In December 2024, SITRA, the Finnish Innovation Fund, honored Prifina as one of the most innovative consumer data companies. We are thrilled to receive this recognition and remain dedicated to reshaping the personal data economy for the better.
Below is the English translation of a special article about Prifina which appeared on SITRA's webpage on December 11, 2023.
Prifina returns consumer data from major corporations back into people's control.
Prifina has built a solution where individuals manage their personal health and fitness data, for example, through their own data clouds. At the same time, it offers opportunities for all companies to build applications where they don't have to manage user data but instead access users' personal data clouds.
Prifina's goal is nothing less than a revolution in personal data management. For instance, when a person goes for a run wearing a heart rate monitor, producing personal data, currently, that workout information typically remains in the ownership of the software company providing the health app.
In Prifina's vision, the data doesn't remain with the app provider but is stored in the user's personal data cloud. So, the running app only comes to work and, once the workout is done, it leaves the measurement results to the customer. Prifina offers a place for this data as a service.
"The architectures, features, and pricing of major cloud services have evolved so much that it is possible to build infrastructure where people retain and manage their data. Applications simply use the data stored in people's personal data clouds," says Valto Loikkanen, Co-founder and Platform and Usability Architect at Prifina.
Prifina: Back to the Future
"Before, applications primarily ran on our computers, and we managed the associated data ourselves. Then the data moved to user accounts on the internet. An assumption arose that software companies owned user account data and used it in their business as they pleased."
Things can be different, and many would benefit from it. According to Loikkanen, many companies would gladly relinquish data management during tightening data protection regulations and data breaches, focusing on their core business.
Many people are also concerned that their personal health or driving data ends up with international data giants. The opportunity to control it is appealing.
Real-time and comprehensive insights into one's well-being
"We want consumers to derive value from their data primarily for themselves. Only after that comes data-driven business," says V. Loikkanen from Prifina.
Value can be generated in many different ways. Health and fitness data collected, for example, through location information and sensors can offer a comprehensive view of a person's activities, such as their well-being. Other types of data and use cases from various life areas, such as an automatic diary, can also be integrated into the solution, as discussed below.
Prifina's AI connected to the data cloud can provide recommendations based on the data to improve well-being or achieve fitness goals, for example. The more Prifina knows about its owner, the more detailed recommendations the user receives.
Prifina encourages third-party developers to create new services using individuals' data that operate privately within users' data clouds. If they wish, data cloud owners can share their data for free or for a fee outside their own data cloud for the use of companies or researchers if it makes sense to them.
The data ownership revolution begins in 2024
If in the future, apps visit the data, app marketplaces will also change. In Prifina's app store, consumers can buy apps built on their personal data.
Consumers pay Prifina for the use of their own data cloud and for the apps to their developers, as they do today. Of course, there are also free apps available. The app provider, in turn, pays Prifina a commission for using the marketplace.
"There are so many opportunities associated with personal data ownership and utilization in software development that we cannot and do not want to come up with all of them ourselves. That's why it is essential that anyone can build and publish various services on top of Prifina's data clouds," says V. Loikkanen.
So when will the data ownership revolution become visible and audible to consumers?
According to Loikkanen, Prifina has been prepared determinedly but without haste.
At the turn of the year, Prifina will launch a diary app that automatically writes diary entries based on phone location data, pictures, and the calendar, which the owner can then enrich.
In the initial stage, the diary app's data will remain on the phone, but gradually Prifina will start offering data cloud as a location for the data. The goal is that people understand the benefits of the service and become interested in other apps developed around the idea of data ownership.
So, the diary app is the first directly consumer-focused step in Prifina's revolution. In other respects, Prifina has been developed in cooperation with various app developers and companies for a long time. The plan is to launch the service as a whole when there are more apps available that illustrate the use of personal data between different apps.
Prifina aims for a data ownership revolution
Prifina, soon to be launched on the market, is a solution that offers consumers data clouds. With these, they can manage their personal data. Prifina enables individuals to combine various data sources, such as health and fitness data, to gain a more comprehensive picture of their well-being.
Additionally, Prifina offers a marketplace for software companies where they can sell applications that do not store people's data on company servers but use individuals' own data clouds in their operations. Consumers can purchase these apps for their use.
What they're saying about Prifina's solution
"We want to offer our users a unique user experience where our skiing products, such as boots, have sensors that, based on their data, allow us to provide, for example, digital skiing instruction and improve safety on the slopes. Through collaboration with Prifina, we avoid significant investments and costs related to data management. With Prifina's help, we can demonstrate that we respect our customers' privacy." -Hans-Martin Heierling, Founder, Swiss skiing brand Heierling"
By James Donck, Prifina
In today's rapidly evolving technology landscape, the great outdoors isn't left behind. It's fascinating how tiny, cost-effective sensors are revolutionizing outdoor gear – from backpacks and hiking boots to tents and sleeping bags. These innovations are enhancing safety, comfort, and connectivity for outdoor enthusiasts, ushering in a new era of smart adventuring.
