XYO Network, a blockchain-based geographic information system (GIS) with an Ethereum token and its own blockchain network, announced today a partnership with Esri, one of the world’s oldest and largest GIS systems and mapmakers, a company founded in 1969.
The partnership came about when XYO hired a former Esri employee and the partnership became an obvious move. Esri wants to be able to access the data that the XYO Network is creating for its clients, and XYO network wants to have access to those clients.
Esri owns ArcGIS, a premier enterprise-level map-providing product, and this is the product that will be utilizing the XYO Network. It currently services more than 350,000 organizations. From the press release on the subject:
The collaboration opens the possibility for ArcGIS users to enable increasingly important capabilities such as tracking cars in emerging “smart cities,” clarifying the often-dramatic geographic changes based on natural or man-made disasters, and many other location-based applications and scenarios.
The advent of GPS and location-based services has brought with it several inevitable realities along with potential improvements. One inevitability is people’s propensity for scamming.
During a conversation with Markus Levin, co-founder of XYO Networks, he mentioned how people have repeatedly been able to scam rare Pokemon in the Pokemon Go game, and how the technologies his firm are working on would make such activity impossible. The inevitability is that any time people are able to act dishonestly, they will. Blockchain knows this and provides a number of ways to disincentivize or disable dishonesty in certain types of transactions.
One potential improvement is the notion of people being able to prove what they say. Local businesses can be made or broken through the use of online review systems like Yelp!, and there’s virtually no way to be sure, with standard GPS technology, whether or not the reviewers actually ever visited the restaurant they’re lambasting. Competition can hire reviewers to lie, for instance, or they can be motivated by some other anti-social element. But with XYO’s technology, reviewers could be forced to legitimize their claims by proving they were at this or that location at a given time, and other proof can attribute to them having given a useful review. Levin says that as much as 60% of all online reviews today are useless.
These are just two situations where the XYO Network’s Geographic Information System technology can be used. Levin told us that they’ve really developed a platform and a network where many types of participants can be at play, and using the XYO token, services and businesses that need the data can access it. Additionally, XYO’s GIS data can be useful in areas where there is no GPS ability, like underground or population-dense locations, or locations that have a lot of buildings. “We create an audit trail of the data which we then can follow,” he says.
Verifiable location data is big business. As Levin pointed out, if you look back 10 or 15 years when GPS first started being used in phones, it was really only used for maps and navigation. “No one was thinking about things like Uber back then,” he said.
Now, most apps a user installs have some need for GPS location data, but the location can be easily spoofed and modified using consumer-grade applications, and this can be dangerous in applications like self-driving cars or even delivery services. Logistics firms and delivery companies can benefit, while companies which currently use GPS could use verified data to improve their services. Levin also mentioned that ecological groups can build environmental models based on such data.
The partnership with Esri is big because the firm remains one of the main places that any enterprise goes to when it has spacial analytics needs. Emerging Technology Practice Lead at Esri, Kevin Bolger, said in the press release:
In the mapping and spatial analytics space, determining relative location of objects, and particularly those in motion, is important, and we have the opportunity to pair that ability and blockchain technology as a significant next step for the industry as a whole.
The applications of the XYO platform are open-ended. The services provided by it are myriad, with a number of possibilities for start-ups to partake, including technical roles within the network such as verifying data and serving it. XYO tokens are required to use the platform, which is what creates demand for the token. At time of writing the token had a circulating supply of more than 5.5 billion, a per token price of around .003 USD, and a resulting total market capitalization of more than $20 million. The high supply and low value is somewhat intentional – the token will be used frequently in order to access data, and it cannot be competitive if the built-in costs are high because the price of the tokens is too high.
CCN has been informed that the partnership with Esri is just one of many in relation to XYO over the coming months and years, with more exciting partnerships and announcements on deck.
Featured image from Shutterstock.