This post by Jane Bainbridge originally appeared on Research Live.

The internet of things (IoT) could open up the direct monetisation of data between individuals and brands according to Moeen Khawaja, partner of Umbrellium.

Speaking at today’s Market Research Society conference, Connected World, and introducing his company’s IoT search engine, thingful, Khawaja pointed to forecasts that within the next 15 years there will be between 10 and 26 connected objects per person.

This proliferation of connected devices opens up vast volumes of data, however he warned that data had to be considered in context. For example, Khawaja posed the scenario: if someone is driving a connected car and the data shows that they have braked suddenly, does that make them a bad driver or show that they’ve avoided an accident?

He admitted that the potential for people to directly monetise their data with a brand was "a big leap of faith". "The IoT makes it technologically possible but whether people are willing to adopt it, is yet to be seen," he said.

And at a time when the right to be forgotten has moved up the agenda, along with the wider privacy issues around data collection, he pointed out that for market research it was "messy". But he warned marketers that they: couldn’t ignore it; had to understand it fully; and must think strategically.

"The consumer needs the control to set everything to zero – where there is no data sharing whatsoever," said Khawaja. "While we don’t know what the marketplace will look like, provenance and interoperability will be essential."

"Do not ignore this as hype; there is a lot of money being thrown at it because they want to mine date in search of efficiencies; it’s happening, and the amount of data generated is going to dwarf what’s available today. Some of it is creepy but we could flip it and help individuals take control back," he concluded.