Preface — Personally, I still don’t think anyone fully knows what exactly the Qubic Network will look like, or what kind of applications will be built on top of the final version. Part of that is simply because it is a new paradigm in which we must shift our minds from a traditional economy to a new machine economy. In this article, I try to describe not whether the example technically is correct or not, but more so what it could be. The fact is, the Qubic Network is being built to be a flexible structure that refines data into a digestible end product usable for the worlds digital applications. The Qubic Network will offer a platform on top of the Tangle which provides seamless Q-Contracts (as I call them). In the end, I may be incorrect, but I only intend to inspire thought, imagination, and discussion. I hope from reading below you get a bit of inspiration and somewhat of a possibility of what COULD be… also, please listen to the Planet Money link at the bottom of the article which ties into this as well.
The Qubic Network!
So now that we have a secure standard protocol for the global Internet of Things, what can we build on top of it? What can we do with this secure data flowing in and around the world from connected devices?
Let’s look at the concept, “Data is the new Oil”. What kind of infrastructure was needed for oil to power combustible engines which drove the 3rd industrial revolution?
- Resource: Oil = Data
- Extraction Tool: Oil Derricks = Connected Device
- Transfer Infrastructure: Oil Pipelines = Tangle (Transfer Layer)
- Refine & Processing: Oil Refineries=Qubic Network
- End Products: Fuel and Petroleum Products = Data Which Fuels Digital Applications
So How Does Qubic Refine and Process Data?
- 80% of companies fear they lack the skills to make sense of all the data that IoT provides.
- 60% stated that IoT initiatives always look good on paper, but prove much more difficult than anyone expected.
- In 2019, one-third of IoT solutions will be abandoned before deployment due to a lack of data management and analytic capabilities.
We can see that the challenge is not necessarily the acquisition of data, but the challenges are found capturing processed data that is in a usable format. Take for example electric cables within a computer. The manufacturer of those cables most likely makes or takes copper wiring, and molds plastic around them. The manufacturer, however, does not extract raw crude oil from the ground. They have no idea how to refine the raw resource into a petroleum-based product. However, they purchase a base product in which they can use to manufacture the wiring by molding the plastic into sheaths. The resource, oil itself, is not what the manufacturer gets. Without the refining process, the crude oil in its raw form is useless. Yet as a refined and usable product, it is a highly valuable commodity. This is what the Qubic Network offers. Data then becomes the new oil and the combustible engine starts to be replaced by digital machines, computational power, and electrical processing.
Shit Data In, Shit Results Out!
One of the keys to using data is ensuring that it is of a quality standard. Think of when you put fuel in your car. You want quality fuel to run the engine. With quality fuel, your car will perform properly and have no issues. However, if the infrastructure that extracts, transports, and refines the fuel does so improperly, the end product is an unusable and tainted fuel. In the end, your car will break down because corrupted fuel caused a reaction which eventually results in a broken engine. As for the electrical cable manufacturer, they do not want a crappy petroleum product either. If they input inadequate petroleum base plastic into their molds, the plastic will eventually degrade and become brittle. The sheathing will no longer be able to protect the copper and eventually lead to electrical inconsistencies and issues. Just as during the 19th and 20th centuries, infrastructure and refineries were built to ensure the integrity of the petroleum resource, we also need a digital infrastructure that offers a refining process to ensure quality and usable data.
In regards to Companies and organizations, they need quality data so that their end products, digital applications, will run smooth, consistent, and perform as programmed. Just as with oil in regards to the connected devices, Qubic Oracles, and the Tangle combined creates a digital infrastructure that will allow for quality data to be collected and processed. In addition, similar to the refineries, the Qubic network will process the data ensuring that it is valid and usable. The process in which Qubic refines the data is through “Quorum-Based Computation”.
Smart-Contract Processing 2.0
Does the Qubic Network offer Ethereum type smart-contracts? The answer is not exactly. With Ethereum, funds or assets are deposited into an address and when some conditional parameters are met, those assets are transferred and value is exchanged. To some extent, Ethereum smart-contracts are very strict and require fees (Gas) to complete them. Ethereum smart-contracts are recorded on the immutable blockchain which again gets affected by an increase in database size and scalability. Lastly, Ethereum smart-contracts still need Oracles to provide data in order to complete the parameters of the contract.
