This post is related to the post about Australian bushfires. It dives deeper into the possibilities IOTA offers regarding solutions mentioned there. Over time we’ll develop this into a usecase that can explored in a hackathon.[This post only contains some basic ideas on how to use IOTA, but does not go into the details of how to build it. It would require much more research in order to better specify the problem, and define what a successful solution would achieve.]
The basic idea here is that we use natural mechanisms to capture CO2, balance water supply, and manage grassland, but use (autonomous) robots to manage these processes. One of the main reasons robots are essential is the absence of predators in many ecosystems1.
The role a distributed ledger like IOTA could play
IOTA is a feeless microtransactions and data integrity protocol, designed for the future of the Internet of Things. It is decentralized in order to allow it to scale beyond what centralized organizations can do. On top of its function as a ledger, several additional technologies and standards are being developed to help kickstart a machine economy.
Instruct and pay machines
Machines need to know where the fenceposts should be moved next. IOTA’s data capability can reliably transmit messages to the machines in the field. Vice versa the machines can transmit data about the environment back to us, for processing and monitoring. When machines become capable of (near-) fully autonomous behavior, they can be paid for their services with IOTA’s micro-transactions. The machine can use this money to buy energy, information, spare parts/repairs, or internet connection.
Connect machines and sensors without relying on ISP’s
In many rural areas the internet connection is subpar. Not to think of truly remote areas far away from civilization. I’m not a big fan of satellite internet, because without regulation it is going to be the next ecosystem we pollute, only this time the space trash is an even bigger problem for civilization2
Instead, all these machines and sensors could create a mesh infrastructure for data. An existing example on IOTA is Fognet, a peer-to-peer internet router system on Bluetooth. But LoRa, NB-IoT, or Sigfox might just as well be used. IOTA could be used to provide an incentive for these machines to participate in this mesh, without the need for contracts or any centralized agreement. Machines just pay and are paid for connection using the hardware they already carry with them.
Decentralized data markets
Making this concept into a decentralized system is not an easy task. A normal approach would be to legislate and subsidize, in order to make all participants comply with the intended outcome. However, such rules and incentives are prone to trigger corruption and fraud. We’re currently developing an idea around the availability economy, which could potentially work here too. A decentralized data market would be a prerequisite for this idea, because it allows all participants to independently and reliably base their decisions on the same data.
Analysis data for grazing patterns
Data analysis can be done in huge server farms far from the grazing grounds. But in the future, sending data that far away might not be possible3 , or even needed. IOTA’s Qubic is a technology to outsource computing that is too heavy for a machine to do by itself. But instead of relying on a service like Amazon Web Services, Qubic utilizes excess computing capacity from idling computers closer by. IOTA in this case provides data transmission and micro-transactions for services rendered.
Contribute to this idea
Many details regarding the automation of this solution still need to figuring out, but this is a working solution that is in both our ecological and economic interest. If you have feedback or want to share your ideas regarding this idea, just leave your comment. We’d be happy to add your input to the post.
If you want to develop this as part of a hackathon, please contact us directly. We11 would love to support you, and possibly be part of your team.