bank execs, and asset managers see a huge opportunity for alternative data sources, including apps and the internet of things.
The future of financial services demands more, different, and better data. Incumbent banks, big companies like Facebook and Google, and scores of startups know this. But which data sets will rule the future? At CB Insights’ Future of Fintech Conference, moderator Robin Wigglesworth wrapped up a panel on the rise of alternative data by asking the speakers for their data wish lists:
“[What is] a data set that you’d really like that doesn’t exist today?”
Bina Kalola of Bank of America was first to respond: “I think there [are] two that I see in development … being able to truly extract sentiment and tone [from text] … and also transcription in voice.” She went on to indicate that she expected there was a more reliable and accurate transcription solution on the horizon, something closer to an 80% accuracy rate, in contrast to the less accurate options currently available. Having fuller access to people’s exact words and also their true sentiments could have far-reaching effects.
Matthew Granade, chief market Intelligence officer, Point72 Asset Management, said there’s a paucity of data available in the industrial and internet of things space. “There are a lot of good data sources on the consumer side … but [not] if you’re wanting to understand how trucks move across the country or how trains move … I keep thinking that the growing use of sensors and the IoT will light that up more, but I haven’t seen that yet.”
Jeff Glueck, CEO of Foursquare, finished up the round by boldly declaring that Foursquare wants to be “the Nielsen of the real world.” To him, this means being at the intersection of advertising and the real world, tracking how advertising drives customer behavior and purchases. Using foot-traffic data gathered by its consumer-facing mobile apps, Foursquare already tells business which ads are driving people to which businesses. Glueck revealed that matching up this ability with “set-top box data” from televisions — which would tell Foursquare which ads those same customers have seen — is the next big area of attack for his company.
App Annie CEO and co-founder Bertrand Schmitt said data on mobile app discovery, downloading, engagement, and monetization are their main concerns.