The world today is on the verge of a new wave of digital innovation: Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies, Internet of Things, Industry 4.0, Artificial Intelligence, etc - are all valid technological breakthroughs that will become commonplace in the coming years.
As this new digital world is becoming increasingly more complex, it also becomes more fragmented. New content is produced, companies are starting up, services are created, technologies are invented… Meanwhile, the old paper-based world is just not catching up to it all, still being pulled back by a long paper trails and stretches of incompatible IT landscapes. The technological progress is speeding up and it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep up with it.
Aggregion is developing a solution that will introduce the fundamental concept of digital objects based on the rights and rules governing their interactions. The key to understanding this concept is accepting the fact that in the near future people will no longer be able to control this new digital world manually. Not if it is to run efficiently. Digital objects - including content, systems.
Aggregion envisions the world where most, if not all, digital objects are integrated via API interfaces into the AG2 platform, the next evolutionary step in the Aggregion technology. Businesses are integrated, sales channels, IoT objects, intermediaries, individuals, content - all are added in the form of digital entities to AG2, as if another layer covering the Internet of Everything. The AG2 platform, based on blockchain and available as open-source, will allow participants to govern what these entities can and cannot do.
a verifiable and transparent record is paramount to creating trust between people and communities, improving business practices and well-being of people everywhere.
we want to ‘defragment’ the digital world and break down the barriers that hinder business relationships and efficiency.
we believe in a global community where rights and rules are king, guided by democratic mechanisms and providing decision-making capability to digital objects.
Aggregion aims to build a better, interconnected, transparent world by removing the IT barriers that hinder the business relationships, and creating a common governance framework with sets of flexible rules followed by all.
It is a very ambitious undertaking and we will need the trust and support of our partners:
Major copyright holders, industry leaders and technology manufacturerst
Investors who will believe in our cause and the Aggregion tokens
Communities that will take AG2 technology, take it apart and built new solutions with it
We have used the Aggregion platform to launch several digital licensing projects and found the potential of this platform to be very high. Most important advantage of using the Aggregion platform is the ability to create complex digital distribution scenarios and control media products through multiple ntermediaries.
We have identified three major focus areas, which are also strategic phases of implementation of our solution.
Phase 1: Digital Licensing
The copyright industries - media, software, publishing, or other intellectual property - are the primary candidates that will benefit the most from AG2. Do copyright holders know where in the world their content is? Can they search for a product and know who is using it, who bought it, who is watching, whom it belongs to and on what conditions? Do they choose the most optimal sales channels to reach the end customers with their product? Do they have convenient reporting from all their distribution chains, sales channels, types of products? In overwhelming majority of cases, they do not..
The licensing and delivery landscape of digital products is highly fragmented and in disarray. A single distribution chain is likely to use a combination of multiple legacy or in-house IT systems, business applications, distributors, sales channels… In most cases, it is not a chain, but an array of fragmented links. Establishing even a simple distribution chain from copyright holder to end customer may take months in negotiations, terms and legal conditions, setting up processes, training, conflict resolution and misunderstanding between all intermediaries. It is time and cost ineffective, and the process has to start all over with each new participant.
Phase 2: IoT Governance
If for digital licensing the concept of rights and rules is a priority, then for the Internet of Things it is absolutely critical. By definition, the IoT objects must have some inherent concept of rights and rules that governs their interaction with other IoT objects. And they do. But that network is localized and is likely to be governed by some sort of app. A smart home. A smart factory. A smart car. A smart drone. A smart hospital. But what if it’s a Smart World of Things?
Once the IoT objects attain decision-making capability - and this will happen - the role of rights and rules in respect to other entities will become paramount. There will have to be a common framework governing their interactions and what rights and permissions do they have. It is a higher concept question than simple compatibility or interoperability of IoT objects from different manufacturers through a common language or standard protocol. The framework of rights and rules must be universal, otherwise the IoT world will be fragmented and potentially prone to chaos.
