Meet the Boss – Exclusive Interview with Opiria CEO Christian Lange

opiria data ceo christian lange interview

Opiria is a market research platform powered by the blockchain that helps companies with collecting and analyzing consumer data to help them make better business decisions.

That is not the only function of the platform; Opiria will also be building a global decentralized marketplace for the buying and selling of data which will transform how consumers and companies interact with data.
In short, Opiria will democratize the trading and sharing of data to make it fair for all parties involved. Consumers are rewarded with cryptocurrency tokens for sharing their data while companies are able to acquire massive amounts of high-quality consumer data through Opiria’s marketplace.

Opiria’s privacy and security features will also allow consumers to decide what personal data they want to share and who to share it with. This revolutionary approach finally allows consumers to be in full control of their data as well as giving companies a legal and efficient way to obtain consumer data for their business processes.
pdata logoWe recently sat down with Opiria CEO, Dr.-Ing. Christian Lange, to have a chat with him about the project as well as learning more about his thoughts and insights.

Hi, Christian. Thanks for joining us today. Can you tell us more about Opiria?

Opiria-Platform is a global decentralized marketplace for the secure and transparent buying and selling of personal data. Opiria is directly connecting companies and consumers and powers a direct exchange of personal data. Opiria-Platform enables consumers to create a passive income stream by monetizing their personal data. Companies can buy personal data directly from consumers to understand their needs and requirements and to design better products and services. PDATA Token is the currency that expresses the value of personal data and enables its trading by using smart contracts on the blockchain. Opiria platform will connect consumers and companies globally and become the world’s largest decentralized personal data marketplace.

Tell us about how you came up with the idea of Opiria.
Did you personally face a problem within the industry or do you think there is a gap in the market for Opiria to fill?

In my former company we developed and sold a measurement and analysis software with related sensors that allowed car manufacturers, their suppliers and research institutes worldwide to precisely understand driver behavior. The issue was that the participants had to wear many different sensors and were completely wired. Even worse they had to come into a lab and only one subject at a time could be recorded and analyzed. The advantage was that the measurements and the results were very precise.

But the feedback I always received over the years was that this is all great but what they really need is a solution that allows them to gather data from thousands of subjects at a time remotely and the precision doesn´t necessarily have to be that high. A few years ago there wasn´t a solution for this requirement since measuring data requires “sensors” and I had no idea how to distribute thousands and thousands of sensors worldwide. But with the rise of the smartphone and the smart devices consumers started to wear and carry all those devices 24/7. In addition to that, all those devices are also permanently connected to the internet. After realizing this it became clear to me that this is actually the solution for the “sensor problem”.

We can simply use what´s already out there anyway. So right after my exit from my old company I started to develop the Opiria-Platform which gathers all that data from “sensors” worldwide and makes the data and the results available to companies globally.
So Opiria is actually solving a big need that the whole industry was expressing to me over many years!

What do you think is the biggest problem Opiria will solve and why is it important to solve?

Opiria is solving one of biggest problems companies worldwide are having today. Companies worldwide desperately need personal data from consumers to understand their needs and requirements in order to design products and services that fuel desire as well as perfectly target marketing and sales activities. Because of a lack in understanding consumer´s needs and requirements, 70-80% of new product innovations fail what leads to billions of failed investments every year.

This is why companies are buying personal data from data brokers. These data brokers are collecting personal data from consumers without their consent or knowledge and they are not even compensating them. They are selling this data to companies worldwide by making huge profits. The annual revenue of the data brokerage business is 250 billion USD per year and is growing with 13% every year on average. The good thing is that consumers are realizing this and they start to protect their data privacy and also provide fake information on purpose. But the effect of this is that companies are getting less data with lower quality. The so-called data accuracy is already below 50% what means that more than half of the data companies are buying from data brokers is wrong. Looking at this clearly shows that with the current model both consumers and companies lose.

And this big problem is exactly what Opiria is solving. Opiria allows companies to purchase personal data directly from consumers. Thereby companies get quick and easy access to high-quality personal data. On the other side, consumers are getting proper compensation for their data and their data privacy is completely protected due to blockchain.

