In the coming years, the number of devices connected to the internet will be in billions. Majority of the devices will be designed with the Internet of Things (IoT) capabilities. These devices will be equipped with sensors to gather useful data. This data could be sold in real-time, but in right hands, it could present a real opportunity. Currently, information is confined to proprietary and centralized systems, and its insights are inaccessible to the broader world. Companies are starting to realize the value of real-time data with the rise of social media and IoT. Smart cities, smart homes, and autonomous cars will collect minute localized information about humans.
Data sharing needs a scalable publish/subscribe decentralized messaging system for everyone to use. For example, in an instant messaging (IM) app, the text sent by one person is received by either one person or a group of people. Data sharing needs a similar platform. The system would need one-to-many conversations, many-to-many, and private models but data will be shared instead of texts. Data distribution in real-time for IM or online games is tough because either they have to create an infrastructure or rely on centralized cloud services. Building infrastructure is expensive, and the unique closed network is hard to maintain.
The centralized approach to data distribution can place the data in the hands of vast and unaccountable companies. The internet needs a platform or a protocol where everyone is free to publish data, and authorized parties can subscribe to it. However, it requires a marketplace to manage millions of financial transactions. The open and free data economy has to be distributed or with scalable infrastructure that is available globally. It has to be open to all with open-source code but protecting data and participants from fraud.
There are technologies present in the market that could provide an open, protected, distributed, and scalable platform. The biggest challenge will be pooling them and using them as a coherent and robust data management protocol. Peer-to-peer network provides an excellent foundation for the real-time exchange of information. A data-sharing system built on open-source libraries with end-to-end encryption for safety and security could be feasible. The blockchain is also a viable option to ensure value settlement, identity, and permission control. However, blockchain is limited by technology, but an incentive mechanism can be enabled.