Phase 3: Platform Self-Governance
The final phase of the Aggregion project is the most difficult to implement specifically because it has little to do with technology: the self-governance capabilities will be available in the platform from the first go-live. Can a platform of such complexity be truly self-governing without any central authority to make the final call? We believe so, but it will take time and trust.
By self-governance we mean that the participants - businesses, organizations, communities, industries, individuals - will carry the collectively responsibility for the mode of operation of platform, while Aggregion takes a step back and relinquishes control, while complex social governance mechanisms take over. It is an experiment that has never been conducted on this scale and this is why we put it last. The scale and power of platform as we envision it cannot belong to any single entity - it must belong to us all.
The strategic partnership with Aggregion allows Pearson to explore new distribution channels for digital content and make it available to existing markets in a new and efficient way. Ability to quickly connect new sales channels and control licensing of content in the rapidly changing world is especially important to Pearson.
The concept behind the Aggregion platform is based on 9 core assumptions:
- Any IT system can be integrated with any other IT system(s) via API interfaces
- Any digital product is essentially just data that is contained within a system
- Any system or product within that system may be identified as a Digital Object
- Digital Objects may be have certain independent decision-making capability
- This decision-making capability and interactions with other objects must be governed
- All digital objects exist within a single framework and can interact with each other
- The digital objects are identified in this framework as Digital Entities
- Digital entities are described and governed by rights, rules, and parameters
- This framework is the Aggregion platform
The goal of the Aggregion platform
Is thus to provide a common governance framework for smart-contract interaction between any digital objects - existing in the platform as digital entities - and describe their decision-making capability through rights, rules, and parameters.
The mechanics described, the core algorithms of the platform, are infinitely flexible and can be used to construct any type of business or practical scenario. Combinations of rights, rules, and parameters (see Chapter 6 for more details) can be used to describe any possible digital entity, much like the three basic subatomic particles - protons, neutrons, electrons - can be used to describe the properties of matter.
On the back-end, the platform will be based on blockchain and ensuring transparency, verifiable records and protection of data. Platform code will be released to the public as open-source in order to obtain trust of key stakeholders and involve communities of independent external developers who will verify the platform technical principles, building solutions and governance programming using the platform as foundation. Automatic machine learning/AI algorithms will be used to ensure that entities remain ‘smart’ and constantly analyzing for the most optimal and cost-effective ways to accomplish goals - within the conditions specified by rights, rules, and parameters. One of most important capabilities of AG2 is that unlike smart-contracts, the platform support tracking the right of ownership (or any other copyright) throughout any number of intermediaries - this data is written to blockchain and is easily verifiable.
Aggregion is focusing on four core products - the deliverables of the Aggregion team.
The AG2 Platform
The core blockchain platform. The infrastructure, the technology, the algorithms of relationships between right, rules, and parameters, the consensus mechanisms, tokens, etc.
The adapters will include ready interfaces to most standard solutions in a variety of industries. This will allow to quickly connect external systems to the platform.
Ready-made enterprise solutions that translate the AG2 platform logic into real life scenarios and are used by industry leaders. Developed by the Aggregion product team, portals are the UI front-end of the platform and are the result of detailed business analysis of relevant industries and their standard processes. The AG1 portal at app.aggregion.com is one of the examples.
A powerful software development kit provided to third-party developers and communities to build their own solutions using platform as foundation. Adapters for core platform services such as billing, tracking, search, reporting, machine learning, etc.
The Aggregion platform, developed with the support of Intel Corporation, allows to bring together licensed digital content from media partners and electronic devices powered by Intel technology. content is delivered to users’ devices by Aggregion and is protected with the use of Intel chips.
The Aggregion platform allows licensing of any product through any possible business and technical scenarios. Most common application is the end-to-end distribution, licensing and delivery of digital products from copyright holders, through intermediaries, sales channels and all the way to end customers. The tracking of copyright allows copyright holders to know exactly where their products are and retain control regardless the number or types of intermediaries that the license may pass through.