With Q-Contracts as I call them, they are more flexible. They have the option to be created for free, or given rewards of IOTA when completed. In theory, any asset can be a reward upon the completion of a Q-Contract. The fact is the creator has the flexibility of how he, she, or it can create the contract. A Q-Contract comprises of an assembly that can include a single Oracle or up to thousands. Also, Q-Contracts are about using real-time data to trigger digital commands and events based on current world actions. These are not meant to be contracts held in a block-chain and be executed in 20 years, but rather be completed in real-time, a few weeks, or a couple of months. The contract itself, however, can remain on the Q-Network for however long it is intended for. This is not to say that applications will not be able to be built allowing for this; that is where contract funds are held in escrow for long multi-year periods. However, in my opinion, the Qubic Networks initial focus will be on real-time handling and responding to the digitized world data.
So how is that done? Here is a question, “can anything be 100% sure?” The answer is no. There are some absolute truths such as the Universal Law of Gravitation, Newton’s Law of Motion, and many others. These seem to be nearly 100% certain, yet when we factor in quantum mechanics and other variables such as black holes, these universal laws do not hold up. At best we can be 99.9999% sure of something but never reach 100%. However, we can calculate and use confidence intervals to show the integrity of a result through a consensus, or quorum analysis. For this let us look at a very basic example:
Let’s say I am a farmer with over 1,000 acres of crops. Instead of listening to the weatherman which is nearly always incorrect, I would like to use live sensors that relay data so that I can make a decision about should my crops be watered. If rain is coming there is no need for me to waste hundreds of gallons of water. Not only is that an expense, but it depletes the water supply from the local community. Rain may not be coming but my soil saturation is already dense enough that my crops can sustain a day without the sprinklers. What I don’t want though is to have to trust the weather station who is often incorrect. Neither do I want to invest the expense of putting out hundreds of environmental sensors. Lastly, I want to try and avoid centralization, as we have seen that it is a single-point-of-failure. If my watering system is connected to a cloud, such as one that would be dictated by a weather company or an entity, there is the risk of a network crash and a loss of crops.
Instead of trusting one central authority, I would rather get several different data points to work off of, and do so over a decentralized and distributed network. I would like data such as barometric pressure, humidity, wind speed, wind direction, temperature, sun intensity, and soil moisture. I would like this data to be provided from data points in 10-mile increments expanding a circular radius from my fields to 100 miles out. This way I have sufficient data to work with and can analyze the trend if there will be rain coming within a given set of hours. Using this data, my home server can run an algorithm and either a) alert me that a rainstorm is coming or b) simply control the crop sprinklers. The alert, or the data, can provide information with such facts as to how fast the storm is coming, where it is coming from, how much water will be deposited, and for what lengths of time. With this information, my home server can analyze and control my watering system and do so in an efficient manner while saving costs, as well as, saving water for the local community as the farm minimizes waste. The Qubic Network can aid my home server by refining and providing usable data. However, even my home server is a central-point-of-failure. Let’s take this one step further. The Qubic Network can simply compute the data and message my sprinklers and direct them to either water or not water the crops.
Traditionally, this messaging is done by sending such transmissions over the internet, or the cloud. Yet what happens if your internet provider goes down Do you want to have to trust one single entity? This is yet another point-of-failure and a network weakness. The Tangle and the Qubic Network offers the ability to connect devices directly to each other and form a mesh of edge devices. So that if the cloud or internet fails, the mesh network comprising of edge devices stays active and connected. Furthermore, if one single device goes down within the network, the others are still connected. With a distributed mesh network we have a method of redundancy and decentralization made up of all the connected devices. There is no more trust needed on a central authority or reliance on organizations to provide us with internet access.
So here is the question, “How can I trust those data points?” If people put sensors in their soil and on top of their houses to offer data as a resource; as a farmer, I would like to use it. However, how can I trust them? What if they hack some devices in which their sensor sells fake data in order for me to pay them IOTA? Again, this is a network weakness that doesn’t allow for a trustless system.
With the Qubic network layered on top of the Tangle and Quorum analysis, the data can be refined and processed for use. The users of the network no longer need to trust one single device but rather let Qubics run a contract to ensure data integrity. Let’s take an example.
A farmer may want data from 50 physical points spreading out from around his or her farm. Yet if they request a higher confidence interval they may decide to request 3 different results for each geographic data point. The farmer would then request data from 3 different sensors per every single geographic location of the 50. This would equate to 150 total sensor points overall. Rather than trusting one single sensor for each geographic point, he can compute 3 different sensors to ensure the integrity of each individual location. If we focus on just one geographic location what does this look like?
