4 Situations Where Proof of Location can Cause Huge Savings in Cost, Labor, and Time

proof of location

If you want to find an object’s location or even a specific location on a map, your only option is to use a centralized tracking system like GPS. And while these centralized systems have worked for a while now, there are still some problems that need to be addressed, problems that the blockchain and Proof of Location can easily solve!

Can the blockchain provide authoritative Proof of Location in ways that GPS cannot, with its transparent ledger built on the basis of distributed trust?

Here, we provide four instances on how the decentralized ledger can both provide accurate location information and innovate existing industries, as well as the company that is leading the charge as one of the most renowned actors in this field; XYO Network.

Global Trust in the Offline World

GPSEnterprising entrepreneurs are looking at how we can use blockchain technology for transmitting real-time geo-spatial information. Our standard Global Positioning System (GPS) is filtered through a centralized device, and the problem with this is that bad actors can easily spoof GPS signals to provide false information. However, we can discourage this kind of behavior in a trustless ecosystem.

GPS is made up of two layers:

  • The Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network, which is achieved by 24 satellites that use microwave signals to help us to triangulate exactly where something is.
  • GNSS signals are transmitted to GPS devices to provide information on location, vehicle speed, time, and direction. In fact, GPS can be used to provide the exact location of anything on our globe.

GPS systems operate in vehicles, on mobile phones, or on special GPS devices, which can either be a fixed or portable unit.

The point is that GPS data gets transmitted to us through some centralized foci, like, Google or Strava.

In centralized systems, bad actors can easily spoof GPS signals to provide false information Click To Tweet

Over the years,  people have been able to get into the GPS system and spoof it, giving us fraudulent results. For instance, back in 2012, University of Texas students were able to spoof GPS technology to force a military drone to land. “That technology,” says crypto blogger YoungUpstarts, “is now easy enough for your neighbor’s twelve-year-old to tamper with in order to level up his Snorlax on Pokemon Go.”

The decentralized blockchain can resolve this very problem by not only providing accurate location information but by giving us a moment-by-moment real time tracking system that is 100% authoritative.

How can the Blockchain Eliminate Bad Actors who Abuse the System

The technological innovation can affect a wide range of industries in nuanced ways. Customers, for instance, are more likely to receive their shipments and companies like Amazon are less likely to lose money over misplaced purchases. Hospitals can track patient care and provide more accurate patient data. Assaults can be decreased since law enforcement authorities would be able to follow movement of firearms.  

At the end of the day, the benefits can vary from huge savings in cost, labor, and time to fewer deaths and malpractice cases.

Pay-on-Delivery eCommerce system

ecommerceScam companies can interfere with your deliveries, pocketing your cash and not delivering your packages. Here’s where a blockchain tracking system comes in handy. The blockchain uses a location-device that tracks your package every step of the way, starting at the fulfillment center and ending with the package’s secure delivery at the customer’s home. You pay only at delivery. The blockchain puts a smart contract into effect that spells out the deal, and the company only profits when it hands you the package if and when you pay (that is a clause in the smart contract). You’re not cheated of your money because you only pay for the item once it is in your hands. In this way, both the company and you cannot be deceived by bad actors.

With blockchain-tracked deliveries, you only pay for the item once it is in your hands Click To Tweet

Reducing medical errors and increasing hospital accountability

medicineMedical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, according to research done by Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, and many of these preventable deaths come from caregiver mishaps.

In a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Martin Makary, surgical oncologist and chief of the Johns Hopkins Islet Transplant Center, stated,
“It is time for the country to invest in medical quality and patient safety proportional to the mortality burden it bears. This would [include] research in technology that reduces harmful and unwarranted variation in medical care.”

When patients receive a cyber tracking system (think of it as a device on a bracelet), all relevant caregiver details, like given medication, details of dose, time of medication, name of caregiver and so forth, are automatically encrypted and time-stamped on the device. This helps the medical institution track and prevent healthcare/medical mishaps and gives the faculty an accessible trove of data to patient care every step of the way. Patient mishaps can be reversed, if not prevented, and personnel with a history of mishaps can be relocated or expelled.