Let’s explore some of the ways sensors are augmenting outdoor gear and the opportunities this presents for outdoor brands to deliver more value to their customers.
Smart Backpacks: A Game Changer in Load Management
Weight distribution is crucial for comfort when carrying a backpack over long distances. By embedding load cells and pressure sensors at multiple points along the shoulder straps and back panel, backpacks can now detect weight and shifts in load.
The data can provide hikers with real-time feedback when packing their bags and adjustments needed on the trail. Brands like Osprey Backpacks integrate such technologies in high-end backpacks to analyze how the bag carries weight; as a result, such new technologies can help prevent back or shoulder strain.
There’s potential to connect load data with GPS coordinates to correlate terrain changes with weight shifts. By linking load data to a mobile app, backpackers can receive tailored advice for rest stops or repacking based on their personal profiles.
Next-Gen Hiking Boots: Your Personal Trail Analyst
Injury prevention is critical for serious hikers and thru-hikers. Sensors integrated into hiking boots and insoles can unobtrusively perform gait analysis to detect imbalances or irregular walking patterns.
A variety of sensors, such as pressure sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes, enable products from companies like Digitsole and Underfoot Athletics to provide insights into aspects like weight distribution across the feet, the impact of varied terrains, the development of micro-fractures, and overall fatigue levels during a hike.
When sensor data is made actionable through mobile alerts and post-hike analysis, it allows hikers to optimize insoles, adjust techniques, take timely breaks, and aid recovery. This helps prevent painful, activity-limiting injuries in the wilderness. Brands that tap into sensor-enabled hiking shoes and boots have the opportunity to build customer trust and loyalty.
The Rise of Smart Tents: More Than Just Shelter
Pitching tents in unpredictable outdoor conditions presents challenges regarding comfort and safety. Environmental sensors, such as occupancy, motion, light, pressure, and temperature sensors, embedded in tents can help address many of these issues.
Occupancy sensors enable automatic adjustments to lighting, heating, ventilation, etc., based on tent usage patterns. Passive infrared (PIR) motion sensors serve as security systems, sending alerts when unexpected motion is detected around the tents.
Smart Wool, an outdoor apparel brand, already offers a smart tent equipped with occupancy, temperature, and light sensors. These sensors allow for the automatic opening and closing of windows, turning interior lighting on or off, and even automatically starting a morning coffee maker!
Location-tracking sensors in tents are also highly valuable, assisting campers in finding their way back after a day's adventures. As consumer IoT continues to gain traction, purpose-built shelters are increasingly becoming equipped to keep outdoor enthusiasts secure and comfortable.
Personalization: The Frontier of Outdoor Gear
Sensors integrated into backpacks, footwear, and shelters provide invaluable usage data, and combining this with biometric inputs measured via smartwatches or fitness trackers offers more personalized experiences.
Here are some compelling use cases:
Optimizing Gear Settings with Health Correlations
Rather than relying on generic occupancy thresholds for HVAC adjustments in smart tents, your body temperature, captured by your fitness band, can trigger highly customized heating or cooling tailored to your specific needs and comfort levels.
Analyzing gait abnormalities from hiking boot sensors, along with stress and fatigue levels from your watch, can determine whether terrain changes or physiological exhaustion are causing these anomalies. This enables selective course corrections.
Implementing such closed-loop systems requires ecosystem integration, but the value generated for users is immense.
Location History Enhances Safety Features
Your smart backpack, knowing that taking the northern trail in Yosemite previously elevated your heart rate due to stress, now can use this data, synced from your Apple Watch, for real-time guidance. It can automatically suggest less intense routes and rest stops by cross-referencing sensor data with your physiological history and biome profiles.
Similarly, a history of respiratory issues or heart conditions can provide context for any irregularities in vitals detected via wearables while on remote trails. This could automatically activate emergency contacts or guide first responders more quickly, potentially saving lives.
Fueling Discovery with User-Specific Insights
Analyzing multi-parameter data history across gear sensors and wearables enables ultra-personalized recommendations for outdoor activities suited to your biomechanical and physiological traits.
Platforms like OutdoorVoices already provide assessments that match user profiles with ideal outdoor activities. In the future, expect detailed sensor data streams to offer inputs for highly customized assessments on a larger scale.
Privacy and Consent: The Backbone of Smart Gear
While the depth of insights unlockable via sensor and wearables fusion is undoubtedly powerful, users must trust brands with personal data access. Consent flows and privacy-preserving data handling is thus mandatory before orchestrating multiple data streams seamlessly.
Looking Ahead: The Boundless Potential of Sensor-Integrated Gear
The future looks bright for sensor technology in outdoor gear. Humidity sensors in backpacks could prevent mold, while smart sleeping bags might adjust insulation based on the occupant's needs. As these technologies become more affordable, brands have a unique opportunity to create extraordinary experiences for their customers, deepening connections and distinguishing themselves in a competitive market.
In a world where smartphones have replaced maps, cameras, and flashlights, it’s not a stretch to envision a future where outdoor gear is equally smart. The question for brands now is whether to lead this revolution or play catch-up. The future of outdoor adventuring is smart – and it's already here.