Breaking through barriers to privacy

HELIOS social networking platform puts users in control

European Commission

Industry: Public Sector
Region: North Europe

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Seeding breakthroughs and discoveries

The European Commission leads the Horizon 2020 Programme, the biggest EU Research and Innovation programme ever, with nearly €80 billion of funding – in addition to private investment that this money will attract. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

One of these breakthroughs is HELIOS, a context-aware distributed social networking framework. Atos is leading the work package focused on system integration and operation, to establish an efficient and robust system that:

  • Complies with the quality objectives of the project.
  • Contributes to the design and development of an immersive (360º plus AR/VR) and end-to-end adaptive video streaming player.

Flaws of social media

Current online social media applications fail to address the complexity of social structures. We change our roles fluidly from one to another, leading to different roles in several independent and interconnected contexts. And we don’t see a social graph to express and empower meaningful relationships. We see these platforms as purely content distribution channels.

What’s more, existing social media networks give users the impression that they are in full control of their data. However, those companies are the ones that have the sole authority over a person’s information.

More control

HELIOS envisions a successful decentralized social media platform that gives users control of three aspects: privacy, ownership and dissemination — all of which are stripped away when using any of the mainstream and traditional social media platforms — by redefining the concept and creating a foundation for cooperation social networking services.

A technical leap

HELIOS will integrate a blockchain-enabled network architecture to support the ad-hoc creation and management of social graphs within the context and proximity of users. It will provide all necessary means and features to ensure the highest level of trust and control in the platform, including novel decentralization, content creation and sharing. It will ensure the highest level of privacy in line with all the necessary ethical and legal requirements. And it will provide new ways to control monetization channels.

The project has taken a technical leap to something that goes much deeper and is much more flexible than traditional social media platforms, which from a technical perspective appear as individual services, single apps and isolated silos with thick walls.

The pillars of design and implementation strategy of HELIOS include:

  • An aging-resilient platform thanks to a P2P architecture that enables scalability following an open-source modular strategy.
  • Trustworthiness.
  • A real-life social experience online addressing real-life properties and intuitive features, natively integrated into all social networking services built on top of the platform.
  • Easy content production and delivery, controlled by blockchain, with modules and apps for orchestrating user-generated content.
  • Developer-friendly architecture with robust core and powerful add-on modules for creating novel social network services easily. Individual users may or may not have a module installed, thus the platform will never be unnecessarily hefty for any single user.

It’s a leap toward the social media platforms of the future, introducing novel concepts for social graph creation and management while providing trust and transparency as basic concepts that enrich the value of the user’s social networks.

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