In the first part of our interview with Dana Farbo, COO of Augmate, we discussed the promise of data in Connected Industry as a critical key to problem solving in tech. Part 2 expands on this, exploring the need for decentralized data storage of device data and the role that blockchain technology can play.
COO and Co-Founder
Can you elaborate what you mean by data flows?
I see the data flowing WITH us as we go places, validated by the devices that are with us when we need access. For people that travel, you will want to have your critical data dynamically flow according to your location. Think of a person traveling around the world. If I am a regular traveler, populating data wherever I go that’s waiting for me to come back, I will need to have my data with me wherever I go in order to have a real understanding of what that data can do: taking advantage of AI for flight corrections or changes in real-time for example. If my data is flowing with me, I can take advantage of real time AI.
So how do you envision where data is stored?
In order to take advantage of this, I will need to take advantage of all of the nodes where I travel. Think of a dynamic pane of glass, with electronics embedded into that pane of glass, this might become a node on a network. Blocks of concrete could become nodes. Anything physical can generate data - such as building materials that can help with understanding earthquake resiliency or hurricane resistance. The vision here is that there will be a rethinking of how devices are used to store data.
The devices create the opportunity to create the flows of data. The data is the differential, it’s where the value comes from. Blockchain and DLTs hold the promise of a decentralized architecture.
Do you see a changing role for devices or new types of interface?
I see the need for a visual command environment - that starts with laptop and phone and expands. In order to be fully in control of your data you have to be in charge of your devices. At Augmate, we are moving toward an environment where you can control all of your data so that you don’t need to access multiple individual applications to manage devices such as a Nest, or doorbell or the like.
There will be holistic applications that handle security, manage data flows on the blockchain, and push out firmware updates. We will be able to write a rule to turn the lights on a 5pm, and we will be able to run the systems and reprogram the door locks, etc. – the key will be to take the complexity out of the management and understand how to work with the complexity of the systems in the background.
How do you see the state of the blockchain market?
There’s always a curve of tech adoption where people adopt to the saturation point. When we look back at the Internet, there were key advancements that drove usability. With blockchain and DLTs we are 5, 10, even 15 years away from realizing the aspects of value we predict. There’s a lot of money going into it, and this is a good thing, yet there will be a lot of failures. I look at how Facebook became more mainstream, and my mother-in-law is using it now. If the tipping point can come through holistic control through an aggregation point like an Augmate, then adoption can take off.
How do you think of the role of security?
Even though data may be secure in the cloud, anyone who is familiar with data theft becomes hyper aware of the need to apply security measures. With blockchain we have the ability to build in controls to a granular level – the individual level, or at the corporate level for messaging and smart contracts. With GDPR there are mandates that are driving awareness. However, if we don’t make it easy for the individual to control it will never see adoption. The user experience is so critical.
What will the future look like?
99% of people don’t care WHAT the technology is – they just want things to WORK. For instance, I had intermittent wireless access at my home for the last week and I had to wait for someone to come out and fix it. Confidence comes with either ignorance or having nothing ever failing. Yet, it has become our expectation that nothing will fail – we are constantly working behind the scenes to build the latest technology to constantly evolve. With Augmate we are using open architecture and the ability to plug into other systems. The confidence comes from stuff actually working.
Does this lead to a form of data self-sovereignty?
Let’s take my example – I live in New Jersey and work in a big building in NYC. Will I need a local server in my home? Do I need to call upon that server when I go to NYC? There are certain types of data that will flow with me when I am in the office, then with all the nodes around me in that environment, the information repopulates into those nodes, which will call the cloud-based server to repopulate the data. It’s a combination of local caching with centralized computing.
The only way I can do this is to have a system that’s decentralized enough – if there are thousands of sensors that can validate that it’s me. It creates more real-time access to data. It creates an environment of Universal Identification Management so my data knows that I am in that seat and that anything that’s trying to access my data outside of that area is an anomaly. Then, the risk of ID theft from 1000 miles away would be much less because the system knows I am in NYC. This creates a much more secure environment.
The devices around us that know where we are and that are up to date with the flow of information creates a new way to fight ID fraud. Back to the tipping point, we need a certain amount of penetration to drive and it will take time. I truly believe it will come.
Interested in finding out more about Emerging Technologies and Data? Check out our Webinar on emerging techologies and IoT featuring a range of industry experts, including Brian Rogers, VP of Product at Augmate.
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