Tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Wilfried Pimenta de Miranda. I’m based in Oslo and I have worked at the IOTA Foundation since 2017 as Business Development Director. This is an exciting shift in focus from my original mission in the energy sector.
Upon completion of my university studies in France, I participated in a student exchange program at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, Norway.
After graduation, I started as an R&D and project engineer in the offshore and energy industry. From there, I progressed into strategy, business development and innovation for the renewables and infrastructure development industry. In this capacity, I worked with both large established players and startup ventures.
In 2016, I launched my own initiative through Alpha Venturi AS to explore and launch new ventures, leveraging transformative technologies such as IoT and blockchain. It is through this work that I had the opportunity to get to know the IOTA Foundation and I eventually joined the project full-time in 2017.
How did you get into blockchain and DLT?
I have been following the development of blockchain since 2014. I finally decided to fully transition in 2016, when the technology was beginning to be being explored for real-world applications beyond cryptocurrency use.
My original interest in distributed ledger technologies (DLT) was focused on human-centric personal data management, especially within eHealth, and the digitalization of the power sector. Back in 2016, I organized some workshops on personal data/eHealth with academics, research institutes, and the private sector. Alpha Venturi AS delivered a report on the potential of blockchain for the Norwegian Center for eHealth Research and cooperated with the Norway Health Tech cluster to bring awareness.
Despite the interest and involvement of EU commission’s DG Connect representatives at our Oslo based events, the timing was too early for Norwegian regulators and the public sector to explore the potential GDPR/ePrivacy concerns with DLT, which was then perceived as a very nascent technology.
At the IOTA Foundation, our team gradually expanded its market outreach to mobility, energy, smart cities, industrial IoT and concentrated on other regions where corporate interest was the more mature.
Today, the situation is different. The IOTA Foundation and the DLT communities are making positive progress in Norway. The research, business, and political communities in Norway are now getting more aware of the potential of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) in addressing digital trust challenges. My interest in ‘crypto’ is associated with its potential in addressing real-world industrial and societal problems in relation to the growth of the Internet of Things, automation and the new digital economy: Digital trust and new business models requiring DLT / blockchain, rather than cryptocurrencies per se.
Cybersecurity and ePrivacy challenges are growing and DLT can address some of these fundamental issues. Regarding the IoT and smart automation domains of application, new means of real-time data monetization are actually needed for a new generation of data-driven business models. This is where DLT and the IOTA Token come in handy. The IOTA Token is a powerful tool for value transfer among software, machines, and humans. It serves as an interoperability layer that supports a new type of digital infrastructure.
Conventional public blockchains face intrinsic challenges of scalability, prohibitive fees for many business models, and high resource/energy consumption so something different was needed.
I believe the IOTA Foundation’s open-source technology delivers the functionality needed to bridge the gaps and become a standard protocol for the IoT.
What is your relationship with the IOTA Foundation?
I got to know David Sønstebø and Dominik Schiener, two of the IOTA Foundation founders, in 2016. I started to explore IOTA’s alternative approach to blockchain and its vast potential across verticals. In 2017, I joined the project and contributed to growing our engagement towards external stakeholders, which resulted in fostering a global, collaborative ecosystem. Today, the IOTA Foundation is registered in Germany as a not-for-profit foundation. Its presence and reach are global, including Norway and many other countries.
As of summer 2019, we have a staff of over 100 people in more than 25 countries. Our Business Development activity is global and cross-vertical. Our technology is open-sourced and we foster a large community of startups, corporations, academia and more which all together form the IOTA Ecosystem.
Because of the high potential for IOTA’s solutions in Norway, I dedicate a great deal of focus in Norway right now and spend an increasing amount of time growing our Norwegian ecosystem, particularly within the smart cities sector.
If you had to explain IOTA to a person that is unfamiliar with either blockchain or internet of things (IoT), how would you present it in your own words?
The Internet of Things connects IT legacy systems, connected devices to sensors and actuators which all together can now generate and share data. The IoT transforms the physical world into a giant digital information system. In order to address new challenges related to security, ePrivacy and real-time value transfer needed by new solutions and business models, the IOTA Foundation is developing a standard protocol for the IoT, in the same way, that TCP-IP is a standard protocol for the existing Internet.
With the IOTA technology, devices and machines can now reward one another for sharing data in real-time allowing monetization of data streams. Applications can be found across many industries. Here are three examples:
- Self-driving vehicles will be able to autonomously trade data streams to support seamless tolling, parking, charging and other city utilities. The recent collaboration between IOTA and Jaguar Land Rover illustrates this potential.
- Positive energy buildings will be able to sell excess distributed energy, like rooftop solar energy, to neighbor buildings, electric vehicles or batteries. IOTA will enable a new decentralized Peer-to-Peer energy market, resulting in self-sufficient city districts in terms of distributed clean energy. This is the scope of our work in Trondheim with NTNU, the City of Trondheim and other partners of cityxchange.eu
- The supply chain will become more transparent as the IOTA technology will provide a single source of truth for all parties to exchange and trace digital twins of physical goods. Middlemen and cost inefficiencies will be removed allowing huge cost and environmental savings.
If the current use case is to track and communicate from the car, isn’t there far more and bigger use cases on this particular project?
Correct. We have many smart city use cases, in different segments, under development: Energy, mobility, real estate, city digital infrastructure.
For the opening of the Powerhouse Brattørkaia on the 30th August, we demonstrated a new proof of concept related to Sustainable Energy Traceability together with ENTRA, Powerhouse, Jaguar Land Rover and ENGIE Lab CRIGEN – the research center of the French energy multinational. We will further develop this concept, link it to the positive CityxChange project and further expand in other smart city testbeds. Municipalities, real estate developers and companies with an interest in joining our ecosystem are welcome to contact me.
We recently published a new smart city report with several of our Northern European collaborations: The positive CityxChange consortium, Energinet, ENTRA, ENGIE Lab CRIGEN, Jaguar Land Rover, NTNU, Powerhouse, Sopra Steria, Trianel, Tronderenergi, and the Trondheim municipality. The report illustrates the potential to create open and transparent smart cities.
The next step for us, with the smart city stream in Norway, is to scale and aggregate our ecosystem of partners towards Norwegian city testbeds. In synergy with our citizen-centric smart city agenda, I am also focusing on e-privacy and “GDPR as an Opportunity”.
The IOTA Foundation continues to expand in other segments, including eHealth, Telco, supply chain, smart manufacturing, and more.