Editors Pick: Opira & PDATA ICO

Let’s talk more about how surveys are utilized in Opiria. What is the advantage of using surveys instead of other methods of collecting data from consumers?
Have you done a test run(s) before which showed the efficiency of the survey model compared to others?

As of now, Opiria offers two different kinds of surveys – mobile surveys and mobile diaries. A mobile survey allows our customers to send questionnaires to consumers´ smartphones all around the world. They get notified about the new survey and respond 24/7 worldwide in real-time. A mobile diary allows consumers to provide feedback about their experience with a product or service in the moment of truth in a real world without being biased by an experimenter. The Opiria web-application receives all answers and feedbacks and aggregates and analyzes them for our customers. The big advantages over other methods are that Opiria enables real-time answers and feedbacks in real-life situations 24/7 worldwide.

A very good example that shows the capabilities of Opiria is a study that was recently done by our customer Mercedes Benz research in Silicon Valley. Mercedes just released a new app called Mercedes.me. This app allows their customers to remotely control functions of the car such as getting car´s location, turn on the air condition or turn on the seat heater. Mercedes wanted to understand how, when and where their customers are using the app and what they like, what they don´t like, which features are missing and how what needs to be improved.

Mercedes ran a study with 50 participants using Opiria. Opiria tracked exactly the necessary information and also allowed consumers to give feedback via comments, photos or videos whenever they wanted to.

This study provides Mercedes great insights and allows them to further improve the application so that it perfectly meets their customers´ requirements and needs. This does not only give Mercedes a competitive advantage but also leads to happier and more satisfied customers.

What was the thought process behind having two different components, a survey and a diary?

A mobile survey and a mobile diary are two methods of gathering consumers´ opinions and feedbacks. The reason for the mobile survey is that a survey is the most frequently used way of collecting consumers´ opinion. Therefore it is a must-have. The reason for implementing the mobile diary is that this is a method that provides deep insights in consumer behavior but it´s still mostly done using paper and pencil. Transforming this method into a smartphone based app is revolutionizing the method and makes is much easier to apply as well as strongly increases it´s application.
In the future, we will have also a method called “focus group” which will allow consumers around the world to discuss different topics in a moderated chat room.

And even better we will enable our consumers to sell lots of behavioral data that they produce everyday anyway. Opiria will be able to collect data from many different channels such as for example web browsing behavior, smartphone usage, online purchases, data from wearables and smart devices. In addition to that, we have technology in place that allows us to understand what consumers are actually looking at when they browse the internet and what emotions this creates. This is hugely valuable for companies because it allows them to understand for example if a new advertisement video is seen and if consumers like it or not.

Opiria plans to add eye and facial expression tracking features later this year which is a very unique approach to consumer data tracking.
How well do you think these two features contribute to consumer data and is it a feature where users can choose to opt-in or is it necessary for all users?
Do users who allow eye and facial tracking earn more PDATA tokens compared to those who don’t?

Adding eye tracking and emotion analysis will completely revolutionize the way this kind of market research is done today. As of now, companies need to have dedicated lab space with expensive software and hardware plus staff to run it. That makes these kinds of studies expensive and complicated and is also not scalable.
With the technology that we are going to launch later this year, we are going to completely change this. Everyone will be able to participate in such a study from anywhere in the world with only a PC or laptop. The way we do it will strongly reduce time and cost and increase the number of this kind of studies.

pdata  tokenWe do of course only track this kind of data when consumers actively opt in for it. And the data stays in possession of consumers until they actively sell it to a company.
Users who participate in this kind of study will be able to earn way more PDATA tokens than the ones who only participate in surveys. Let me give you a short example. Answering a mobile survey with about 10 questions brings you about 1 USD. Participating in a 15 minute eye tracking and emotion analysis study will earn you 30-40 USD.
This shows how Opiria will enable consumers all around the world to earn a nice passive income!

opiria pdata smart data control

Speaking of democratizing data, do you think that is the right way forward in approaching how data is shared between consumers and companies?
While we talk about its advantages, are the disadvantages of this democratized model and what is Opiria’s plans on overcoming it?

I´m 100% convinced that our blockchain-based Opiria marketplace together with the PDATA token is the right approach. First of all, we are completely protecting consumers´ data privacy by utilizing blockchain technology. In addition to that consumers are in full control of their personal data. They can decide what data they sell and to whom they sell it.

