This series highlights the key insights and lessons from our Digital Leadership series of podcasts. We spotlight the important takeaways from our interviews in an accessible format. The following insights come from Markus Levin, Co-Founder and Head of Operations at XYO. Stay tuned for the full podcast interview with Markus Levin, in the meantime, take a look at our full library of podcasts.
Could you tell us a little bit about the background of the company?
The company has been around since 2012, it started in the location IoT space, with key finders, GPS trackers, and similar types of devices. After a few years they realized that there’s actually a big problem with location because it’s inaccurate to have. On your mobile phone, for example, you can download a GPS app, but if you go into the world of tomorrow where you rely more on value to location like if you have automatic supply chains for example, or the economy of things with delivery and Uber, and other types of things like self-driving cars and drones, all these things rely on verified location data, and nobody can provide that today. So, we realized there is a problem and we attempt to fix that.
Could you talk a bit about the technology and how your approach is different from some of the existing solutions that are out there?
We’ve created a a thing we call Sentinels between IoT devices, where two or more devices basically take a digital handshake when they encounter each other, and this encounter records on the blockchain. So, you create more and more interactions that then get handed off to our devices, which then get signed by the different devices which taps the data, so you have proof of origin where the data came from. This way you can start to create certainty around location. Similar to a mesh network where let’s say your phone is XYO enabled and you walk down a city block and your phone interacts with other XYO enabled phones, XYO enabled smart parking meters, or the traffic light down the road, or smart bridge. All of those devices verify each other’s relative proximity to each other, and in this way we create a relative map. You can do that independent of satellite and underground for example.
This is a radically different approach to location intelligence. Tell us a little bit about some of your initial implementations and some of the test cases that you’ve used to prove out your concepts.
With own devices, the key to what we do is update the existing infrastructure; so we update existing location enabled apps for example, so our SDK, or existing IoT type devices. It depends on the use case, so say for example you want to do a payment upon delivery for Amazon Prime customers, then you can put it into the Amazon packaging tape which then interacts with yours and your neighbors cell phone when it arrives on your doorstep or in your living room, your smart fridge, there is a parking meter down the road and so on. Then once the delivery is verified the payment to Amazon get triggered, and then from Amazon’s side it’s an advantage as well because they can avoid fraud and touchbacks, or in packaged stuff as well by being able to track the packagers.
So, the applications are really endless, whether it be asset tracking and supply chains, or security, insurance, to review stuff, identity, it’s endless. For XYO as a company we think about a lot of use cases and every day there are more. It’s similar to GPS basically in a way where the use cases are endless. Because everything we do happens in a geospatial setting, if you tell your friend you ate at a certain restaurant, you want to say when it was, and if you say it’s 80o right now, it’s not relevant if you don’t provide location information together with context as well, so location is just a very important part of us.
Could you explain how it works, and the role that the token and the Geomining kit play in you helping you build your ecosystem?
Our network comprises of four components, they are the Sentinels which are data-verification devices and other types of IoT hardware. Then there are the bridges which are devices which relay that data, which could be your router, or your computer, or your cellphone, anything that connects to the Internet. Then you have the archivists which are devices which store and process some of the data which could be your computer, so you could say you dedicate five percent of your processing to storing data. Then you have the definers which are algorithms which crams the data and tries to find the best answer to a given question, and all these four components are rewarded with XYO in the network. So, we incentivize them to do certain things, for example data or location verification, and the more devices you have in an area if you ask the same amount of questions for example, then every device earns less XYO. However, if you’re new to our network and you put up some IoT devices which are in our Geomining kit, if you put them up in a place where you don’t have a lot of IoT connected to the XYO Network yet, you’re likely to earn more XYO, it’s the data.
So, what we do with the XYO is, it incentivizes the spread of those IoT devices, and to basically build-up our network. Inside the Geomining kit you find eight sentinels which are those data verification devices which are small Bluetooth speakers, and you have a bridge which is a device which relays the data, you sell those devices because you want to increase the spread of our network. And with the Geomining kit, you speak to small enterprises and to individual customers, we also work on enterprise kits. Enterprise kits are more like an IoT in the box-type solution where you can have say 80 Sentinels for your large warehouse, and three bridges, and we will provide other Sentinels as well which provide other heuristics, besides location.
Momenta Partners encompasses leading Strategic Advisory, Talent, and Investment practices. We’re the guiding hand behind leading industrials’ IoT strategies, over 200+ IoT leadership placements, and 25+ young IoT disruptors. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our Connected Industry practice.