Szymon Fiedorowicz of Smartkey: “Do not follow the opinion of others ”

Do not follow the opinion of others — The opinion of a person who is not in your shoes will not help you in the implementation of your bold vision. By all means, consult others, ask, questions; you will gain knowledge this way, but don’t listen to people telling you that it can’t be done or that […]

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Do not follow the opinion of others — The opinion of a person who is not in your shoes will not help you in the implementation of your bold vision. By all means, consult others, ask, questions; you will gain knowledge this way, but don’t listen to people telling you that it can’t be done or that you won’t be this or that. Keep going stubbornly to your goal. If it hurts, do it even harder. Only those who seek it find their way.

As a part of our series about cutting edge technological breakthroughs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Szymon Fiedorowicz.

Szymon is an IoT tech expert with vast experience in building large-scale smart grid energy management systems including hardware devices, communication channels and IoT cloud media. He has built advanced solutions for the automotive industry and car-sharing industry to manage and secure cars as well as smart home solutions with various communications standards. He believes Blockchain is the missing part between free public internet and centralized IoT cloud solution providers to enable the smart cities of the future to be connected, shared and secured by blockchain rules with no restrictions or barriers. His company, Smartkey is running a pilot with rescue services in one of Poland’s biggest cities, enabling access to secure districts and buildings using blockchain, vastly cutting down on response times and will be fitted as standard in all new Kia electric cars in 2021. These serve as real live use cases of how blockchain technology can facilitate the smart cities of the future to power transport, utilities and other infrastructure.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

There are three key points in my journey that have led to where I am now.

I first became interested in the possibilities offered by vehicle tracking devices and the ability to monitor. the key elements of the process remotely, using IoT devices. By processing the collected data we could bring huge benefits to the business by automating many of the decision-making processes. This was something that could be applied to any industry. I knew then that IoT and data processing was the future.

I went on to create the first system able to manage the entire energy system in a large city. In just one year, we managed to connect all electricity, heat, water meters and sensors throughout the city and made it possible to remotely control entire sections to be more efficient with resources. We created our own electronics, servers and software to control these buildings and today, several dozen cities use this solution. This was only possible by creating a standard for all IOT communication devices. As each manufacturer uses its own methods, connecting several hundred models of Electricity, heat, water meters and sensors from different manufacturers to one IT system was like having to translate live from 15 different languages ​​to the listener. So, we had to create a kind of “Esperanto” for devices and, in effect, the first cloud dedicated to communication with IoT devices under the name Then I knew that the greatest value in the world of communication with devices is not the data itself, but the creation of a universal communication bus between them. Data acquisition and processing is the result of these activities. I also realized that there is no such solution on a global scale.

The final turning point was the collision with business reality. At the time we started implementing our cloud solution with some of the largest energy corporations in Poland. It turned out that they had no real appetite for unified communication that would decentralize data and so, control. Established businesses want to protect the status quo. So, after several years of trying to build a universal tool for the world, it turned out that the big companies do not want users to be free to decide who, how and when their data will be used and want to force people to use proprietary applications. This was soul destroying. My goal in creating these products was to get to know all industries inside out, get to know their technologies, the mind-makers’ mindsets and persuade them to cooperate in order to unify and share data with residents in a smart city framework. My goal, as a smart city resident in the future, was to be able to combine my own data, from utilities, smart home devices, cars etc from different manufacturers though one universal interface. And that developers (and myself) could create more and more sophisticated applications compatible with this data.

Today, the experience I have in building products and solutions is helping me to start to bring this vision to life — starting with our rescue services pilot in Olsztyn, Poland.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began your career?

It was a dream. Often my ideas come in a dream. About 15 years ago I dreamed that I was the organizer of the Jean Michele Jarre concert. He came to me with a whole fleet of trucks loaded with concert equipment. Seeing this, I asked whether he had hired protection for all this equipment? He said; “Yes, I want Treesat. You do not know them? It is the best security company in the world!” I started looking for the company in the phone book and I was surprised to find there is no such company. Then all of a sudden I woke up sitting on my bed and said out loud to myself, “I’ll make it.”

