Canberra based company White Label Personal Clouds (WLPC), alias Welcomer, is bridging the gap between individuals and their personal information. The company was founded by CEO Kevin Cox, a man whose career has focused on connecting people with their personal online information for thirty five years. The company has recently launched a new product WelcomeAboard and welcomed retired Labor Senator Kate Lundy to their ranks as Chairperson and Director. WelcomeAboard, launched on the fourteenth of April, answers the necessity of allowing individuals access to their personal information. The necessity of allowing individuals access to their personal information has been brought about by both legislation and regulation. The Fair Work Act 2009 and Fair Work Regulations 2009 require that employers collect personal particulars about employees and store this information for seven years, while making it available to employees. The Privacy Act 1988 regulates how this and other information is stored, accessed and used. The solutions to the requirement of collecting and sharing personal information offered by WelcomeAboard are both innovative and cost-effective.
Welcomer estimates that the cost of ‘on-boarding’ a new employee can be as high as fifty dollars per employee. The costs associated with making the information and data collected available to employees could potentially be higher. The cost of ‘on-boarding’ through the use of WelcomeAboard is five dollars per employee. Aside from reducing the costs associated with processing new employees for employers, the company’s new product also allows employees to reuse their data with future employers or with other applications. WelcomeAboard is an example of how user engagement is improved when users are given access to data held by organisations.
The new company Chairperson, Kate Lundy, has a long held interest in innovation and privacy concerns. In an article published in April by the CBR Innovation Network, detailing the launch of WelcomeAboard, Kate outlined how she was excited about the product. “I am excited about WelcomeAboard because it provides a service that has privacy and compliance built into its design. It will reduce costs and complexity for small businesses in a practical and helpful way.” Kate said. In the same article Kevin Cox explained how the product’s framework could be readily utilised by the business community. “Those one hundred thousand plus Australian small businesses that are already using Xero for their accounting, can get started now with WelcomeAboard. It takes less than a few minutes to start using it, and the cost will be recouped once the first employee uses the system,” Kevin said.The company is a logical progression in the career of Kevin Cox, a man who co-authored with David Walker, one of the first texts on ‘User Interface Design’. Kevin and his colleagues found that the best interfaces were ones in which individuals were allowed greater autonomy, in their interaction within the interfaces. Building upon this observation Kevin founded WLPC in 2013 and the company has since created an open source framework which is designed to accommodate many forms of personal information. The framework can be used to manage such personal identity focused systems as myGov and eHealth, which are just some of the systems emerging from the trend towards consolidation of personal data and information.
Perhaps the best way to understand WelcomeAboard is to focus on the difference between Vendor Relationship Management and Customer Relationship Management systems. The difference between the two of course being that one focuses on managing relations with vendors and the other with customers. WelcomeAboard, in utilising a system which places emphasis on the customer’s interactions with vendors, is creating a win-win scenario. Both employers and employees benefit through allowing employees access and control over their personal information. The employee through the access and autonomy allowed, the employer through reduced costs and compliance with regulations.
WelcomeAboard enables individuals to store their personal information in a personal cloud. The individual can then access and edit this data and information independently of the organisation. In giving individual control over the information stored in the cloud, WelcomeAboard allows for different personas to be created. These personas can then be linked across different applications, used by differing organisations, allowing for a network of personal information and data. WelcomeAboard’s framework, in being open source, allows organisations to edit the application. This means that any issues encountered in the use of WelcomeAboard can be addressed in a communal fashion, allowing for a versatile and adaptive product.
The strengths of WLPC’s product are evident and innovative, the necessity of a bridge or solution between individuals and their personal particulars is a practical and now legislated necessity. Legislative requirements have made organisations responsible for not only gathering the information but also sharing it with employees. Founder Kevin Cox has long held that individuals should have access to their personal information; WelcomeAboard is the result of both a career trajectory and efforts to this end.
Following tertiary studies in mathematics, physics, civil engineering and computer sciences, culminating with a PhD in information systems, Kevin is well placed to address the concerns placed on employers by legislative requirements. Kevin’s previous endeavours have addressed similar legal requirements as those addressed by WLPC’s new product. Kevin previously founded Edentiti, a company which sought to address the legal requirements of financial institutions knowing their customers. The Edentiti team produced GreenID, a verification service used by many major financial service providers to verify consumer identities. Paul Marando from the Edentiti team joined with Kevin to create a new team to develop the Welcomer Framework and WelcomeAboard. Through the use of the services of the WLPC team, both individuals and organisations will benefit. The WelcomeAboard framework is a considered product which satisfies the need of observing legislative requirements and regulations.
You can find out more about WelcomeAboard here.