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Big data & IoT challenges – plus a blockchain solution

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Big data is ubiquitous. Its origin, validity and accessibility is not. Whether you do compliance monitoring or machine learning, rubbish in makes rubbish out.  

The quality of big data can be defined by six v’s: value, volume, velocity, variety, veracity, and variability.

We believe that the properties inherent in the BSV blockchain make it an ideal infrastructure to fulfill the six v’s.

How about creating a way to capture and index data for perpetuity in a way that the creator gets rewarded for high-quality data? 

How about timestamping and assigning ownership of each data point at its point of origin and tracking its evolution each step of the way?

How about pooling hundreds or thousands of data points related to a single real-world object into a high-resolution spatial data cube?

Tokenised streams of verified, immutable time series data recorded to the ledger – that’s what the BSV blockchain offers.

3 IoT business founders identify IoT challenges that the BSV blockchain can address

We invited three IoT business founders to share their insights on the BSV solutions that could become the foundations for solving many of the issues that plague industry, society and the environment

Brendan Lee (founder at Elas Digital) has designed control systems management on BSV as an end-to-end IoT solution that can be applied for a broad range of industrial use cases. Their partnership with cow tracking system m00vement illustrates how tokens can be used to link value to data pertaining to a real-world asset for the establishment of food provenance.

Paul Chiari (founder at MetaStreme and WeatherSV) is actively working to bring real-world solutions onto their platform. Their integration is an important step in opening the floodgates of adoption from the many Iot applications already operating within this open, IBM-engineered flow-based programming framework.

Daniel Keane (co-founder and managing director of Predict Ecology) is focussing on solutions for carbon abatement, mine rehabilitation and the ecological well-being of the world as a whole. 

Brendan Lee on the issue interoperability

In the context of the way IoT devices are currently deployed, the biggest challenge is that each manufacturer of IoT devices locks users’ data into their own silo. Each manufacturer uses their own protocol and stores it in their database. There are a few companies that are taking steps to integrate IoT devices from different manufacturers, for example, Amazon. You can train your Amazon Alexa in your house to integrate with devices by various manufacturers, from fans to lights. But the problem is that it’s time-consuming and hard to set up, and it often breaks. And when it breaks, you can’t be bothered setting them back up. It’s just too much of a pain. The lack of interoperability is a big problem for home users, or the consumer market. 

When it comes to industrial use cases, the problem is similar. Data all disappears into a single back-end server. That makes it hard to generate intelligence out of data generated by different types of IoT devices. 

How a Blockchain-enabled solution would improve interoperability 

The critical benefit of a blockchain system would be that all of the data generated by different devices and the commands being sent out to those devices would be traversing the same network. 

It doesn’t necessarily mean that devices from different manufacturers would all record their data in the same place on the public ledger or use the same second-layer protocol. But it will mean that all data will be recorded on the same foundation layer, and that will make it much easier to implement an intelligence layer on top to draw from underlying data generated by different IoT devices. 

You wouldn’t have to connect to different back-ends and pool all the data onto yet another back-end, because all the data will be right there on the public ledger.

The revenue generation and cost saving opportunities of running IoT businesses on a blockchain infrastructure

There are immense opportunities in building businesses around micropayments, especially for public services. I’m thinking of the tennis courts down the road from us where you have to book and pay for a session, receive a key to unlock the door, and then return the key in a little box by the door. What you could do instead is to place a QR code by the door that lets you send a micropayment to unlock the door and switch on the lights for a period. And you’d be able to do it increments of 20 cents.

The revenue opportunity is that it’s now possible to make a digital payment for a service that costs five cents or less. The cost saving is that you’re able to receive such small payments without paying outlandish fees to payment processors. If you’re offering a service that costs a dollar at the moment, 30 cents of that might go to the payment provider. By using a blockchain infrastructure your payment will cost almost nothing, allowing you to reduce the cost of your service and still increase your profits.

It could also change how we manufacture and sell appliances. The problem we have today is that appliances are built for a price and they’re also built to fail. Nobody wants to sell you a $100 microwave that lasts for 50 years because they’d go out of business. With a blockchain-based microtransaction model, a business could give somebody a microwave for free, and charge them 50 cents to use it for a week. This way manufacturers would be incentivised to build a microwave that lasts 50 years and monetise it over that whole time. 

