IOTA Co-Founder: IOTA was the ‘Scapegoat’ of Data Marketplace Controversy

The second part of the exclusive interview with Dominik Schiener on their recent partnerships.

Recently, IOTA announced plans for another collaboration–this time, a partnership with the International Transportation Innovation Center (ITIC). The IOTA Foundation plans to work together with the ITIC to build a network of autonomous vehicle testbeds.

According to the IOTA blog, the testbeds will be used to “incubate” the technology necessary to ensure that “the future of Mobility, and the Internet of Things is Secure, Safe, and fully Autonomous.” Using the testbeds as a medium, IOTA and ITIC will simulate applications and business models to “determine their feasibility and further improve upon the concepts.”

The Robert Bosch Venture Capital GmbH also recently announced that it has purchased a “significant amount” of IOTA tokens.

After discussing the features and the future of the coin in the first part of the exclusive interview with IOTA co-founder Dominik Scheiner, we continued to discuss their new collaborations.

There was a little bit of controversy about the nature of IOTA’s relationship with Microsoft. Can you go into a little more in depth about that?

There were several mistakes that happened. The major mistake that happened was under the Microsoft side, not on the IOTA side. What we’ve communicated clearly in our press release and in all of our public communications, is that the companies that are participating in the data marketplace, are nothing more than data marketplace participants. They never said they were partners.

One of the quotes from the Microsoft employees was basically that “we [Microsoft] are happy to partner with the IOTA foundation.” What had been done is basically a journalist started picking this up, “IOTA Partners with Microsoft on Data Marketplace”. So for one, obviously , some of the other data marketplace participants were displeased, right, because suddenly it was mostly about Microsoft.

For another, it also got a lot of confusion inside Microsoft. While we have followed standard procedure to get the PR approvals, we obviously cannot guarantee that those that we engage with, have gotten the formal approval. Then it was just us being the scapegoat of this entire controversy. The thing is we issued corrections immediately into the public. But yeah, we’ll move on from that.

Can you tell me more about IOTA’s newly announced collaboration with ITIC?

With ITIC, so perhaps some background story, obviously our main focus with IOTA is to work on the internet of things, and mobility in and of itself is obviously the biggest Internet of Things platform out there, which is why mobility for us is a very strategic area, where we are now starting to announce a lot more partnerships with OEMs.

The ITIC is a nonprofit foundation, like IOTA–only they are based in the United States. What they focus on is really to build out and open a private testbeds for autonomous vehicles. So the partnership now with IOTA and ITIC, is for one, to focus on further accelerating the growth of these testbeds so that we also help in setting this up internationally and help fund the project.

For one, we are facilitating this by the IOTA foundation joining the ITIC alliance and being one of the key driving members. For another, the ITIC and the IOTA foundation are going to collaborate on the smart mobility fund. Just to note, the smart mobility fund is something we are going to announce in more detail later on, right now we are just teasing it.

The IOTA foundation has this ecosystem fund, which now accounts for nearly a $100 million, and part of that money is what we are then going to use for basically making it possible for the ecosystem (the product ecosystem) to also participate in these testbeds by coming up with new applications, by funding applications, and then running the applications in the testbeds. So really it is opening an innovation platform as well.

The main focus here is not just on profits, it’s for infrastructure projects. There’s still so much infrastructure to develop for autonomous vehicles to even take off, right?

There’s also a lot of open source, especially when it comes to security, because security is just scary. So that’s the first part about ITIC collaboration.

The second part is basically us working together with the ITIC, and with some of the partners that are already working there on basically new applications and new business models, it’s kind of this new exploration on what works and what doesn’t.

We are basically integrating IOTA into those tesbeds, and testing out certain hypotheses that we have. One of the first examples is the data marketplace. So the interesting thing about those testbeds/ is that they’re globally distributed, and what we can now enable is we can share data from one testbed to another testbed.

Sometimes those testbeds are operated by government or by for profit entities, which now means that if a company like BMW wants to drive in a testbed, they don’t necessarily want to share all of the data. They only want to share specific datasets with the other parties.

There’s still this sort of competition, but it also opens up these companies to more collaboration because what they can do now with IOTA, is they can start selling the data that they accumulate during their test drives. Through that, the data marketplace is this huge enabler for these new mobility applications.

So this new ITIC collaboration will work with the data marketplace then?

Yeah, exactly. What we’re doing then with ITIC is that we’re also showcasing some concrete use cases on where data marketplaces and mobility make a lot of sense because there’s just such a huge barrier, right, on how much data that cars are collecting constantly and how to sell it. We hope to publish that also, by February or March, some sort of short report.

I saw in the press release that we’ll start seeing some live demonstrations this year as well.

Yeah, exactly, so we’ll host a joint event that has yet to be determined, but in this joint event we’ll basically want to showcase how IOTA and this data marketplace in those testbeds works in real time.


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