I knew I had to go the way of technology with a focus on protection and the technology must be global. I already knew that device monitoring can automate any industry, especially the security industry. I knew that if it was going to be the best, I had to somehow get to all people’s homes. I defined some key industries that I needed to know. Everyone has a house and they use energy, so I created energy management systems for cities. Thanks to this, my technology began to be installed in the homes of thousands of people. The next step was smart home, so I started to produce sensors for homes based on modern mesh networks. Everyone has a car, so I made products for vehicles. This is how I got to know and created all these technologies and products. I also knew that there had to be a technology that would connect all these people and their alarm sensors. Then I designed the world’s first IoT cloud. While looking for a contractor, I found Erlang Solution. The company and technology had the best references in the world. WhatsApp and Messenger were created on Erlang. Since a billion people can chat with each other in real time, I created a cloud for chats between devices and gave people the ability to manage them. This is how the TreeSAT cloud was created. This vision has been my fuel for years, it defined all my business activities, it lifted my spirits when things were going wrong. Thanks to her, I was able to gather around me wonderful people who have been supporting me in making it happen for years.

Can you tell us about the Cutting edge technological breakthroughs that you are working on? How do you think that will help people?

Even with all of TreeSat’s success, something was still missing. There was no social element. The Cloud (Treesat) , although it was made for a good cause, still belonged to “someone”. This turned out to be the biggest obstacle to the mass integration of the world’s major IoT device manufacturers as corporations strive to centralize data management.

The solution came with Blockchain. Public fully decentralized cloud created by people and for people. Everyone and no one at the same time. I transferred the logic and functionality of “sharing” to blockchain. The most important missing piece of the puzzle has been released from the cloud into a publicly created technology. This step paved the way for the integration of thousands of products through a public communication medium. This is how SmartKey technology was born. Data is still collected in corporate clouds. They still come with devices. We do not compete with them. We only give them an open public standard for controlling access to user-managed data. It changed everything. We created SmartKey. An intelligent, programmable access key and we make this technology available to all people.

Today, we have managed to persuade the same companies who were so reluctant to share their data to adopt this standard in the interests of their users without touching valuable data in the cloud. SmartKey technology is the missing puzzle piece that connects devices in the physical world with the virtual world of the Blockchain digital revolution. The entire SmartKey solution is fully anonymous and widely available, so I do not have to enter into cooperation or confidentiality agreements or long negotiations. It is a trusted method of data integration. Today I am on the final path towards my goal. And you are watching a new global marketplace for creative people and future sharing economy businesses being born.

How do you think this might change the world?

It has the potential to change the whole world, especially how we communicate with it. It will support those who help in the development of society and do not make us dependent on each other. Big corporations already understand what is happening and that the era of Sharing economy is coming. The largest automotive corporations in the world such as Kia and Mercedes are getting ready for this. The bottom-up revolution has already started and we will not stop it, this is blockchain, this is where users are in control.

Keeping “Black Mirror” in mind can you see any potential drawbacks about this technology that people should think more deeply about?

I see a whole lot of disadvantages of cloud technologies that hijack our data. In today’s world, the data market is worth more than the entire oil market. Since this data comes from us, our cars, and houses, why do we allow only a select few to benefit from it? Since the data has value, I would like to share it, but on two conditions: that I will decide with whom to share and it must be for my benefit. I accept that a middleman will earn something from it, but this is my life and my goods. Today they are not middlemen but more parasites that feed on us, we unknowingly feed them and they give us nothing in return.

As soon as we realize that there are fair, widely available and safe tools for us, where we will start to decide about our digital life, we will popularize peer to peer systems based on a socially built blockchain, and SmartKey will have a large share in this. Certainly, freedom and self-determination have consequences. There is a need to pay attention to the issues of greater accountability. Great freedom gives the opportunity to create many wonderful solutions, for example to facilitate saving human life by allowing access to closed areas where we live. But it can also be used for a new kind of abuse and crime. This new emerging market will evolve and we will have to evolve with it.

