In the world of logistics today, businesses irrespective of their size, are looking to leverage data streams coming from their operations to improve their overall efficiency and gain visibility into their supply chains. “Dataism” as it is called, is a concept that stresses the increasing relevance of data as technology evolves further, and that data, when shared, benefits the world more than when data is worked on in silos.
Then again, it is also critical to create boundaries around data ownership. Moreover, there are many concerns surrounding privacy. “You see this evolution from companies like Google, Amazon or Facebook holding your data and the privacy issues that come with them trying to protect your data, while giving you the right to hold and share the data with the world when you please. This is important in the context of the world of today and tomorrow, where data is becoming more relevant,” said Markus Levin, co-founder and head of operations at XYO, a crypto-network that anonymously collects and validates geospatial data.
Levin contended that dataism had far-reaching consequences in the freight industry, pointing to the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors on trucks that record fertile amounts of data now – reinforcing the need for both data security and data validity.
“We call it the truth in data, and a part of what we do at XYO is to tell you if data is true and correct. Let’s say you use a traditional GPS on the truck and thus you aren’t sure if the truck is actually in the said location, or if the temperature within the truck is not above 40 degrees. With our technology, you can verify the data, and we wrap the data in a cryptographically secure way, so that it can’t be tampered,” said Levin.
Levin stressed the need to address data security as IoT devices inherently carry a weak defensive firewall that can be breached by dedicated hackers. Using decentralized ledgers can secure data and every record that passes through the value chain and increase trustability in the system.
“Replace trucks with companies like Uber or Lyft, where the system runs based on several ratings and metrics, which helps in understanding driver behavior and traffic flow. We need to make sure our data is attached to the supply chain,” said Levin.
For instance, let’s consider an ice cream load that is making its way from the creamery to the warehouse. Temperature conditions inside and outside the truck can be monitored by sensors placed on the vehicle, and this data can be recorded.
However, it is equally essential to make sure the database is secure and is not subjected to data falsification by hackers who may alter diverging values. Pushing data to the cloud and storing it in an immutable ledger powered by a decentralized network is essentially a two-act play.
“For brokerages, technology like XYO can help them say with a high degree of certainty that a load is at a specific place. So when a trucker is driving with the load and takes breaks at truck stops, the broker will get to know all that, as we will have our nodes there, more like a checkpoint,” said Levin. “And we can attach this data to other data streams, like how the load is handled, on-time delivery, driver reputation levels and even create a star rating system like in Uber.”
Then again, many companies in the freight industry still rely heavily on paper-based operational workflow, leading to a dearth of historical data. Levin explained that XYO could help companies better understand data that is actually of use, set up systems that make data easily mineable, and assist companies to have custody over their data.
“Data is not just what you read and put in Excel sheets. There are so many data streams even with small logistics companies that when analyzed, can help them gain insights that get them opportunities in the market pretty easily,” said Levin.