The results from 3 sensors in regards to ground saturation may result in (83% saturated, 84% saturated, & 83% saturated) which I can then assume that the soil is saturated between 83% to 84%. As all of the sensors concluded nearly the same result and had a confidence interval of over 66%, I can consider this data acceptable. However, if 3 sensors return the results as (83% saturated, 84% saturated, and 5% saturated), I can still assume the soil saturation is between 83% and 84%. The Quorum result was still computed at higher than 66% interval. The sensor that returned 5% could simply possibly be broken, or the owner could be sending false (Non-Quality) data to try and interfere with the digital system. Regardless, by using Qubics and processing the data, the network identified and concluded that even with a bad data point that the geographic location still had a soil saturation between 83% to 84%.
So what about if the data does not compute with quorum conclusion resulting greater than 66%? If 3 sensors returned the soil saturation levels as (5%, 85%, and 44% saturation), then the analysis returns a less than 66% conclusion. The Q-Contract finds that the data is not usable and thus the contract is closed without paying the reward. Does this mean that the system breaks down and the crops do not get watered? Absolutely not! The algorithm that processes this data will simply lack one data point and either:
- a) be able to continue with the watering analysis process,
- b) request other data points and recalculate that geographic location or
- c) find that the data is corrupted and follow an alert system.
Through Qubic Quorum computation, data that is created from the real world can be digitized, refined, and processed to allow applications to perform as programmed. Just as machines were powered by combustible engines and fuel was their energy source; in today’s world, data is the resource that will power digital applications and connected devices. The Internet of Things, with the Tangle as the underlying secure messaging layer, offers the Qubic Network a foundation in which it can refine and process digitized data to power our current and future societies. No longer do we have to trust 3rd parties for data integrity, rely on their networks, or need their infrastructure for connectivity or access. By using the Tangle and the Qubic network, edge devices can become interconnected in a global entangled digital web that offers a secure protocol, a trustless system in which data is processed, and redundancy through distribution. This is the digital world of the future!
So What does the Qubic Network Consist of?
As we discussed earlier, 80% of companies have fears that they lack the skills to understand the data they collect throughout the Internet of Things. As well, 60% find it difficult to actually implement an IoT initiative. We need to ask ourselves if 80% of companies didn’t need to worry about having the lack of skill to ensure quality data, would more initiatives be successful? Or, if a secure data processing layer such as the Qubic network was in place on a secure protocol, will we find developers creating user-friendly applications in which companies that struggle with data management can use to easily integrate an IoT infrastructure? The answer is yes! However, these applications need a refining process to allow for verifiable and digestible data, and this is completed through the Qubic Network. On a technical level the Qubic Network consists of:
- Qubic Contracts
- Qubic Supervisors
What Does the Qubic Network Offer the Immediate Future?
With the Tangle and the Qubic network, we have a combined global secure infrastructure in which to build a distributed autonomous machine-to-machine and machine-to-peer economy. Data no longer needs to return to the cloud’s central servers to be refined and stored in silo’s; instead, it can be refined in real-time right at the edge and used as a fuel to power automation.
Now, just as scalability is the ultimate goal, we can look at what a scaled up example would be. Let’s take California within the US for an example who regularly has to deal with drought epidemics, and, are currently putting regulation on farmers requiring that they reduce their water usage 2% per year over the next 20 years. If they do not reduce their use the state will not allow them water rights (See the Planet Money Podcast at the end of this article). What if all of the multiplicities sprinkler systems were connected to the Tangle? What if the state of California created a Qubic Contract to monitor all of the environmental sensor data available? Also, what if all of this information was then forwarded to farmers? Let’s do a very broad and quick imaginative example:
- California creates Qubic Contracts to pay people IOTA for their environment sensor data (Oracles).
- The California municipality watering infrastructure (ie: public area sprinkler systems) are connected to the Tangle and will react based on data received from the Qubic contracts. In essence, it will react from the “digital environment which data flows to”.
- Also, let's say California finds that it is beneficial to have farmers not water their crops during the same time as the city is watering their public spaces. This time of resource allocation during peak times can also be thought of as electricity within the grid. Let’s assume California makes two Qubic Contracts. One contract is to purchase and verify data from sensors throughout the state, and the other contract is for the farmers so they stop watering while the state is watering their public places.
- Let’s assume the farmers themselves have sensors (Oracles) which can be used in an assembly to verify that they did not water their crops during the times they were requested not to.
So what does a scaled-up example look like on the Qubic Network?
