Dan Willis, Co-Founder and Chief Technical Officer (CTO) and Alyson Gaffney, VP Strategic Partnerships at Leonovus, a local Ottawa company focused on providing industry-leading blockchain hardened storage technology, were interviewed by Stratford Managers’ David Fraser, VP, Intellectual Property Strategy and Carlo Lombard for a recent Techopia Live episode on Monday, March 5th, 2018 at the Women in Data Science Conference at the Canadian Museum of Science and Technology.
In his role at Stratford Managers, David works with SMEs to identify and protect their IP. He asked Dan how companies like Leonovus, who are busy working on new products, find the time to focus on strategy and managing their Intellectual Property.
“It’s difficult to put that strategic time aside but if you don’t do it, you will stagnate and you will die on the vine. So we actually took a page out of Google’s book where I devote 25 per cent of my time, at least a day a week, on either IP or other things that are outside my direct focus that are more strategic thinking. We also have one of our staff members who has been hired in specifically to focus on innovation and that’s his role…focused on recognizing that’s got to be a growth area for us,” Dan said.
Techopia Live’s Carlo asked Dan to break down what blockchain is and how the company is changing from when he first founded it, to how the company has evolved to adapt to the market.
“Blockchain is a trust-less means (meaning you don’t have to trust any other third party) to exchange information in a unique and autonomic matter. It’s not just an exchange of funds, it could be an exchange of ideas, a smart contract…any transfer of data, has to have the concept of not existing in two places at the same time.
“Blockchain is a secure way – without having an intervening body like a bank or a financial lender – to process your transaction. It accelerates business all over the world: supply chain management, financial transactions, the transfer of data back and forth,” Dan said.
“We’ve actually started to apply processes on top of the blockchain – a lot of people talk about digital currency, cryptocurrency, that’s a valid application but that’s really the very thin layer of the iceberg on top. We are…applying the blockchain in our case from a security perspective. We have this great puzzle that is the data we store securely and how it’s all mapped out – we take key pieces of that puzzle and we put it securely into the blockchain. So we’re using it as the secure mechanism of transferring the data and maintaining the data,” Dan said.
Alyson distilled the use of blockchain like the use of railroad tracks but the value is what you put on the railroad tracks.
“That’s where Leonovus puts this object storage solution on the ‘railroad tracks’, so when people are thinking they have to do blockchain, they really need to ask what’s the application because the application is the business,” Alyson said.
“The demand for data is not disappearing…as a company we’re here to make sure you can get your data securely and meet all of your compliance requirements and you can do it affordably too,” Dan said.
Prior to the interview with Leonovus, Carlo interviewed a panel of speakers from the Women in Data Science Conference, including Jodie Wallis, Accenture’s Canadian Artificial Intelligence Lead, Dr. Cindy Gordon, CEO of SalesChoice and Board Member of the Ottawa-based Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, Fawn Annan, President of IT World Canada and Conference Organizer, Alyson Gaffney, who spoke about the need for more women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) if Canada wants to make a name for itself in Artificial Intelligence (AI).
To hear Leonovus’ thoughts about AI, blockchain and the future of data, jump ahead to 13:15 in the video interview via YouTube or visit the OBJ’s Techopia website for the Techopia Live Interview: Ottawa blockchain talent pipeline running dry, says Leonovus CTO.