Digital licensing is the distribution process behind digital delivery. The diagram below represents an example of a basic scenario where media content is delivered from a cloud storage to the customer’s mobile app, while the Aggregion platform handles the licensing process through a matrix of interconnected digital entities.
The product digital entity (green circle) represents an intelligent media product with decision-making capability, described through rights, rules and parameters by its owner, the copyright holder. The product entity uses machine learning algorithms to assess business landscape of participants connected to the AG2 platform and automatically find the most optimal, cost-effective and high-value channel to the customer - within the limits specified by copyright holder. The licensing process is managed by the copyright holders and other participants through an Aggregion Portal, designed specifically for the media industry. Any necessary external systems are integrated through API interfaces.
- Any types - any type of products supported (media, software, apps, - anything that’s data)
- Tracking - the license movement between participants is a verifiable blockchain record
- Reporting - Use detailed transactional data in external analytics and reporting
- Control of product delivery from copyright holders directly to end customers
- Copyright - the platform ensures that the copyright belongs to the copyright holder regardless of how many intermediaries the license may pass on the way to end customer
- Channels - platform is able to integrate with any online or retail sales channel, opening up new opportunities to reach end customers and create business synergy
- Billing - the financial settlements between participants is calculated automatically
- Composites - products can be combined into groups to create new products, even if different types or from different copyright holders
- Machine Learning - automatic machine learning mechanisms allow products themselves to determine the most optimal sales channels to reach customers in most efficient way
- Contracts - since blockchain is fully verifiable digital record, the platform can be used as sole proof of legal contractual relationships, eliminating the need for paper contracts
- Portals - ready-made and customizable cloud portals will be available as a plug-n-play solution, designed to support most standard digital licensing processes out of the box
Some examples of participants, systems, products and industries supported by the Aggregion platform due to its flexible nature:
Or any other
Aggregion is an important Microsoft partner in the education sector. Advanced digital licensing mechanisms offered by the Aggregion platforms allow copyright holders to fully control the content as it passes through intermediaries to its target audience: schools, universities, libraries. Aggregion platform operates across multiple industries, allowing to uncover additional possibilities for education and beyond.
The Internet of Things is the future. As IoT objects increase their decision-making capability and become independent from minute human involvement, the question of a common governance framework becomes of utmost importance. How to define the rights that those digital things (objects) possess? Which rules will they follow? And how to ensure that the rules and rights landscape does not become fragmented between different protocols?
The Aggregion platform is designed specifically to manage the rights and rules that govern the interactions between digital objects (including IoT) and other digital entities. A common framework - the AG2 platform - ensures that IoT objects from different manufacturers can easily ‘talk’ to each other, as long as they are connected to the Aggregion platform. The core Aggregion mechanisms governing IoT are the same as the ones governing digital licensing, allowing to merge those two worlds to create any possible combinations.
Within the AG2 platform IoT objects are digital entities described by rights, rules and parameters. An IoT object is any physical object that is ‘smart’: has an on-board operating system that is capable of being connected to other systems (such as IoT apps). For example, a flying drone has an OS that manages its operations. The drone is controlled remotely by other devices, such as an app on a mobile phone. The app can control the drone directly. But if the drone is operating independently and must interact with the world on its own accord? It might have to adhere to traffic patterns (rules) of a smart city, negotiate with participants for pick-up and delivery of goods, process payments, assess condition and request maintenance, perform OS upgrades and patching, determine which participants may have control, and so on. The same logic applies to any other IoT object, as long as they are ‘smart’.
Or - consider the healthcare industry. The potential for use of IoT in healthcare is enormous. And for healthcare it is critical: a slight overdose in medicine administered may mean the difference between life and death. The importance of correctly following the rules is paramount. rules come first and only then - the doctors. Today many of these the rules are still not automated, paper-based, and highly prone to human error. Meanwhile, the number of medical and other devices is growing. The trend is to automate the devices and their interactions according to a set of customizable rules.