Was there a “tipping point” that led you to this breakthrough? Can you tell us that story?

The moment when I found out what exactly blockchain technology is all about. The fact that it is a user-created technology promoted and developed in the open source formula for all users. The fact that it creates equal opportunities for everyone. Understanding decentralization and the global blockchain network that creates a specific communication standard for the world. Almost nobody knows what it is or how it works exactly, and they certainly do not know how to use it except for the transfer of tokens. I know that only the idea of ​​connecting blockchain to the physical world makes people realize how it works. Everyone must see it in action. BoT SmartKey connectors are able to initiate a revolution and an explosion of ideas for using it to improve and create new solutions and business models based on jointly building an ecosystem of compatible solutions without borders or restrictions.

What do you need to lead this technology to widespread adoption?

Each standard becomes popular when we start mass adoption.

We need two things. First, educating developers on the opportunities offered by this new technology s they can create useful products where unification of data access and device functions is a value e.g. using weather data to control home thermostats automatically. These living examples will drive broader understanding and demand.

Another thing is strategic partnerships with major brands like KIA or Teltonika, who already see how the world is changing and want to be first movers in a newly created sharing economy market. The important thing is that the technology itself is compatible with all smart solutions that exist today. As a result, our partners do not bear any costs of implementing the SmartKey standard in their products. It is an additional and breakthrough functionality that the recipients of their products can use. This is a classic Win-Win situation.

What have you been doing to publicize this idea? Have you been using any innovative marketing strategies?

We started with blockchain community. True followers of the libertarian ideology of technology. They understand why blockchain came about and know that its foundations of ideology will lead to a revolution. This revolution is already taking place in the banking sector. Now is the time for revolutions in the IT and Smart Cities sectors, where sharing the city’s resources with its residents is of key importance. The decentralization of data flow will open the way to a real SmartCity created by residents with the active participation of municipal authorities. Where new physical products and services can be developed. SmartKey transfers value from the virtual world to the physical world around us. It is already happening.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

Radosław Krzycki, my business partner in the project and COO of SmartKey. It was he who opened my mind to new opportunities brought by blockchain technology. It was he who showed me the huge world of global new revolution with endless possibilities. Finally, he motivated me to travel around the world to learn about other cultures and world-class projects.I realized that by using a public blockchain we have no limits to our development. He showed me what projects are being implemented today. He was the catalyst for creating the ultimate technology that widens Blockchain adoption opportunities in real businesses. A large dose of energy, enthusiasm and knowledge has led us to the point where SmartKey is implemented at the largest technology partners in the world.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Through products such as “Rescue without barriers” initiated by paramedics and local authorities in Poland. By giving small companies at the end of the world a chance for their product placed in a blockchain to see the light of day, without risking competing with the giants of the IT world. In the blockchain world, big companies have no advantage, and that’s beautiful. It’s about the idea and execution, not money and power. Democratization of technology co-creation and awareness of the influence of an individual on jointly created technology, taking power from corporations. Big companies need to change their mindset from a ‘strong hand’ position to a ‘helping hand’. Those that understand this will win the future market. People want to have a choice, they want to feel free, they want to be creative, and they won’t go back to systems where they’ve been deprived of it by trickery.

What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why. (Please share a story or example for each.)

Always trust your intuition — in retrospect, the moments when I stopped trusting my intuition or when I found an explanation in my head why I shouldn’t do that, were the moments when I lost. Self-confidence and belief in your ideals combined with strong assertiveness is a desirable quality. By not adhering to these principles, you will make you stray from this path. People are using you. You’re starting to be unhappy.

Surround yourself with positive people — this is related to the previous advice. Let us not agree to be around people with bad intentions or negative thinking. Knowing your value, choose people who inspire you, motivate you and raise you energetically. Only in such an atmosphere are you able to make your dreams come true.

Do not follow the opinion of others — The opinion of a person who is not in your shoes will not help you in the implementation of your bold vision. By all means, consult others, ask, questions; you will gain knowledge this way, but don’t listen to people telling you that it can’t be done or that you won’t be this or that. Keep going stubbornly to your goal. If it hurts, do it even harder. Only those who seek it find their way.