The Qubic network doesn’t necessarily promote people to go out and buy a sensor to earn IOTA’s; however, it more supports that if you already have a sensor doing a job, why not sell the extra data that isn’t used? For example. Over time many of us who have homes will eventually have soil sensors. We will have an outside temperature, humidity and weather monitors as well. We will have this to monitor the environmental conditions of our local space, but in reality, we only use this data occasionally. The other 90% of the time these sensors are collecting data and simply letting it go to waste. The Qubic Network offers an option to capitalize and use this wasted data for good. If we have this data that is going to waste 90% of the time the question becomes, “Why not either a) let someone use it for good, or b) earn IOTA’s for it?” The majority of people are going to either earn IOTA’s or at least help out society with data rather than letting it go to waste.
The Tangle and Qubic’s offers an infrastructure to harvest used or unused data and offer it to a digital market place.
Now, these sensors are sending their data points to the Tangle by “Zero Fee” transactions. As we saw in Part III, a fee-based DLT does not work. Yet with zero fee transactions, sensors can simply stream data in regular intervals which can be tagged. The Tangle will eventually offer a method to allow for transactions to be identified and categorized for better handling. In the example with California, residents sensor data may be able to be tagged as “California Resident Sensor” information. This would essentially create a cluster or group of all the environmental data in which anyone or entity could pick from. So in the case of California, the municipalities can now create a Qubic Contract in which their assemblies pull data from the digital environment. In this case, the California Resident Sensor Environment. California’s municipal Qubic Contract can form an assembly pulling and processing data it grabs from the digital space.
Now that the Qubic Contract analyzes and produces verifiable data, the contract owner can pay out IOTA’s. That is, California can issue IOTA’s to the sensors (Oracles) which provided quality data. California can use this data and water their public areas in an efficient manner based on the local environmental data received. No longer depending on some central weather app, or depending on internet connections which have a central-point-of-failure. The advantage of having real-time quality data in a distributed manner offers huge efficiencies that will better regulate and save our resources, while not only saving companies and organizations costs but passing those savings on to Oracle owners for the data that they provide!
But what about the farmers? Once the sprinklers started watering California’s public spaces, their own Oracles will send that data through the Tangle to yet another environment. This environment may be designated as, municipality watering. As California created a Qubic Contract with the farmers, the farmers' connected devices (ie: crop watering system) listens to the municipality watering environment. When it sees the data which states the municipality is watering their public areas, the farmers watering systems are triggered. If they were watering they then stop, and if they weren’t watering they stay stopped. More oracles act verifying that the farmers didn’t water and send that data to yet another environment where California’s Qubic Contract listens. This then triggers the Q-Contracts to verify the farmers didn’t water during the designated time and rewards them with IOTA’s.
Note: This is all based on economics. By tapping into all of the data in the state; California, residents, and the farmers can all work together to create and live within an efficient society while creating a new digital marketplace. Instead of simply acting as individuals, everyone can act together in a large group basing actions on each other's prior actions. What might seem complex at first, we will find over time evolves into a great efficient system which not only saves resources such as water, but also money, or in California’s example tax dollars. Once California can save on paying for water they simply pass part of that on in the form of IOTA’s to residents and farmers. What we see evolve is a digital economy where the value of a resource (data) gets traded and creates efficiency. More so, connected devices, the Tangle, and the QUbic network starts to make a web of not just connected devices but also connecting both machines and humans allowing for a greater more powerful intelligence.
How Does the Qubic Network Become a Seamless Smooth Layer of Waves Flowing, Creating, and Being Triggered By Verified Valid Secure Data?
In the last example, it can be seen how one Qubic contract creates data which in a sense creates an environment, that then flows like a wave creating a reaction that triggers another Qubic contract. Each contract refines, processes, and sends that data to yet another environment. Other Oracles and Assemblies lie dormant listening to environments waiting to be triggered. Of course, once triggered they then create and send more data to yet another environment that triggers yet another Q-Contract. We can see in the above process flow diagram that in (A) the residents (Sensor data) triggers the (B) California Q-Contract or assembly. The data generated from California watering their public spaces creates data which triggers ( C) the farmers Q-Contract which in return creates more data and eventually triggers more Q-Contracts.
Not only does the Qubic Network refine and process data, but it allows the data to be used and thus triggers devices or alerts for humans. A Q-Contract can simply alert a human. The farmers may get a text message that says, “please shut off your watering system, this is from the state of California”. Or, the Q-Contract may simply trigger the farmers' sprinkler devices to either stop watering or not water. In both situations, the alert or the trigger is going to be completed by a digital message securely sent over the Tangle. As well, it is not a centralized entity that has a risk of failing. The Tangle, being decentralized and distributed, offers redundancy to assure that not only the data will be sent to environments, but that those environments will create triggers. Once the Q-Contracts are set in place, they can simply run in a trustless seamless and possibly autonomous manner.
