Pavol Magic is the CEO of Biotron Foundation, where he works to give users control over data they create. Previously, he worked for Sygic where he turned data into products for millions of users and hundreds of companies worldwide. In the past he was chairman of the Supervisory Board of AIESEC Slovakia, co-founded and chaired Association of Digital Marketing Agencies in Slovakia, and did public relations (PR) at SEESAME for clients from numerous industries, such as Dell, Motorola, Siemens,Heineken, Henkel, and others. In his free time he likes to enjoy good food, wine, and music with friends and family.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Who is the team behind Biotron?
The idea of Biotron was created by Peter Dendis (CMO) and Martin Smolka (COO), former Decent executives. Later they onboarded the whole team and asked me to be the CEO, since I spent the last three years developing data products and monetizing them at Sygic, leading location based services company with millions of users worldwide.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Could you please explain how Biotron’s technology works?
PAVOL MAGIC: At the heart of Biotron is the core, which is able to receive and process different datasets from users in near-realtime. This will enable us to create modules for specific applications. First one is the location intelligence, with transport intelligence, and others to follow soon. Blockchain is used as a supporting technology for microtransactions, as we’ll be sharing the generated revenue with users who provide us with their datasets.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: Who is your main customer?
PAVOL MAGIC: In the first phase we’ll be focusing on brands in Western Europe and in the US. Location intelligence can be used by a broad spectrum of companies e.g. in retail. Secondary product will be user profiles, which can be used in programmatic, by hedge funds, and many more.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What are the main challenges for organizations in monetizing data?
There is a couple of problems when dealing with user data. First one that come to mind are transparency and privacy. At the moment the market is flooded with different datasets that are being licensed by data resellers and brokers, which is potentially a huge legal issue, since users who created these datasets don’t really know what’s happening with them and have very little control over the whole flow.
On the other hand it’s accuracy. When creating data products you usually have to employ a bunch of algorithms for predicting the behavior, user profiles, etc. If you don’t have the ground truth or a good training dataset, you might end up with low quality products. This is the case now, as most of the datasets on the market have accuracy around 50 to 60 %. That means the clients are flushing half of their budgets down the toilet.
Biotron actually aims to solve all these issues by giving users the power to control which datasets go where. They will also be able to provide ground truth data by manually inputting them in our apps. The value for the user thus will be both direct – through getting shares of the revenue Biotron creates – and indirect – innovation their datasets will enable. Clients will benefit from much higher quality, while still being privacy compliant and transparent.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: What can blockchain do for big data?
Currently there’s a very strong notion of privacy and transparency. Blockchain is a technology that can provide exactly that. For the future it will really depend on the developments of the technology itself. I think that right now it’s too soon to tell, as blockchain is still around the peak of it’s hype and still pretty far from being broadly adopted.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: The EU General Data Protection Regulation is coming, how will it affect companies that monetize data?
There are some legal obligations that will have to be met. But as we’ve seen in the past, there are always ways how to go around that. That’s why we created Biotron, so users can proactively share their data if they want. In the long term this will render a lot of current data companies and parts of GDPR obsolete, while still enabling innovation based on the availability of data the users create.
BLOCK TRIBUNE: How do you see the industry changing in the next few years?
One of the most important things is to break the data silos created by big companies like Alphabet, Facebook, or Apple. They poses tremendous amounts of information and are actually blocking innovation, because they obviously only use it to power their core products. Although there are some exceptions, data should be available more broadly. I believe that Biotron will help do this as well.
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