SelectShare seeks to promote the use of open standards and open software that will enhance user privacy, enable decentralization, and increase interoperability. Find out more in this interview with Nikos Fotiou.
Can you briefly introduce yourself and your team?
I am postdoc researcher at the Athens University of Economics and Business (AUEB). AUEB coordinates the project through the Mobile Multimedia Laboratory (MMlab). Two Greek SMEs that are active in the smart energy domain, DomX and Plegma, complete the consortium. Our project team is composed of 14 members with complementary skills. SelectShare’s team combines a strong track record of scientific research related to our project’s technology, as well as significant business experience accumulated through large scale deployments of systems related to our project.
What is your motivation to work in the data portability field?
The team seeks to promote the use of open standards and open software that will enhance user privacy, will enable decentralization, and will increase interoperability. AUEB’s main goal is to affect and motivate ongoing standardization efforts in the domains of the Web of Things (WoT) and Self-Sovereign Identification (SSI). The main goal of Plegma and DomX is to enhance their existing Internet of Things (IoT) products and services in the smart energy field by integrating the project outcomes, improving their interoperability, and expanding their customer reach by allowing the use of IoT data across different applications and products.
In simple words, what challenges does your project address?
Although the IoT is expected to generate vast amounts of data, the potentials of these data are limited by security and privacy concerns, as well as by the lack of interoperability. Nevertheless, these data can be valuable for other stakeholders that can collect and analyse them to provide “over the top” services. In order to achieve that, several challenges have to be overcome:
a) a uniform and standardized way for advertising/discovering, requesting, and transmitting data should be in place,
b) sensitive information should be stripped from the shared data without violating data integrity and provenance,
c) an efficient, usable mechanism for expressing and enforcing fine grained access control policies should be available,
d) data access rights should be expressed in a rich and verifiable manner. In addition to overcoming these challenges, proposed solutions should encourage interoperability and prevent vendor “lock-in”.
What solution are you developing?
The project develops a framework for allowing discovery and selective disclosure of IoT data without violating their integrity. Additionally, it provides a user-friendly, intuitive mechanism allowing efficient, fine-grained access control over the shared data. The project leverages recent advances in the areas of Self-Sovereign Identities, Verifiable Credentials, and Zero-Knowledge Proofs, and it integrates them in a platform that combines the industry-standard authentication and authorization framework OAuth 2.0 and the Web of Things specifications. This is one of the first efforts that use these technologies in the context of the IoT. For this reason, we believe that our project’s impact will extend beyond the main use case of smart energy data.
What are the next steps?
The team will further work on the business aspects of the project. We will investigate the benefits of the entities that share their data, as well as the offerings enabled by our SelectShare paltform. This will help us improve our business plan. Additionally, the team has identified several use cases that have significant socio-economic impact and where SelectShare’s technologies can be used. Finally, personally, I’m excited about another big step in my career; with two project colleagues and AUEB/MMlab faculty we co-founded a spin-off, ExcID (https://excid.io), to commercialize and exploit our technology and know-how in related areas, potentially including SelectShare outcomes.