Experiment — check, touch, build. Knowledge that comes from personal experience is beyond evaluation. No school in the world will give you what practice can give you. If you know how things work and why, because by building them you made all the mistakes of the world. It is thanks to such experiences your head will be able to design working solutions in the future without having to build and verify them.

Don’t be afraid to lose — My success story is actually a failure story. I could manage to avoid the painful moments that were so many along the way. But that is what I would not do. I’m sure these are the moments and these are the people that pushed me on the right path. The history of career development is clearly related to the internal change I have undergone. Unfortunately, these changes were caused by painful experiences. Now I know that those moments that I once considered difficult, today I evaluate as milestones on the way to fulfillment. I wouldn’t change anything.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would like people to take care of water. Water is the most important component of life on our planet. Water brings nutrients to plants, animals, etc. I want to return people happiness in communing with nature. I want to develop self-sufficient compact and fully automated water purification systems in natural water reservoirs. I want everyone to be able to enjoy the crystal clear water. Current technologies are inefficient and ineffective. I want to restore natural water reservoirs to a state before people started polluting them. Since we have been successfully disturbing mother nature in self-cleaning for hundreds of years, the time has come to help her. This is the vision that I want to fulfill before I leave this world.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Why?” — I am not a man who follows the rules. I always check all available options by experimenting. I quickly draw conclusions and build in my head a specific optimal path to solve the problem. I always ask the question “why?” Deep understanding of the real human need allows me to create innovative products. I always start with the needs of the product and try not to suggest solutions to the competition. Approach the topic with a fresh head, professional knowledge of a given industry. It helps me design solutions for people. First of all, it is the end user who has to understand what a given product offers him and how it can make his life easier. I follow the market needs! An example of such an approach was the creation of SmartKey technology. The entire crypto world has long proven the usefulness of this technology for securing, storing and securely transmitting digital values. We used this technology to store and transmit programmable digital keys that give access to the world of physical things. The Blockchain market needed to use this technology on a larger scale and in a way that is understandable to the general public. In turn, the need for the physical world is the ability to freely create your ideas, for which you need a universal medium thanks to which I can connect all my smart devices to one of my favorite applications. I have combined these two needs to create a unique SmartKey technology. The missing puzzle that finally connected the innovative and full of possibilities digital world with the physical world around us full of intelligent solutions. SmartKey as an integration medium gives both worlds a chance to meet in one place and opens up endless possibilities of creating completely new products and services using the best features of both worlds. Eventually, both ecosystems will come together so that people can fulfill their needs, new business models.

Some very well known VCs read this column. If you had 60 seconds to make a pitch to a VC, what would you say? He or she might just see this if we tag them 🙂

Every revolution has its time. technologies and minds mature to use them. We always need a Daredevil who is not afraid to impose his vision of the world and if he has a feeling, others will feel the same. Nobody will deny that blockchain technology has an element of revolutionary technology in it. For several reasons, it is a technology that fuels the young generation, they want changes and blockchain makes such changes. Breaking old paradigms and classic businesses based on the centralization of power. Time for changes decentralization of power will change our entire reality, new markets will arise and, just like in the Internet revolution of the 90s, at the beginning no one knew why we needed this internet until the first browsers were created, and the young generation brought the Internet to our lives on their own hands . The idea of ​​decentralization and a sense of shared responsibility and self-influence are strong feelings that accompany blockchain technology and its foundations. I believe we are witnessing a breakthrough when blockchain technology merges with the physical world to create new varieties of classic sharing economy businesses. Few people see how this combination will affect people’s economies and worldviews. Every revolution has an exalted idea that infects people. In this case, we give power to people, they will through evolution set new standards for building future businesses and set new ethical standards. SmartKey is like the first Netscape. It will let you feel and see what blockchain is. Seeing is believing. Join this revolution and show how your products can co-build a global new ecosystem.

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Thank you so much for joining us. This was very inspirational.

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