Consider transport, manufacturing, utilities, residential and consumer devices, automotive, energy, retail… and many other industries where IoT will be the dominant force of the future.
The Aggregion platform is a convenient solution for licensing management and distribution. This is an interesting, very ambitious project with high potential. The platform is flexible and appears to adapt to different business models or scenarios.
The AG2 platform, as envisioned and designed, is an ambitious solution that will bring down the IT barriers hindering synergy between organizations from a variety of industries and business models. Much like the Internet itself - a global network of interconnected computer devices - the AG2 potential will be realized when a certain critical mass of cross-industry participants is achieved. When it becomes a global network of interconnected digital objects. The more objects, products and participants become part of the platform and this new digital world, the more efficient it will be.
And this is a matter of trust and control. For major companies to trust their business operations and data to any third-party is a serious leap of faith, especially if the solution is new and innovative. Companies will often prefer to develop in-house solutions, often inferior to industry standards, just to retain control. With appearance of distributed ledgers, the trend is changing.
AG2 is a blockchain platform and as such it can and will belong to everyone. The Aggregion strategy is to obtain trust of industry leaders, credibility partners and communities. In their steps the rest will follow. The platform source code will be freely available as open-source, involving independent communities of developers and industries, analyzing and improving the solution from technical and business perspectives. The consensus model will be implemented from the first launch, involving such non-IT concepts as laws, Constitution, democracy, voting, and others. This model will take a number of years to refine and fine-tune, guided by the Aggregion foundation.
The platform itself is also a digital object. And since our mission is to enable digital objects with Decision-Making Capability and a certain level of self-governance, we are will to extend this right to the platform itself. After a certain yet to be determined time period, Aggregion will relinquish its control of the platform after proper social consensus mechanisms have been established and proved to be working without any involvement from a higher central authority. Such an experiment has never been done on a scale in the digital world and the preparation will involve top thinkers in the areas of political science, economy, social psychology and many others. The appearance of blockchain technology is just the first of many steps that we as a global society need to make to a world transparent and united, living as one. The Aggregion AG2 platform is the next step.
I am ready to state that finally there is a tool connecting the physical and the virtual worlds in the media industry. New horizons are emerging, all the way to infinity… and beyond!
Aggregion architecture is built upon three fundamental concepts: Digital Objects, Digital Entities, and Interfaces..
Are either systems of any type or products (data) of any type within those systems. The definition of digital object could be as wide as any type of data or system able to produce data. Digital objects exist outside the Aggregion platform.
Are ‘digital twins’ of digital objects. Digital entities exist only within the Aggregion platform and are described by rights, rules and parameters. In the architecture there is only one fit-all type of digital entity, but can take many forms depending on how it’s defined. The digital entities can be roughly broken down into Product Entities (such as content) or System Entities (integrated directly with another system).
Interfaces, such as API or any other protocol, are the link connecting the systems in digital objects and the digital entities within the Aggregion platform. It is assumed that the platform will support most commonly used interfaces to ensure that digital objects and entities can ‘talk’ to each other.
As in the diagram above, digital objects may be either system or product (or both). In fact there is much overlap in the terms below which is intentional in order to keep the architecture flexible.
Some important terms:
Information systems. A system, for instance, could be an OS on-board an IoT Thing, a cloud storage, a database, MacOS, an ERP, or anything else. To be part of Aggregion, systems must have external interfaces. Many systems (but not all) will have UI in order to be controlled by human participants. The Aggregion platform itself is also a system, of course (and a digital object).
Essentially, any organized data that may be subject to ownership and licensing. Product could be a video file, a patent, an app or software, any digital product, intellectual property, or anything else. A system may also be a product. Physical, non-digital objects, may also be products if they are registered in a system of some sort. Even an idea, such as a patent or intellectual property may be a product, as long as it’s a record in a system.
In a narrow sense, participants are the platform users, but in the broad sense they could be any organizational structure. Participants always have a conscious will, be it individual or collective: individuals, organizations, business functions, communities, industries, or even artificial intelligence (of certain level). Participants may also be a product if it’s, for instance, a company being sold (and a record of ownership in one or multiple systems).
