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ID Ward: blockchain-based universal ID for privacy-preserving personalisation

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ID Ward (ID Ward: blockchain-based universal ID for privacy-preserving personalisation)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2020-05-31

The SME Phase 1 grant has supported a large-scale proof of concept of ID Ward (https://id-ward.com) with three large European media companies. ID Ward is a disruptive privacy-preserving software that implements a vision of personal data ownership which benefits both individual consumers and companies. ID Ward collects data generated on apps and websites and stores it in an encrypted data account under the user’s control. By using ID Ward, companies can provide personalised content, products and services to the user without accessing any personal information. Because the ID Ward data accounts aggregate data from multiple domains and devices, they can paint an accurate picture of the user preferences – driving better recommendations and higher conversion rates.

The project financed the technical and commercial activities needed to run a 13-week pilot of the ID Ward privacy software in the media sector. The pilot achieved the following results:
- It demonstrated user demand for ID Ward, with over 120,000 data accounts created in 13 weeks;
- It supported significant improvements to the user experience and optimization of the technical infrastructure, increasing conversion rates while decreasing costs;
- It demonstrated a positive correlation between content personalisation and audience engagement (page views and time spent on page), although causation could not be proved due to the impossibility of using historical comparisons of media use during the Covid-19 crisis;
- It allowed the company to explore, and validate, the opportunity to exploit the ID Ward technology in the adjacent sector of digital advertising.

The pilot has proven that the technology has great potential and has influenced the company’s strategic direction. Conversations with C-level executives in top media and advertising companies indicated that the digital advertising sector is looking for technical solutions to the changes initiated by GDPR and the sunsetting of third-party cookies, and that ID Ward’s approach to data privacy provides a credible path forward. As a result, the company will seek to accelerate expansion in the digital advertising market as it transitions to a privacy-friendly, post-cookie reality over the next 24 months. By changing the locus of control over data, the project aims to support the implementation and future development of privacy law, create a data level-playing field that stimulates innovation in Europe, especially from SMEs and achieve data sovereignty in Europe.
Activities: since the beginning of the project we have agreed with SigmaLive to test ID Ward on a network of sites over a 13-week period (early February-early May). Thanks to the EASME SME grant, we could scale-up our service capacity, tailor our software to the clients' requirements and use the pilot period to refine the product.

Results:
- UI and UX improvements resulting in 50x conversion rates and 120,000 ID Ward data accounts created in the pilot period
- Proven value proposition to customers (media companies) and end users
- Server optimisation, reducing CPU and memory costs by 60-65%
- Better understanding of client needs and priorities, resulting in an updated go-to-market strategy and business model
- Identification of a larger and more attractive opportunity in an adjacent market

Exploitation:
- We are creating a sales pipeline for the ID Ward consent management platform
- We are also building on the pilot data to further develop cutting edge technology that will allow us to position the company in the digital advertising sector

Dissemination;
- We plan to release a basic version of ID Ward free of charge in the next quarter (using a freemium business model)
ID Ward introduces a new technological approach to collection, storage and processing and personal data.its federated architecture changes the locus of control over data, which in turn changes the balance of power between governments, companies and individuals. This can greatly advance data sovereignty and privacy across the EU:
• Support the implementation and future development of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) without compromising business competitiveness.
• Create a data level-playing field that stimulates innovation in Europe, especially from SMEs
• Support the movement for data sovereignty and reduce market concentration in the AI and data sectors, increasing the competitiveness of European digital companies vis-à-vis companies US-based data corporations.