Trending Toward Passive Data Collection

I recently got new car insurance, and of course it comes with an app. This app lets me do things like make payments, read my policy info, but also has a feature whereby if I am in an accident, I can file my claim on the spot! I haven’t had the good (read: bad) fortune (knock on wood) to use this feature yet, but it really got me thinking.

Why does my insurance company want to offer this? Am I not better off just filing a police report, and calling my insurance company? The answer is DATA. Rather than ask me what happened, and where, or rely on me telling someone else, the insurance company’s app has me take a picture, on the spot! They can get my geolocation to know exactly where it happened, timestamp to know when, and images from the source to see exactly what the damage is.

It’s genius! And it makes me think of what a lot of us in market research are going for… collecting data on mobile allows us to skip asking certain recall questions such as time and place of purchase, and gather it automatically. We don’t have to waste respondents’ time asking them where they last purchased ketchup, and which size package they bought. Instead we can geotag them through an app to know exactly where they were, and ask them to take a picture of the ketchup bottle to show us exactly what they bought.

Again, it seems like everyone, everywhere, is trending toward more on-the-spot and passive data collection, and for an industry where data is our key input… we all need to be on board!