The mesh is coming, sooner than you might think. The mesh will be a ubiquitous network of interconnected devices that will decentralize our world and change the way that we do business. All of our devices will connect to the mesh and become part of the mesh. The mesh will radically change the way we connect to each other, manage our information, trust others and manage our own reputation, and engage in contracts. Let’s explore what this will mean for us.
First we will have increasing control over how our information is stored and managed. Instead of hosting through a traditional cloud provider, our information will be distributed throughout the mesh with strong encryption using keys that are distributed across our devices. There will be no central authority who administers and controls our data for us. We will instead implement our own policies for management, retention and access to our information.
These distributed clouds will organize our information in encrypted “chunks” that are dispersed throughout the mesh. These “chunks” will be assembled for us when we access our information, and encrypted and disassembled when we update or create new information. The result is that there is no one place where our information can be compromised or hacked, resulting in both improved security and privacy.
Business and personal information will be intermingled on our devices, but will be managed separately in separate, distributed clouds. This will enable us to securely manage business information on any device without compromising the personal information or privacy of employees and business partners.
We will transact business in the mesh based on Trust and Reputations. We currently live in a centralized society where trust is associated with authority in the form of governments and large corporate entities. The decentralized nature of the Mesh will enable us to establish trust with unknown parties based on their online reputation.
We will actively manage our own online reputation through social media outlets, online marketplaces and industry consortiums. We will learn to locate clients, workers and business partners in the mesh, and establish trust relationships with them through their reputations.
The underlying technology that enables these trust relationships to form is the Blockchain. Blockchain is a shared, trusted, public ledger that is currently used to manage Bitcoin. Everyone can inspect a Blockchain but no one person can control it. It can only be amended according to strict rules and by general agreement. Blockchain will become the default technology across platforms used for transactions and social interactions, and will enable us to establish trust with people we have never met. Blockchain will also be used to create tamper-proof databases to establish ownership of valuable resources.
We will transact our business through “Smart Contracts”. For each contract, we will choose the legal framework and currency that make sense, based on the nature of the contract and the locations where we interact. In choosing the legal framework, we will jointly agree on the laws that will bind the contract, the adjudicator who will arbitrate disputes, and the nature of enforcement that will be used. Smart contracts will utilize private, blockchain-based ledgers that eliminate the need for centralized institutions and bureaucracies, such as banks, clearing houses and government authorities to manage our transactions.
How can you get ready to do business in the mesh and this future world?
- Start now to establish and manage your online reputation. There are tools and techniques available today in Social Media platforms and online marketplaces.
- Plan to take control of your information. Establish policies for how you want to manage, retain and grant access to information. Establish a plan and timeframe to pull your information from traditional clouds. You don’t need to pull the plug on the cloud today but you’ll eventually want to make the tradeoff of convenience vs. the freedom and control of managing the information yourself.
- Work towards encryption of all of your information everywhere it flows. This includes all devices that can access your information and all business partners
Find a technology partner that can provide you with a Vision and develop a plan to help you get there before your competitors.