The health and fitness industry is one of the most data-driven sectors out there. The more data available, the more informed fitness platforms can be in developing products and improving overall experience and performance for users.
The challenge is that user data has been overused and abused for years now. When customers download an app or sign onto a wellness platform, they expect that their data will help inform the solution to improve their health and fitness goals — not be sold off to the highest bidder. Especially not mismanaged, leaked or held onto once a user decides to go elsewhere.
This is the Web2 model. Data is the asset. It helps the health and fitness companies to build their product, and it becomes the commodity that (in some cases) those same companies sell to advertisers.
If you don’t want ads, you pay for the service. But even those who pay for the service have their data captured and traditionally have a hard time getting it back or having it deleted if they stop using it.
Data Management in Web3
When we talk about Web3, the biggest benefit that is touted is decentralisation. Distributing the data across a network makes it much harder for a single entity to monopolise, misuse or lose track of it. If one node goes down, the others can keep the network running.
A decentralised network means the data is stored on the user’s device. When a user decides to leave one platform for another, their data goes with them. They don’t need to start from scratch or worry about what happened to all those years of data that was captured on the old platform.
In a Web3 world, data is portable. It’s also private — by default. The user has complete control over who they share their data with and how it’s used. If they don’t want their data shared with a third party, they can choose not to share it. Essentially, Web3 protocols let users control their own data and identity.
Web3 Data Management Applied to Health and Fitness
Back to the wellness industry. That sector relies heavily on user data to create its services. In a Web3 data management approach, the data still exists and is used to create products. But it’s the user who decides how their data is used, not the platform.
The user could share their data with a specific platform to get personalised coaching or product recommendations. They could also choose to sell their data — and only their data — for example, to a research company that’s working on a new fitness app or performing a study for a certain demographic. The company gets the insights, but the user remains in control of their data and is rewarded for sharing it.
Essentially, in Web3 data management, the intermediary — the platforms — will no longer be in control of the data they use. They have to request access from the owner (the user), they can be denied, and they have no hold on it long-term or after a user decides to part ways.
It may sound like a raw deal to companies used to controlling data, but there are actually huge benefits to this new way of working. In a world where data is portable and private, platforms will have to focus on creating the best possible product — not just the one that’s able to collect and sell the most useful data.
This is a big win for users and for the health and fitness industry as a whole.
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