Harnessing the Benefits of Blockchain-IoT Combination

July 6, 2018
Blockchain for The Internet of Things

Two technological innovations that have managed to garner a lot of interest and buzz worldwide lately are Blockchain and the internet of things (IoT). Thanks to the rise in cryptocurrencies, Blockchain became a widely known term, and developers took it upon themselves to harness the power of its constructs to carry out various functionalities.

The internet of things caught up in the buzz in 2017, with motor vehicles, industrial systems, and even general household appliances being connected to the World Wide Web. Again, tech giants from all around took a shot at making “smart” devices and appliances. Cars could be programmed to pick up a passenger and drop them at their destination. Sensors allowed ventilation systems to determine temperature, oxygen and moisture levels among other factors in the air, and adjust accordingly to level the ratios.

Evidently, these two technologies have played their parts quite well in the disruption of systems and traditions that were once thought concrete. Today, there is equally as much enthusiasm as there is skepticism about the future of these two inventions. Some argue that they are avenues to the limitlessness of technological advancements, while others see no more practical applicability for them.

What many have failed to postulate, however, is the possibility of combining the two technologies and the outcome that could be achieved from it. It is a highly pertinent solution for the emerging challenges which have been realized from either technology as well as others that may arise in the future. Combining an almost impenetrable data collection and distribution system with microcomputers embedded in ordinary systems and gadgets could result in the advancement of various facets of technology, disruptions in traditional technological infrastructures as well as the sustainability of existing systems.

FINDING THE CONNECTION

Perhaps the most sufficient way of approaching the possibility of the two technologies merging is to find a common ground for basing an argument. What stands out as a uniting factor between the two is an entity that has been behind every technological breakthrough known to man to date: information. The internet of things is now considered one of the fastest growing data collection entity in the world, with billions of data and metadata being produced by the minute. This data is obviously very precious. Developers require it to come up with better systems, more efficient ways of designing and marketing products, not to mention predict the ever-changing user needs. Users also need this data. To improve their environments, both working and living, they require constant sources of information which tell them what is happening within their environments.

But with all this data being thrown around, it is easy to see how some problems may arise. Already we have seen cases of security breaches happening from items as trivial as thermostats in fish tanks. Security is the number one concern for every implementation of IoT in the market today among other concerns like compatibility. Blockchain is, then, an almost obvious solution. Being a robust and highly secure data management system, it can not only provide the kind of security which IoT data requires, but it can also equip these services with necessary concepts like decentralization and encryption.

THE BENEFITS OF IOT-BLOCKCHAIN COMBINATION

Transparency

It is difficult to maintain a form of transparency when there are different devices from different brands and manufacturers using different communication and operational structures working in one household or organization. This mismatch in infrastructures can leave a lot of unmonitored and create a gap for malicious acts or carelessness to go undetected and unaccounted for. Blockchain offers a platform which eliminates these limitations. By distributing oversight into the collection, transfer, and storage of data, transparency is not only a benefit of Blockchain, it is a fundamental feature of its structure.

With Blockchain, there is a clear method of recording data in a chronological form, allowing auditing of processes within the network to be faster and simpler. This prevents malicious manipulation of devices and networks in a bid to get ahead of other manufacturers or sabotage the operations of other stakeholders in the network.

Security

When dealing with smart devices, there is a lot of personal data which is collected and analyzed within network environments, including daily routines, dietary and recreational habits as well as regularly visited locations. Without proper security protocols to protect the information, the data can be used maliciously to manipulate users and organizations or sabotage their business processes. Thanks to the highly advanced encryption methods used in Blockchain, data security in IoT devices will be highly improved upon. Decentralization of data also ensures that should the network be breached, hackers will not manage to acquire all the information from a centralized location, strengthening the anonymity of company and personal data.

Unification of Software Infrastructures

Today, there are hundreds of corporate and independent manufacturing industries of devices in the market. With all these devices running their own proprietary software, it is difficult to merge their custom infrastructure to truly harness the power of IoT. Blockchain has the power to change the scene. Using its infrastructure, developers can create an online repository for instructions and system software in a single location, making it reusable and open for other manufacturers to adopt in their own devices. Using Blockchain, developers can create a system where there is a collaborative development of products and services. Manufacturers can also offer their software in exchange for money, a process which would be fulfilled through cryptocurrency. This would solve compatibility issues and also allow stakeholders to collaborate on any updates required to keep systems running.