Meet AnyLog – A Decentralized Network That Manages IoT Data

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Below is our recent interview with Moshe Shadmon, the Founder and CEO at AnyLog:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to AnyLog?

A: The Internet of Things (IoT) is the networking of physical devices, assembly lines, vehicles, buildings and other items which have embedded electronics, software, sensors and network connections that enable these items to collect and exchange data.

AnyLog is a decentralized network that manages IoT data. AnyLog replaces backend centralized databases with peer-to-peer processes and blockchain technologies (we use the blockchain to enforce contracts to service data and as a payment layer) to create a scalable, real time, highly available and cost effective platform to manage IoT data.

IoT devices connected to the AnyLog Network publish their data so that data owners are able to query and monetize their data. This approach allows organizations owning the data to capitalize on the value of their data in real time and at a low cost.

Today, the processing of the IoT data begins at the edge of the network (next to the devices that generate the data) and continues at the cloud. This multi-tier architecture is complex to build and expensive to manage and use. The AnyLog Network unifies the treatment of the data and as a result data owners only need to request the needed level of service (such as performance) and ignore how and where (cloud or edge) the data needs to be managed. This approach treats the data in a unified way and has significant implications on costs and availability of data.

In many ways, AnyLog is like Bitcoin and Ethereum – the network connects IoT devices with operators (service providers) without intermediaries and there are no premiums on the services (storage and query) provided by the operators of the network.

The result of the AnyLog technology and approach is an ecosystem where data owners utilize the network to manage and monetize their data and operators are incentivized to provide compute resources to the network.

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Q: Basically, AnyLog is a marketplace? Who owns the data?

A: Companies that publish data to the AnyLog Network maintain full control of their data. AnyLog is similar to Google in that Google provides a unified interface to the websites’ data and AnyLog to the IoT data. Google, however, owns the data whereas with AnyLog, the data owners maintain the ownership and control of their data.

The unified interface (SQL based) and the access control are key components to monetization as data owners provide access to their data for rewards and the unified interface makes it simple for third parties to interact with the data. This approach creates a marketplace that allows companies to monetize their data, therefore, it increases the motivation to use the network and publish data.

Q: How secure is the data published?

A: Data owners can decide to store the data only with trusted operators. These can be a self managed data center or an authorized cloud provider. But one can also decide to use an untrusted operator and leverage the network mechanisms to secure the data. The network is designed with access authorization and data protection mechanisms. Authorization allows permitted users to view data while access is denied from unauthorized users. AnyLog employs advanced blockchain-based access authorization frameworks. The AnyLog security architecture enables scalable, decentralized IoT data management. Data owners maintain full control over their data, even when it is stored and processed by third-party operators.

Q: What makes your technology unique?

A: AnyLog is unique in many ways. There is no other platform that unifies the treatment of data at the edge and cloud and there is no other platform that can place all the IoT data on a single platform. When data is unified, it is usually an effort of the organizer of the data (i.e. Google) whereas with AnyLog, companies are incentivized to use the network as it offers real time management of the IoT data at a low cost, but as the AnyLog Network is global, the outcome is that data originated from different sources is managed and viewed in a unified way.

AnyLog is one of the few projects that enable to rent out cycles of other users’ (operators) machines. Any user ranging from a single PC owner to a large data center can share resources through the AnyLog Network and get paid for providing storage and CPU. AnyLog is unique as it is the only project that optimizes the shared economy of compute resources to manage IoT data.

Q: What is the cost of using the AnyLog Network?

A: The network is unique as it removes the costs associated with the backend databases. Today, to manage IoT data, the data is placed in databases at the edge or at the cloud. Placing large amounts of data in databases is an expensive task and the costs are directly correlated to to the amount of data being manage. Scalability and High Availability (HA) are examples of functionalities which are complex and expensive to deliver with large data sets. With AnyLog, data is not delivered to centralized databases, rather it is distributed to many operators in the network. The operators ignore the cost of the AnyLog software and the processing on their nodes is automated. Therefore the costs of the databases are not considered.

Users only pay for storage, for the duration that they store the data and for the usage of CPU when queries are executed. The costs of storage and queries are determined in a bidding process between different operators that are interested to service the data and therefore are done at the lowest possible cost.

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Q: What’s your business model?

A: AnyLog creates a non-for-profit foundation. The Network itself is open to any company and operator to use and the market forces determine the terms of usage which are enforced by smart contracts.

AnyLog Foundation will act as the long-term governance body for the AnyLog Network. The AnyLog Foundation mandate will be to grow an open ecosystem for the buying and selling of decentralized storage and query processes, while giving data owners, operators and developers an open and sustainable platform to build, enhance and monetize those services.

To fund the network, the foundation and reward the team members and investors we plan to issue a token that would be the means to pay for storage and query. As more devices join the network, the demand for the token will increase. Our assumption is that the value of the network we are building will be represented in the appreciation of the token.

Q: Do you see blockchain technology as a global game changer and why?

A: Absolutely, and AnyLog is an example. The blockchain is used to maintain a decentralized network and marketplace that no single company owns and therefore it incentivizes all to participate. With centralization, some companies would ignore the marketplace as it promotes a potential competitor, or that their data may be compromised. With decentralization, there is no reason why companies would not be interested to connect their devices to the optimal operator and why operators (such as data warehouses) will not be interested to service data generated from devices. In addition, micropayments which needs to be supported by the network are best addressed by a blockchain. These are some examples of the unique value of the blockchain.

Q: What is on the roadmap for AnyLog moving forward?

A: We started as a team of researchers and industry experts to work on initial designs and planning during 2017. We are currently building the network and we plan to make the AnyLog Network available to use in 2020. We are currently in discussions with potential partners and customers. We believe that the AnyLog Network will change the way companies interact with data.