One aspect I really like is that the ecosystem created by the PDATA token and Opiria-Platform will open up a completely new marketplace where the value of personal data is ultimately determined by the market forces of supply and demand. This ecosystem will function without any central authority or control. It takes care of all the stages related to personal data during its lifetime from filling the marketplace with personal data to the use of the personal data from companies.

The biggest concern about data right now is privacy and security. Is there even a possibility of data leaks and breaches happening in Opiria?
What security measures do you have in place that puts you at an advantage over other platforms?

Utilizing blockchain technology actually allows us to accomplish the most important thing: protecting consumers´ data privacy and anonymity. We can even be fully compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation which becomes enforceable May this year.

The General Data Protection Regulation consists of 99 articles and about 10 of them are precisely describing requirements how to give control back to consumers over their personal data.

Let me just name some of them:

  • Consumer has to give consent for processing of its personal data
  • Personal data has to be pseudonymized and be stored in an encrypted way
  • Consumer must have the right to access its personal data
  • Consumer has the right to know who will process its personal data
  • Consumer has the right to rectify and erase its personal data
  • Processing activities have to be recorded
  • Data has to be protected by design and by default

Utilizing blockchain together with our system architecture we can make sure that all the before mentioned requirements are perfectly fulfilled.

One very important security aspect is that all data gets cryptographically encrypted with the consumers private key when it leaves the consumer´s device. Due to this, the data is completely useless for anyone in case of a security breach.

How does the verification of data work in Opiria? How does the platform that the info that a user gives is 100% genuine without crossing the lines of personal rights and privacy?
Do companies get refunded or reimbursed if they receive fake or inaccurate data on consumers or is there no chance of that happening?

Here we have to differentiate between users´ subjective opinions and objectively measured data such as eye tracking or emotion recognition.
When it comes to subjective opinions and feedback there are different methods to filter subjects that provide fake answers on purpose by using the right questionnaire design. Applying those methods is a standard in well designed questionnaires.

In relation to objectively measured data such eye tracking, emotion recognition or data from wearables it is almost impossible for users to to provide fake data. The reason for this is that this kind of behavior can´t be controlled consciously but is all subconscious. Therefore the users have no possibility to cheat.
Besides all that the “law of large numbers” plays an important role in our solution. Since the number of participants will always be very high the influence of just a few people that provide wrong opinions or try to cheat will almost be zero.

What has been your happiest moment so far working on Opiria?
On the flipside, what has been the most painful, or perhaps the most regretful decision you’ve made with Opiria?

There have been really a lot of great moments so far working on Opiria. Some examples include the product launch in December 2016, the first big clients such as Mercedes Benz, Audi, BMW and Volkswagen, onboarding our first sales partner in USA, UK, China and Korea as well receiving the first contributions in our ICO.

The latest one was a world premiere at a big meetup in Seoul with more than 600 attendees organized by Spunky, Korea’s most famous Youtuber in the crypto space. We did a real-time survey with Opiria about “the future of crypto” asking questions like “what will be the value of BTC at the end of 2018?”. The premiere was that it was the first time ever that we compensated Opiria users with PDATA tokens for participating in a survey.

Luckily there hasn´t been a painful moment yet. But my over 13 years of entrepreneurial experience let me know that there will painful moments and that I will make decisions that I regret. But as mentioned there hasn´t been a single one so far.

What is the current progress on Opiria’s partners?
Are there any interesting partnerships that the team is working on?

We are constantly working on expanding our world wide sales partner network. We just onboard our new partner SDS Associates. SDS will represent and sell Opiria in the South East Asian market. Together with SDS we launched Opiria for the South East Asian at ESOMAR conference in Bangkok from May 13th to 15th which is the biggest market research conference in that region.

What do you think is the biggest challenge or obstacle Opiria will face? How do you plan to tackle that challenge?