Blockchain tracking helps the medical institutions prevent healthcare mishaps Click To Tweet

Implementing a decentralized, universal, and transparent luggage tracking system

luggage trackingLost and mishandled luggage costed airlines $2.1 billion dollars in 2016, according to a study conducted by SITA. While systems are improving, millions of angry passengers still lose their bags each year. Baggage handling and tracking systems that are currently used by airlines are not only prone to errors but they also lack transparency and the proper infrastructure needed to track and verify the location of their passengers’ items. That’s where the blockchain comes in with its decentralized and transparent system for tracking and locating luggage. The blockchain’s decentralized nature even allows airlines to cross-chain each other’s networks without compromising airline security or without needing to coordinate system updates. So, for instance, if you’re at the United Airlines desk in Dallas, but your bag is at the Delta desk at SFO, United can locate the bag for you by cross-operable blockchain communication. If the passenger files a claim with United for irretrievable baggage, the airline can use the shared and ongoing record of the ledger to determine who carried the bag last (passenger or airline) and, subsequently, who is responsible for the loss.

The blockchain’s decentralized nature allows airlines to cross-chain each other’s networks without compromising airline security Click To Tweet

Insurers of high-value goods can reduce the risk of fraud and increase the probability of recovery

insuranceInsurance for vehicles and high-value, high-mobility objects can reimburse for theft, but they can’t get you back your original item. That’s especially problematic if its something really sentimental like a family heirloom. The insurance industry is also susceptible to fraud, especially when it comes to insured items that are highly mobile. Individuals can falsely claim for reimbursement.  In 2013, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) suggested that there are almost $3 billion of undetected fraud each year. Blockchain technology helps law enforcement recover stolen goods and track the identity of the thief by providing them with a location history of the item. At the same time, both your insurance company and you have access to that same independently verifiable location history in the event of a claim.

Blockchain technology helps law enforcement recover stolen goods and track the identity of the thief Click To Tweet

Smart Contracts for the Real World

Smart contracts are unbiased and infallible computer programs that create, perform, and enforce agreements. Unknown to most of us, smart contracts have certain problems that limit their performance.

One of these is its challenge to integrate with the real world. Smart contracts must be specifically contracted for accurate results to ensure, and the physical details must be completely accurate. For instance, if you want to deliver a box to a certain place and want the person to pay upon delivery, the smart contract must contain references to physical objects (the box) and to events in the real-world (delivery). Since the smart contract is automated, it must be possible to establish the delivery without human involvement.

Smart contracts have to be in close communication with the physical world Click To Tweet

Also, the event triggering the payment (i.e. contractual performance) must be computationally verifiable. Smart contracts, therefore, have to be in close communication with the physical world. Generally, as Mik in the Journal of Law, Innovation and Technology notes, the blockchain was designed as an insulated environment that cannot accept input from the “real world.” (That’s why we refer to it as “on-chain” rather than “off.”)

One of the blockchain organizations that breaks that barrier and extends smart contracts to real time positioning is XYO Network, chosen because the company has shown definitive results in this direction.

XYO Network

XYO networkXYO Network helps smart contracts plug into the real world by using its network’s ecosystem of devices to determine exactly where physical objects are at any specific time in any particular place. The network then proceeds to program smart contracts that execute their operations based on this authoritative real-world location data.  The trustless and transparent qualities of this shared, decentralized ledger provides authoritative Proof of Location in ways that GPS cannot.

The XYO Network works on a system of nodes that is split into four groups:

  • The first group (called the “Sentinels”) collects real-world location information.
  • Then they are passing it onto a set of nodes above them, called the Bridges.
  • This third group ‘tidies up’ the data before passing it onto a set of nodes, called Archivists, who store and catalog the information on the blockchain.
  • Finally, the fourth set of nodes, called Diviners, retrieve that stored data to answer the relevant queries.

The XYO Token (XYO) is a finite and capped utility token that smart contract developers can use to access geolocation verification from the real world. The network compares it to “gas” where the amount of the token needed depends on the complexity of the question. The more data needed, the more expensive the query and the higher the XYO gas price. The answer is given once the money (i.e., Token/ gas) is paid. This remuneration is then divided between each of the four XYO groups that contributed in supplying the answer.

