Internet-connected devices generate data. The most recent wave of mobile devices has opened up an unprecedented world of data generation and harvesting from the network, device, and application layers. The location data, photos, videos, and other valuable exhaust from these devices is why there has been so much investment in technology, and why we are seeing continued investment in the Internet of Things (IoT).
When it came to mobile phones, this opportunity was new, and it isn't always clear that we are the product when it comes to making money off connecting these devices to the Internet. People aren't always aware of how much data they are generating, and how much this data is generating revenue for the latest generation of entrepreneurs — because it's new. Things have moved along, and it's not a secret anymore that devices connected to the Internet generating data have the potential to be very valuable in the right situation.
I have been historically frustrated with people's lack of awareness of this, but I'm hoping that with each wave of technology that comes in the future, we will get smarter about this and stop being the product when we can, and begin demanding a piece of this action (if we do it at all). If our wearable fitness device is used in any healthcare study, if that weather, water, or pollution sensor in our yard is generating revenue, we should get a piece of the action. If a device in our homes or businesses is generating data, we should be a more aware and willing participant in this new supply chain.
The average person may not always care about their privacy in the surveillance economy, but maybe they'll care about lost opportunities for making money. At the consumer level this isn't always a coherent argument, but as you approach the work at home world, and into the professional territory, it can begin making more sense. Not all weather and pollution monitors might make sense for this, but when you start thinking about participating in clinical trials and operating your own drone fleet in farm country, revenue share models for Internet-connected devices might seem a little more realistic.
Silicon Valley prefers an unaware, data-illiterate consumer, and even a business class of users. I prefer a more aware and data literate society, which is one reason I'm so big on APIs. Opening up third-party access, metering, and potential revenue share opportunities for business, professionals, and individuals is one of the reasons I think APIs are important for all of this to work. I will keep studying how APIs are being used to generate, transmit, and generate revenue for platform providers, and device operators, so that I can hopefully keep pulling back the curtain on how the sausage is being made so that more of us can play in the game, and get a piece of the action.