As early as 2018, Comcast hopes to create the Blockchain Insights Platform meant to ease the often clunky and nerve-wracking process of data sharing. Due to the conventional challenges challenges of data sharing, companies that would benefit from sharing their data with each other often don’t.
Creating an addressable campaign today requires tapping into different data pools. This is normally done through a third party who set up a blind-match for sharing data. The Blockchain Insights Program is meant to let data owners share their assets without ever handing them over to a third party. No data ever leaves, and the blockchain technology, acting as a ledger, records the transaction. It’s a data-sharing process that’s meant to be faster and more secure.
“It’s always in your control, and that’s the most important thing,” said Marcien Jenckes, advertising president at Comcast Cable. Jenckes also argues that Comcast’s blockchain-based solution is even more secure than a blind match.
“Someone could reverse-engineer your data if you do a blind match,” he said. If IP addresses accidentally slip through, then the data buyer can potentially associate them with other known characteristics and effectively steal the audience.
Another common solution for pooling data – matching off a shared, unique identifier – also has issues. For instance, if the data owner rotates its identifiers every three weeks and the advertiser has a six-week campaign, the match must be redone mid-campaign.
But despite the promise of Comcast’s Blockchain Insights Platform, there’s still more work to do before it reaches its projected 2018 release date. The data owners’ assets must be queryable through blockchain technology amongst other things.
Although Comcast is initially working with its own network (NBCUniversal) and with those that it has an “arm’s-length relationship,” which is everyone else on the list, it hopes to eventually open the Blockchain Insights Platform to everyone. The tool to make data available to blockchain technology will be open-sourced, though Comcast will have professional services available for participants who need additional help.