Must have physical presence and be governed by a system. A basic refrigerator is not an IoT object: it’s physical, but does not have a system (but it could be a product). But if refrigerator becomes ‘smart’ and gets an onboard system that may be interfaced to other systems - then it’s an IoT object (and could still be a product). If IoT object is a robot with certain level of artificial intelligence - it could also be a participant (and also a product).
As example, in the diagram above, an organization (participant) may use a cloud storage (a system and also digital object) to sell a video (a product and also digital object) to a customer (participant) through the Aggregion platform where all of the above are digital entities.
Digital entities are:
- Defined and described fully by rights, rules and Parameters
- Any digital object: a system, a product, a participant, or an IoT object (its system)
- Able to interact between themselves within the Platform and also with digital objects through interfaces
- Even if non-conscious, still self-governing and are able to make automatic decisions depending on the rights, rules and parameters
- At the same time the object and the subject of rights, rules and parameters
- May be grouped into composite entities in any possible way
- Are digital twins of digital objects (though may also exist stand-alone if abstract concept)
Are digital twins of digital objects (though may also exist stand-alone if abstract concept)
The rights of a digital entity in relation to itself or other entities (and their rights, rules, parameters). rights are structured as:
- TYPE - the general direction of right (to permit, to prohibit, etc)
- MECHANISM - the specific action allowed (to create, to narrow, to restrain, etc)
- PARAMETERS - the descriptive values which may be modified by mechanisms
the right to permit the narrowing of the ‘price’ parameter.
Also ‘smart-contracts’. An automated IF->THEN protocol, which facilitates digital entity to take an action with accordance to its rights and parameters in relation to other entities. A rule could be set up, for instance, to transfer some part of entities rights to another entity if certain parameters are met. The rule could be virtually IF->THEN relationship involving rights, parameters, or other rules. rules are structured as:
- IF - certain conditions manifested as rights, parameters or other rules, are met,
- THEN - the entity takes a certain action as specified by the rule
Rule of licensing. If parameter “Country of sale” = “New Zealand”, then the allow the licensing of entity to customers in New Zealand.
Descriptive data fields, which may be either qualitative (eg. Type of industry) or quantitative (eg. Price). Parameters is the data that is passed through interfaces between Aggregion platform and the systems (important!). Parameters can be tied to any entity, but at the same time, they exist separately, so that the same PARAMETERS may be reused by different entities, ensuring as much data consistency and consolidation as possible.
Some (not all!) examples of the rights, parameters and rules compared in a table:
|Type||Mechanism||Qualitative or quantitative data field||Conditions
IF -> THEN
|And so on…|
Also - ‘groups’. The concept of grouping is vital to functioning of the Platform. The ability to combine entities, rights, rules and parameters into groups of any kind or any size is what allows the Aggregion platform to function on any scale. Groups are de-facto digital entities and are also defined by rights, rules and parameters.
Using the drone example from above, we can say that a single drone may be grouped into a fleet of delivery drones, which rights and rules might be different from those of a single drone. Individual parameters (of which there may be hundreds or even thousands) are meant to be grouped. For instance, a group of parameters responsible for operation of the drone (flying, fuel, control, etc). Another group would be responsible for traffic governance within a city. And so on.
Parameters may (and should) be composite as any single parameter is not likely to be sufficient to describe an entity. The same with rules. Many rules, on a higher level may be combined into laws which govern an industry, for instance. The possibilities of composite entities are unlimited.
Again: any entities, rights, rules or parameters may be combined to create composite entities, rights, rules or parameters in any way or form. The only exception: combinations must take place within their types (a rule and an entity cannot be combined).
Federal Institute of Industrial Property
It was very interesting to discover the Aggregion platform and its’ possible applications in the patent industry. I believe that the Aggregion platform has very valuable features allowing patent owners to license, track and control the use of their patents in manufacturing.