The biggest challenge is our consumer database. We have the technical development under control and companies worldwide are waiting for our solution. So that´s no problem. But our challenge is to grow the consumer database to more than 10 million consumers ASAP.
In order to get consumers into the Opiria platform we have the following different approaches that work together simultaneously:

  1. Get consumers via Opiria’s customers (the companies): companies invite their customers (the consumers) to join the Opiria database. A nice example of this is what happened with one our customers Freightliner: they invited 2000 truck drivers to join the platform and provide data and feedback about how they are using the Freightliner trucks.
  2. AirDrop campaign: after the TGE an AirDrop campaign will start. This means new users of the Opiria app will receive an initial compensation (in PDATA tokens) for signing up.
  3. Referrals: registered consumers can invite other users and receive a referral fee (in PDATA tokens) if the invited ones sign up.
  4. The TGE community: the goal is to have a large number of members in the PDATA community (Join the community on https://t.me/pdatatoken). All community members will be invited to download the Opiria app and sign up. Friends and families are also welcome. During the TGE, “opinion of the day survey” surveys with interesting questions will be sent on a regular base to all members. The results will be published on the PDATA Telegram channel and send to the members by email.
  5. Social media marketing: refers to the classical social media marketing with paid ads.The costs for these campaigns are already planned in our financial plan.

Where do you expect Opiria to be in a few years in terms of progress and success?

We have two tight roadmaps:

  • Technical development roadmap
  • Global expansion plan

According to our technical development roadmap, we want to complete the whole ecosystem with all possible subjective methods and objective channels until mid 2020. Once this is completed our consumers will be able to sell a huge amount of data to companies worldwide and create a noticeable passive income stream by doing so.
Our global expansion plan contains step by step the countries in which we want to be present with sales partners. We do already have sales partners in the US, the UK, China, South Korea and South East Asia and we want to onboard another 5 sales partners within 12 months after the crowdsale.

Our goal for 2023 is to have sales partners in 50 countries, 25,000 customers and a user base of more than 100 million consumers that are actively monetizing their data.

Moving on to more personal stuff, what does a typical day in your life look like?

Haha…great question! Since we started the ICO there hasn´t been a single day in my life that was like any other before. I´ve been travelling around 70% of my time for the last 6 months to meet funds, exchanges and marketers and to attend conferences, exhibitions and meetups all over the world in the US, Asia, Europe and even in Dubai. So actually every day was different. It was a great experience meeting so many new people and learning so many new things during that time so I definitely wouldn´t want to miss that.

What’s something that you believed to be true for a long time until you found out that you were wrong, or if you don’t like that dichotomy of right versus wrong, what’s something significant that you really changed your mind about over time?

When I started my first company in 2005 I thought that I have to be the one who knows everything, who decides everything and who is in full control of everything. It took me about 5 years to understand that this believe is actually completely wrong and avoids that my company can grow bigger than it actually is and can be way more successful. I understood that I need to be the one who sets a motivating long term vision and who puts a system in place that allows everyone in the company to perform at its best. I understood that I need to find the right people who are all way better in what they do than I will ever be and to provide them with the right level of decision making independence.
Understanding this was actually key for the success of my former company and for my personal success as an entrepreneur.

Can you express one personal opinion of yours about the blockchain? It doesn’t matter if it’s negative or positive, we just want to hear your thoughts on it.

Blockchain technology in general really has great potential to revolutionize industries with a need for trust via a third party by removing the need for a central authority. Some examples of industries that can be revolutionized by blockchain technology are finance, insurance or energy. Therefore I truly believe that we are at the beginning of a big wave that will disrupt many big companies and existing business models.
But here comes the big BUT. Blockchain technology and decentralization still has to prove this. As of today there is no company or application yet that has reached mass adoption and that is actually scalable.
In a nutshell, I believe blockchain technology will be as big or even bigger as the internet but there is still a lot of work to do in the next decade to achieve this!

Finally, what other personal goals (besides your career) do you have in life? Is there anything else in life you want to achieve?

The three most important things in my life besides being an entrepreneur are definitely my family, my health and lifelong learning. I´m 100% convinced that you can not be successful in your career if you are not happy with your private life, if you are not physically fit and if you are not willing to learn new things every day.
Therefore my first goal is to make my family happy and and to make the best out of our common private time.
My second goal for my personal fitness is to work out at least 5 times every week and to life and eat as healthy as possible.

And the third goal is to read at least one book per month about new topics that help me learn new things and widen my personal view.

That concludes our Interview with Dr. Christian Lange

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