Since speculation plays such a big role in the crypto space, good projects that offer real value can remain under the radar for longer than they should. PeerOS is such a project.
Sometimes the real reward of participating in a hackathon is not the prize itself but the idea which is born during the competition. This was true for Jan-Frederic Graen and his team, who did not win the Osnahack in June 2019 (the German city of Osnabrück’s hackathon), but came up with a great use case for the technology around IOTA which gave birth to a startup called PeerOS.
Current problems facing the energy sector
- Troves of data can be gathered, but can’t be processed due to either lacking security or efficiency.
- Even new power meters (as demanded by German law) do not offer intelligent communication with regard to smart cities.
- End-to-end encryption in IoT is a must, but still a dream.
Jan-Frederic’s PeerOS-team is using IOTA’s technology not only for connecting human beings, machines and, processes, but also for making cities smarter and industries more efficient while keeping the data safe.
We recently had the pleasure of chatting with Jan-Frederic about PeerOS:
Question 1: What is your vision for PeerOS?
Jan-Frederic: “We want to revolutionize data transfers and safety by using IOTA. Our vision is that everybody who produces data should be the owner of his data, and not any provider. The owner should have the opportunity to decide with whom he wants to share his data. We want to break the current data exchange processes and we want to develop a secure environment for everybody’s personal data. We are working on solutions for end customers and industries.
Question 2: Why did you choose IOTA?
Jan-Frederic: “Open source, scale-able, and very good community where you can find the answers you need. And of course the best network to interact with other industries and people. Just need to say the people working at IOTA have a vision and it is inspiring to work with them! Thanks to Holger, Lewis and all of them
Question 3: How do your partners react when you tell them about your vision/IOTA?
Jan-Frederic: “Lots of our partners haven’t even heard about IOTA. In the beginning we tried to focus on the technology and explain it in detail. Mostly they didn’t understand the key facts. So we decided to transport the vision on business use cases in very easy examples. That’s the way you get them to open their eyes, and they say – what a cool stuff, how can we participate. The focus is the use-case. For those who are interested in the the technology, we explain it.”
The technical solution
The idea is to utilize a special piece of hardware based on the STM32 microcontroller (you may recall the partnership between IOTA Foundation and STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader). When attached to a radiator, it will let the user create an individual private key which is then encrypted on the spot.
Using LoRaWAN (whose range is somewhere between 5-15 kilometers (!)), the data is sent to a gateway, and from there to the application server. From here, the data is sent to IOTA’s Tangle where it is immutably stored; the progressive web app can read the data from the Tangle and make it accessible to the end-user. Alternatively, data can also be sent through 6IoWPAN, NB-IoT, UMTS or LTE.
Thus, the energy supply company can rely on primary data and no longer needs middle men to bill its customers.
What about the limitations of LoRaWAN? Old radiators?
LoRaWAn has a far greater reach compared to ordinary WiFi. Furthermore, its low energy-consumption is perfect for IoT-devices. However, the data rate is low, resulting in a comparatively poor bandwidth. PeerOS cuts the data packages into small pieces, sends these pieces over the network, and ultimately these pieces are put together again – so LoRaWAN is not an obstacle with this workaround in place.
The team has also come up with a hardware-upgrade kit which can be installed on old radiators to let them “talk” to the network.
What’s the project’s current status?
PeerOS is working closely with the city of Osnabrück, especially the local energy supplier SWO including its own innovation lab, in order to come up with a Proof-of-Concept (PoC). There are also lots of bigger players involved (academia and business) which help to connect the team with other companies which are interested in and helpful for the project.
Hardware kits are produced on a single-unit-stage at the moment, so mass production is still a ways away. However, they have already received very positive signals from various authorities, universities and companies – all of which would not invest their time and money if it was just hot air, of course.
What’s the vision?
The energy sector is just the first building block of a huge possible market, because you could use the technology for everything related to the smart city concept:
Moreover, they are envisioning a future in which you could use IOTA as the base layer for OSCoin, a currency similar to loyalty programs: for instance, you could sell your solar panel sensor data to the city which in turn pays you tokens which you could use for free bus rides or car sharing.
Check out our video for a more conversational take on PeerOS:
PeerOS not only has a great vision, but they have already come up with a working solution which runs on IOTA’s main net. Although mass production is still a future goal, they have great partners who are eager to make the team’s vision reality simply because it would result in a win-win for everyone involved.
We wish this committed team all the best and success for their endeavour!
For more information: