More than two dozen companies including IBM and big data customer experience management specialist Qubit are working to create a W3C-approved standard to simplify the management of data online.
The new standard will be based on work initially undertaken by IBM and developed by the wider group, which also includes Google, Adobe, Accenture and SapientNitro.
The partners say data generated by web sites currently takes a huge variety of forms, from information about products to traffic analysis - much of which is shared by different technologies operating on the site, including marketing and analytics tools, and web applications. For example, when an online purchase is made, information about price, product, size, shipping and specifications all needs to be shared with a number of marketing and back-end technologies. At present, this data can be provided and requested in any number of different, proprietary formats. The partners, working with web standards body the W3C, will offer a standardised data model allowing a more 'plug and play' approach to web development and site management.
Qubit's Graham Cooke says the current situation has 'developed organically' and is 'not a place that anyone would choose to be'. He explains: 'The complexity of managing diverse data types not only costs website owners significant money, it also makes the management of customer data opaque and hard to track. Our plan is relatively simple and it will benefit technology providers, site owners and consumers equally.'
Qubit, founded in 2010 by four former Google execs, is headquartered in London with offices in New York. The firm offers a big data customer experience management platform, collecting large amounts of information about users' interactions with a site and analysing it to produce live personalisation.