Let’s compare the two models: you build a microwave for 10 bucks, you sell it for one hundred, you make ninety dollars of that. But if you make a microwave that’s ten times better and it costs you 100 dollars to build, and then you sell it to somebody for 50 cents a week. That’s 26 dollars a year, but it lasts for 30 years. So now you’ve got you’re making 680 dollars off that microwave. There’s definitely an opportunity there, though it’s not a model for everyone.

Paul Chiari on IoT industry challenges

A lack of access to information causes a lot of problems in a great many industries. Without adequate information, your data-based decisions are hampered. By utilising the BSV blockchain, you can pull data from a range of different sources, put it into a standard interface that all the other stakeholders can tap into as a single source of truth with the necessary transparency. The transparency and immutability of the blockchain ensures you can get an end-to-end audit trail. 

To use the simple example of a fruit and vegetable market, you can go into a supermarket and see all the produce on offer but do you know where it came from? How far has it travelled to get to this local supermarket? What type of chemicals or farming practices have been used in the creation of these products? How has that produce been handled from the farm to the distributor’s ships back to the supermarkets? There’s no simple way to gain all this type of information. 

The way we see it, all of this information is data that could just be tagged to a product and the blockchain is a perfect interface for it. Just as blockchain takes the need for trusted parties out of money, it can provide similar sureties for data.

Why BSV as a solution?

The thing that sets the BSV blockchain apart from other potential solutions, like cloud systems, is that we can also monetise those little bits of data. As we create systems where you can earn from the collection and dissemination of data, businesses can apply that data to improve their processes – data has become a valuable commodity. 

Each of the individual data points that are contributed from an IoT device or a business database could contribute to the improvement of processes or creation of valuable applications. There could be a range of stakeholders and interest groups with an interest in the same data, possibly for different reasons. BSV’s microtransaction capability lets us build the mechanisms to create a market for data where people are incentivised to contribute their data, and parties who find it valuable can pay to gain access to the data they need.

Daniel Keane on IoT industry challenges

Throughout my consulting career, I got a sense of the practical challenges of mine closure and realised that blockchain could solve a lot of the problems.

To be successful in this line of work, data security and auditability framework are crucial. 

The first step after the initial discovery of a mine site is to ascertain the volume of valuable metals or minerals present on the site. Researchers and scientists will take samples, record a whole lot of information, and go off to model the probabilities. All of this data gets filed and sent to the lenders or the investors to apply for funding. 

Once funding is secured, the mining operator will start building a plant and a concentrator to redeem the material out of the ground. They’ll happily operate for anything from five to one hundred years. All of the time, they’d be doing environmental and social monitoring to look at things like the water and air quality, the social impact, the royalties, accidents like a spill on the ground, and how many vehicle hours it took to dig this mineral out of the ground. There’s a whole plethora of complexity to the monitoring and management. 

The system tends to work very well while the mine is operating and making money. However, when the time comes to close the site, often the people who have been involved in the project close up and leave. As a result, much of this corporate knowledge becomes inaccessible. 

I was always really perturbed by the idea that I didn’t have a single continuous record to know what happened at a particular location.

If you take an example of mine operating for 30 years, you might have had 10, 15, 20, or even 30 engineers or scientists. Now, different people file things differently and the records could be sketchy and incomplete. I had no way of knowing with accuracy what had happened at a particular location. What was the forest like at this particular location 10 or 20-years ago? What do I have to rebuild? What were the cultural and social dynamics? What was the land ownership?

Why a BSV-based solution?

Blockchain offers immense value as a way to immutably record information while ensuring its integrity and security. Blockchain will ensure that people like me can come help rebuild, repair or make these sites safe, being informed by what’s come before. 

Daniel is working with Metastreme’s Paul Chiari to integrate Predict Ecology with the BSV blockchain. At present they’re working on an Android mobile application that will let users collect field-data and write it to the BSV blockchain with encrypted transactions, using Metastreme. Down the road, Daniel wants to tokenise the app and provide full integration with SPV.

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