Once Bitten, Twice Shy
When he was 8 years old my son, Elliot, was the victim of an audacious attempted robbery. His 2 year old cousin, Alfie, had come to visit, but when it came time for him to go home, we noticed that Alfie was attempting to quietly smuggle a couple of Elliot’s toy cars out the front door. Every time Alfie visited thereafter, Elliot would demand that Alfie was searched before he left, such was the level of suspicion that now existed.
A Shared Problem
People are, on the whole, bad at sharing. We don’t tend to naturally trust others with our things. When it comes to the world of data, it’s even worse. The status quo for many years has been that we shouldn’t share data, and across the IT industry we’ve formed specialist teams of security personnel, information security policies and defensive technologies specifically designed to ensure that the inadvertent sharing of data doesn’t happen. Any technology professional who has previously attempted to develop a service or project which required the sharing of data outside the organisation has likely experienced the ‘joy’ of navigating layers of enterprise red tape, CISO exception requests, IT firewall requests, or the creation of system accounts for external users (whose password or API key will inevitably expire unexpectedly during a bank holiday, resulting in support call outs).
As an industry, we’ve been extremely successful in making it difficult to share data.
Our collective, ineffective approach to sharing data can be seen in the current state of most Smart City and Industry 4.0 programs which are littered with point to point solutions centralising data and controls. The result of this centralisation is a further accrual of control by profit-making organisations, rather than technology innovation enabling the evolution of use cases for the benefit of society and industry at large.
Centralisation of control and vendor lock-in are recurring themes. Consider how our homes are becoming increasingly ‘smart’. In my house, I have smart heating valves, smart wall sockets, smart ceiling lights, and smart speakers, but none of them talk to each other. Nor can I easily or securely create an automation application using my own data from these devices in my own home. Why not? Because as point-to-point solutions the data is locked away in a proprietary service from each vendor. This doesn’t seem very ‘smart’ to me.
However, the world is changing around us presenting challenges such as the climate crisis, that we as a global community simply must address. Increasingly multiple organisations recognise the need to collaborate and coexist (in both cooperation and coopetition) to deliver services and drive transformation. But the issue of distrust remains, and our ability to share data quickly, safely and effectively has, until now, been severely hampered by people, process and technology.
IOTICS has already solved this problem. Our next-generation data architecture enables secure, right-time sharing of data which is: findable via search; accessible by those who need access; enables device to device automation through interoperability; and is reusable across multiple projects.
I’ll say it again for those at the back. The technology is available now.
Our engineering team achieved this by combining select elements from what have since become two of the most relevant fields of technology today: Metaverse and Web3.
To make data available to others in a data ecosystem, IOTICS enables you to virtualize your assets as digital twins. These digital twins, avatars of your real assets, exist within your private node on the IOTICS network.
Digital Twins provide two primary functions:
- to make the asset searchable and identifiable, which is achieved through the use of metadata to describe the digital twin; and
- to provide real time information feeds about the asset’s state through events which can be followed
Once a digital twin has been created in your private node, you can then choose who else can access your twin’s data. You may choose to make it public, limit it to specific organisations, or keep it private to your node.
Digital twins can search across the IOTICS network for other digital twins which may be relevant to them, and once found, follow those twins’ real-time feeds to stay up to date with the latest data.
Ultimately, what we have are digital twins searching for, and interacting with, other digital twins as permitted by their owners. IOTICS is, in that sense, a Metaverse for things. The digital twins are described using semantic metadata, opening up exciting capabilities to develop dynamic, autonomous interactions between real assets across organisational boundaries.
Possibly the most impressive thing about IOTICS is not just that we’ve enabled a new way to share data and enable autonomous interactions, but that we’ve done so while allowing each participant on the network to remain in complete control of their systems and assets.
In IOTICS, no one shares usernames or passwords and there are no API keys being passed around between organisations. Each participant simply has access to their own IOTICS node. To selectively share data is a simple task of updating the access control list within your own node. You grant access and revoke access as and when required. And, if you want to make your digital twin fully public, then you can do so with a simple configuration change in the GUI.
In this architecture paradigm, you do not need to trust collaborators with access to your systems. You don’t even need to trust IOTICS. IOTICS isn’t a middleman between organisations in the sharing of data. Instead, the IOTICS network manages the interactions between digital twins using a peer-to-peer protocol.
IOTICS leverages decentralised identity (W3C DiD for those curious) and decentralised architecture to ensure that each participant has control over their node and the data that they choose to share. Each user owning and controlling their node on a network: the promised decentralisation of Web3. While the current hype around Blockchain and NFTs drive the Web3 conversation today, IOTICS has been using this pragmatic decentralised approach since 2019 to solve the very real problem of data sharing.
Challenging the status quo
IOTICS has successfully challenged the status quo and solved the problem of simply and securely sharing data across organisational boundaries. Furthermore, our technology opens up a whole new set of possibilities for an autonomously interoperable world.
IOTICS enables truly smart cities and industries by enabling vast ecosystems to form and evolve, facilitating currently unimaginable use cases that remain to be discovered and capitalised on, by those organisations who are able to find and share the data necessary to drive transformation.
To find out more about our technology and how it is transforming the way the world uses and shares data, please get in touch.
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We enable the world’s data to interact safely and securely with other data, of all types, in all places, dynamically.