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Singapore firm to launch borderless open data sharing platform

18 Mar 2019
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Singapore-based Ocean Protocol, a decentralised data exchange that promotes data sharing, has revealed details of what could be the kickstart to a global and borderless data economy.

At the end of March, Ocean Protocol will launch phase one of its network, which uses blockchain and smart contracts to enable safe and secure data sharing. This, the company says, guarantees control and auditability, and protects privacy at the same time.

The technology also allows organisations to put value on, own and control their data while smart contracts allow data owners to program the conditions of access which are then executed with perfect precision. This gives data owners and buyers transparency, security and guarantees of payment and use.

The company enables algorithms and models to travel to the data, get trained and then leave without exposing the data or taking a copy, thereby retaining privacy, ensuring regulatory compliance, and freeing up data to advance economy and society.

“This is the start of a new data economy,” declares Ocean Protocol founder Trent McConaghy.

"Our goal is to remove frictions in data sharing, breakdown data silos, and equalise access to data so that it can be applied to advance industries and solve societal problems. It's time that people gain back control and actively participate in an open data economy", says McConaghy.

The company cites research from IDC, which found that in 2016 only 1% of the 16 zettabytes of data generated worldwide was analysed. By 2020, each person on earth will generate 1.7 megabytes of data.
Challenges arise as to how to access and use that data, says Ocean Protocol.

"Due to concerns around control, privacy, and security, people are afraid to share data",” says McConaghy.

Google, Facebook and other companies have all used data to build businesses with a combined market cap of more than a trillion dollars. 

"For them, data is money: more data means better AI models, means better-targeted ads, means more ad clicks, means more revenue. Follow the money; it leads back to data".

"AI is the linchpin, and the current data economy is lopsided with only handful of companies having the data supply and the expertise to mine it".

Ocean Protocol has already partnered with a number of industry incumbents and startups to show how safe data sharing can help companies get the competitive edge.

In the insurance sector, Aviva and ConnectedLife are applying data analytics and artificial intelligence on smart home data to enhance the protection and care for the ageing population and support independent living.

In healthcare, Roche Diagnostics is exploring ways to improve care for patients on blood-thinning therapy. In Retail, Next Billion is piloting a new data sharing model that rewards rural store owners for contributing sales data.