Perhaps the most critical trend in technology is the convergence of different technologies with IoT as the centerpiece, to create enterprise solutions to industry challenges. Augmate is a wearable-technology software company that specializes in the development and deployment of enterprise applications for smart eyewear, integrating VR, AR and blockchain technologies. They are poised to help shape a ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ as it bridges the gap between business information systems, machine-to-machine communication, and smart eyewear devices. In the first part of our interview with Dana Farbo, he details about his career trajectory and view of data as a key resource that requires appropriate storage through decentralization.
COO and Co-Founder
What was your background and how did it inform you focus on disruptive technologies?
I grew up as a farm kid in North Dakota, and on the farm you are always trying to solve problems. Even driving tractors, learning, doing and solving problems is great training. I started as a farmer, going to school for agriculture, farming some innovative stuff with my ex father in law for 4 years. I then went to Montana to rep a chemical company, then became a stockbroker in Minneapolis.
In 1995 I discovered the Internet and saw the future of understanding the world differently. Even then the promise of AI and real-time understanding of what people did what transformational. I talked myself into a job as a digital strategist for American Cyanamid (part of American Home Products). This was where I always put my head and heart, looking at the future.
I started my own agency in the early 2000s called Cowboy. This was about integrity and looking at the horizon. We had a need for dynamic interest rates displayed on banner ads, because ING Direct was one of our clients. There was a need to update changing interest rates on what were called (Adobe) Flash Banners. We solved the problem of including dynamic rates in flash banners. The difference between “cutting edge” and “bleeding edge” is key because you need to learn from failure, while using what’s in the mainstream so you don’t put your clients at risk.
What is the most important trend you see ahead of us?
The idea that data can lead to smart decisions has a lot of appeal. The more information you have – in war, in agriculture, even at home the more data you can crunch for your benefit the better. For instance, it would be amazing for Alexa to know how to anticipate and play the music I want to hear at any given time based on collecting information about my mood.
The promise of combining all of this data and AI is pretty clear. Tying everything together is promising, but of course there is downside to this. IoT devices are a benefit - but also a risk to all of us. Today, I think we are heading for a bottleneck of data that will clog systems because of massive number of devices coming on networks. As we get into the issue of data, there’s the question of how the data is stored. Is it all stored centrally, fractionally, in a distributed manner?
So how can we address this coming overload of data without crashing our systems?
We need a new way to store data, to offload to systems that are more dynamic and decentralized. Even Amazon Web Service is decentralized when you look at their servers, and redundancies. The decentralized nature of blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) allows us to do even more.
As we look at the data flowing out of devices– the question is can we really store all this data? Even storing massive amounts of data on multiple nodes to validate a ledger transaction is unsustainable. We need a dynamic flow of data that understands what you need and when you need it that can manage the remote storage of data. If I am an individual my data may be in a data center in NJ or Singapore, I don’t know the difference but with exponential growth this is unsustainable.
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