How Streamr Labs will help make a real-time decentralised data economy a reality

How Streamr Labs will help make a real-time decentralised data economy a reality

If you watched Transmission #4 a few days ago, you’ll know Streamr’s CEO, Henri Pihkala just announced the establishment of Streamr Labs. He revealed that the labs will act as a separate R&D unit within the Streamr project. Streamr Lab’s goal is simple: To help organisations and projects, especially those who share our own open source values, make the very best out of the countless amazing possibilities Streamr’s technologies provide. Henri also revealed that I’ll have the pleasure of heading up the Labs project. So, before I tell you more about our mission over the next few years, let me start by sharing more about myself, Michael Malka.

I’ve been working with software for around 20 years. I started my career as a developer before becoming a solutions architect, and eventually running my own company. I’ve also worked a lot with real-time data — especially financial data. So taking on the Labs is something I’m really looking forward to. I think decentralisation and blockchain technologies create huge possibilities when it comes to distributing data. What’s more, designing and innovating for radically different new commercial and noncommercial models, within the data economy, is a challenge that I relish.

How does Streamr Labs fit in with the overall vision?

Streamr’s vision is to provide decentralised real-time data transfer and monetisation infrastructure that’s blockchain connected. Part of that — and Streamr’s main focus for this year — means building a blockchain enabled real-time Data Marketplace. This will be a space where parties around the world can buy and sell the live information they need. We hope that building our Marketplace will also demonstrate to the world how these technologies can create completely data driven ecosystems through, for example, machine-to-machine connections.

After the Marketplace is built, Streamr’s core devs will then focus on building our decentralised network which will serve as the underlying infrastructure supporting those decentralised data driven applications.

What Streamr needs now, more than ever, is to furnish the needs of its potential partners. At one end of the spectrum that means US and European Blue Chips. At the other end of the spectrum, we’re getting calls from fast moving innovative projects in say, Southeast Asia, which number just a few people. Happily, you’ll start to hear about these partnerships, both big and small, in the next month or so, as Letters of Intent and full partnerships agreements get signed. As Henri said in Transmission #4, we’re not short on bold ideas. What Streamr has been missing in these last few months is an ability to execute those ideas and turn them into something tangible.

So how does Streamr Labs help with this?

Given the name, you’d also expect us to be doing R&D. And you’d be right. The sort of research we’ll be undertaking falls into three broad categories. The first is helping to develop use case models. This involves demonstrating to companies, and to the rest of the world, what our tech can do and what it will do for them. The second is working on sensor technology. This will mean finding new and innovative ways to better integrate sensor systems and the information they produce into Streamr’s own nascent Network and Marketplace. The third is to undertake research to try and get ahead of the problems that our developers will face in building a decentralised real-time data network. Building this network, as envisioned in our whitepaper, is no easy task. Anything we can do in the Labs to smooth the way will be a big win for everyone.

Streamr Labs will help with onboarding too

But Streamr Labs isn’t all about innovation and long term R&D in the classic sense. We also know that many companies interested in retailing their data on the Marketplace need help integrating their information onto our platform. So, for the next six months to a year, the Labs will also be focused on working with potential Marketplace partners on two things. Firstly, we’ll be engaging in technical onboarding, such as data integration, smart contract programming and visualisations. Secondly, we’ll work on the business side of collaboration. This will include joint promotions, product pricing models, terms of use, details for smart contracting, and drafting letters of intent.

Over the next few months, I’ll be regularly posting here to keep the community and partners up to date on what we’re achieving with our innovative projects. Even though it’s only four months since our crowdfunding ended, we’re already have some really interesting use cases coming.

And finally, our doors are always open to the wider community. If you have data that you are already selling, come talk to us and we will help you integrate it. If you have data that you think has value but are unsure how to monetize it, we can help you find new angles for that, too. And if you have an idea for how to make a new disruptive business model in the data economy we can support you in that work. That’s the Streamr Labs mission, and we can’t wait to get started!

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