So now we can see how the Qubic layer is a communication structure that is based on the language Abra. Abra, which is designed specifically for not only a global market using the next centuries most valuable resource, Data, but also connects with the Tangle to create data environments and events. These environments and events then create more Q-Contracts, which creates more data, which creates more environments and even more events. This all becomes a foundation where data not only forms a digital marketplace, but digital fields start to evolve. From these marketplaces and fields, machines and systems can be created offering efficiencies. With this layer being built over a secure protocol, soon autonomous chain reactions can occur. A sensor will be able to record and digitize the world it interacts with and send that data to the Tangle. That data on the Tangle will trigger a series of Qubic contracts that flow in waves from one point in the world all the way around the globe creating endless reactions of ever more digital waves. The more waves created the more environments. The more environments created the more events. Even more, events create ever more Q-Contracts, and ever more Q-Contracts create even more waves. Pretty soon an infinite endless reaction of digital contracts flowing and connecting the entire world in one digital Tangle. Data flowing endlessly triggering digital commands which initiate contracts within connected devices and machines. All of it, all of it being powered by IOTAs.
The Water Marketplace
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Note: As I wrote this article I wondered if my example of the state of California and water efficiency was even a legit situation. Or is it something that Qubic and the Tangle can even support. Yesterday as I was driving to an appointment and listening to the Planet Money Podcast, The Water Marketplace. I was surprised to not only hear how California is taking water efficiency seriously but also putting regulation on farmers. That due to these regulations and the draughts the state has seen in the past propelled the farmers to develop an online digital water marketplace. Furthermore, one farmer stated that the anonymity of data is highly important to them. So what does this example bring? 1) The digitization of physical resources in the form of data is happening today (i.e. digital marketplace. 2) The anonymity of data is important (i.e. IOTA offers Masked Authentication Messaging (MAM) ) 3) There system is created online which is a single-point-of-failure 4) It sounds like they have to go online and perform this trade as a human (not autonomously) and 5) a “Blockchain” company is trying to provide a solution. As we know, blockchain comes with fees, and fees do not work for an IoT system.
In reality with the use of the Tangle, Qubics, and MaM, this can be completed autonomously, securely and in a feeless fashion. Lastly, because the Tangle is feeless, micropayments the exchange can occur seamlessly with micropayments. That is, Farmer (A) has excess water based on his or her data being processed. Farmer (A) puts a price on the digital marketplace for his or her resource. Farmer (B) creates a Qubic contract to buy water when his aquifer is below a certain amount. The Qubic Network conducts the exchange using MaM anonymity, no smart-contract is needed because of the real-time exchange between IOTA’s and Water is done with micropayments. If one stream or the other stops so does the exchange, but as long as the streams are flowing (i.e. the water and the IOTA) then the exchange continues until Farmer (B) gets the water he or she desires. Again, these needs are not theoretical needs within society and the IoT, they are real and they are happening today! A secure messaging layer, the Qubic Network, and a digital marketplace is a solution for many of today's present digital issues.
The world and the Internet of Things needs a secure data transfer protocol that allows for feeless micro-transactions. Societies, Organizations, Businesses, and People need a way to have access to the worlds wasted data. They need to be able to access that resource after it has been verified and refined. The Qubic network not only refines it, but creates a trustless system in which digital fields of data can trigger humans, connected devices, and machines. This type of system will create more and more efficiency in both the economic marketplace and within our society. This system will digitize everything from environmental, stock prices, game scores, utilities, electricity, and anything else in the physical world. No longer do we need to work independently of each other. Whether it is simply from watering your lawn or to a nation balancing an electrical grid, by offering a secure protocol with data refining infrastructure, humans, machines, and connected devices can work together to make better societies.
- Part 1 — So What is The Internet of Things?
- Part II — The Internet of Things and the Solution to Centralization…
- Part III — Does the Internet of Things Need To Be Fee’less? Does The Internet of Things Need to Be Open Source?
- Part IV — The Qubic Project!
- Part V — But What About the Computational Resource? The Natural Gas to Oil in the Digital Realm!
- Part VI — Artificial Intelligence & AiGarth
- Part VII — Living on the Edge! Jinn, The Last Puzzle Piece. When It All Comes Together, What Does It Make?