Pay-on-Delivery eCommerce system

XYO deals with the problem of confirmed secure delivery, too. When a customer, say of eBay or Amazon, finalizes an order, XYO Network creates an Ethereum smart contract that releases payment to the merchant upon successful delivery of the purchased product. The XYO system gathers and stores information of the real-time location of its packages every step of its journey, starting from the shipment’s point of origin and ending with its destination. This data is archived on the ledger and accessible for retrieval when needed.

Once XYO’s network determines that the shipment has landed on the customer’s doorstep, the network triggers a smart contract that releases payment for the purchase to the company. Should there be a dispute, the ledger provides a history that either confirms package delivery or shows where it had been detoured too.

Reducing medical errors and increasing hospital accountability

We can see how XYO Network leads to better patient care with the following example:
John Doe is admitted to the emergency room and given an identification bracelet that punctiliously records all information about the care that John receives. So, for instance, when John is treated by a doctor or nurse, his ID records these interactions that are then time-stamped and recorded on the XYO ledger and available later for retrieval if and when necessary. In this way, XYO provides the perfect solution to Dr. Mackary’s petition that the country can invest “in technology that reduces harmful and unwarranted variation in medical care.”

Implementing a decentralized, universal, and transparent luggage tracking system

XYO Network records relevant data like location, temperature, motion, and other signals related to luggage. Examples include when bags were checked in, when they were moved, and what baggage handlers or TSA staff handled them. The network then sorts and stores this data on the blockchain, where airline personnel who have questions on luggage can access real-time answers once they pay the requisite XYO Token. In this way, people who want to know the whereabouts of luggage receive accurate and trustless historical data.

Insurers of high-value goods can reduce the risk of fraud and increase the possibility of recovery

XYO Network can track, timestamp, and collate the location history of valuable items on its ledger. The transparent, decentralized nature of the blockchain helps insurance companies, law enforcement, and the owner locate the items as well as the thief.  The encryptable timestamps, as well as the immutable quality of the ledger, prevents XYO’s data from being hacked or altered by unauthorized access. In this way, XYO Network prevents insurance fraud and saves money for all parties involved.

The decentralized nature of XYO Network means that the information can be independently audited and confirmed. On the whole, this makes for a much needed and publicly accountable, secure, and reliable system.

XYO Network

Here is what XYO has accomplished so far:

  • Paired with an insurance company to cover high value, high mobility goods in order to help them process claims and recover insured goods. Using XYO Network, the company and its customers have access to an independently verifiable location history in the event of a claim.
  • Working on unlocking real-time solutions in industries that include e-commerce, rental car agencies, national security agencies, and package delivery systems.
  • Has over one million devices around the globe that provide location data to the network.
  • Acquired GEO, a decentralized proof of location project to strengthen its crypto-location tech. More specifically, GEO helps XYO Network verify and easily distribute its Proof of Location on the blockchain without massive overhead.

Similar projects in development

FOAM PlatinOther blockchain startups that focus on providing accurate geospatial capabilities include Platin and FOAM.

  • Platin brands itself as “a lightweight, secure, and verifiable Proof of Location (PoL) protocol on the blockchain” that works in a similar way to XYO Network.
  • Foam is another blockchain that focuses on the proof-of-location protocol with its own set of tools for bringing geospatial data to blockchains. Each of these platforms have the same objectives as XYO but a different structure in place to achieve them.

Conclusion

The Internet gives us real-time positioning capabilities, called GPS, but blind trust is needed to accept the results of these centralized sources in regards to an object’s location. For the blockchain to provide an accurate GPS system, physical details on its smart contracts must be 100% accurate in order to achieve the correct results.

XYO’s smart contracts execute their operations based on authoritative real-world location data Click To Tweet

Certain blockchain companies, like XYO Network, address this problem by developing location-based technologies that connect the digital world to the real-time, physical world. XYO’s smart contracts execute their operations based on this authoritative real-world location data.  The trustless and decentralized qualities of the ledger not only provides more authoritative data than our standard GPS system does but it also disrupts many industries for the better.

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