Skip to main content
The Aggregated Man

We are, it appears, leading an increasingly aggregated existence. It wasn’t so long ago that searching for an item of interest, a mortgage offer, insurance, a book, a holiday, involved a visit to one Website after another in an effort to compare prices and options. Today aggregation is the name of the game and if your consumer-facing business isn’t listed on one of the better known portal sites, then your opportunity for business is limited and your claim to commercial existence is dubious.

Two months ago, my own fixed-rate mortgage expired and promptly ballooned into a higher percentage figure. This week, I finally came around to doing something about it. I visited the JohnCharcol website, spotted a chart-topping offer from a leading Scottish bank and having filled in the application on-line, I paused briefly to call my own mortgage lender.

“I would of course love to stay with you”, I told the representative on the other end of the phone “But if I press the ‘Accept’ button on the screen in front of me I can get an immediate 4.75% with no strings and only have to pay a £150 transfer fee”.

With amazing speed, I was passed to another person, who quickly advised me of my rights as regards the provision of financial advice. And then, like a magician pulling a rabbit from his hat, he produced a mortgage rate of 4.85%. Mine if I chose to stay put.

Now, for the extra time and paperwork involved, 0.10% isn’t a bad deal and simply demonstrates the power of the Web and how haggling or should I say ‘flexibility’, seems to have become a feature of today’s High Street banking experience.

Of course, it’s not just mortgages, its cars and in fact, just about anything you can think of, if you know where to go on the Web. Even news is aggregated and collated through different portals like the one here at CW360.com. You want aggregated news headlines in Reuters-like style from a huge number of sources, then there’s NewsNow.co.uk. If it’s IT White Papers you’re looking for, then there’s The ITPortal and if you’re interest is really vertical and includes eGovernment in the Arab world, there’s even ArabGov.com.

If there’s one good thing that can be said of the Internet today in Europe, then it’s that it’s a powerful force for competition and driving prices down. Naturally, there’s one problem for us in Britain, it’s the Euro and it must present Government with a dilemma. On the one hand, we are being encouraged to go on-line as a nation at dizzying speed and on the other; it’s clearly obvious that most of our European neighbors aren’t squeezed as badly as we are where the cost of living is concerned.

Sign up to the single currency and aggregate the European shopping experience and you have to wonder how much of our spending money will stay in the UK as digital-savvy citizens decide that mail ordering toasters from Belgium is cheaper and no slower in terms of delivery, than ordering the same model from Birmingham over the Internet.

Will it really make a difference, it’s hard to say but perhaps, party politics aside, the Internet and aggregated eCommerce, could be strong a factor in pushing Britain towards the single currency as any other.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Mainframe to Mobile

Not one of us has a clue what the world will look like in five years’ time, yet we are all preparing for that future – As  computing power has become embedded in everything from our cars and our telephones to our financial markets, technological complexity has eclipsed our ability to comprehend it’s bigger picture impact on the shape of tomorrow.

Our intuition has been formed by a set of experiences and ideas about how things worked during a time when changes were incremental and somewhat predictable. In March 1953. there were only 53 kilobytes of high-speed RAM on the entire planet.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the value of FTSE 500* firms is ‘now dark matter’: the intangible secret recipe of success; the physical stuff companies own and their wages bill accounts for less than 20 per cent: a reversal of the pattern that once prevailed in the 1970s. Very soon, Everything at scale in this world will be managed by algorithms and data and there’s a need for effective platforms for ma…
The Mandate of Heaven

eGov Monitor Version

“Parliament”, said my distinguished friend “has always leaked like a sieve”.

I’m researching the thorny issue of ‘Confidence in Public Sector Computing’ and we were discussing the dangers presented by the Internet. In his opinion, information security is an oxymoron, which has no place being discussed in a Parliament built upon the uninterrupted flow of information of every kind, from the politically sensitive to the most salacious and mundane.

With the threat of war hanging over us, I asked if MPs should be more aware of the risks that surround this new communications medium? More importantly, shouldn’t the same policies and precautions that any business might use to protect itself and its staff, be available to MPs?

What concerns me is that my well-respected friend mostly considers security in terms of guns, gates and guards. He now uses the Internet almost as much as he uses the telephone and the Fax machine and yet the growing collective t…

Civilisational Data Mining

It’s a new expression I haven’t heard before. ‘Civilisational data mining.’

Let me start by putting it in some context. Every character, you or I have typed into the Google search engine or Facebook over the last decade, means something, to someone or perhaps ‘something,’ if it’s an algorithm.


In May 2014, journalists revealed that the United States National Security Agency, the NSA, was recording and archiving every single cell-phone conversation that took place in the Bahamas. In the process they managed to transform a significant proportion of a society’s day to day interactions into unstructured data; valuable information which can of course be analysed, correlated and transformed for whatever purpose the intelligence agency deems fit.

And today, I read that a GOP-hired data company in the United States has ‘leaked’ personal information, preferences and voting intentions on… wait for it… 198 million US citizens.

Within another decade or so, the cost of sequencing the human genome …