We have been listening about the Blockchain technology and the Internet of Things since the past decade and everyone has either heard of them or witnessed the great powers these technologies possess. But the wonder is when these two giant technologies come together in a merger. It increases the possibility of a great future that can be unleashed with these technologies and would be far greater than their individual powers.
To have the best understanding of this, we must first define what these technologies individually are and what they have to offer. To set you with this here is the official definition of both these technologies:
- Blockchain ‘A Blockchain, originally blockchain, is a growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography. Each block contains a cryptographic hash of the previous block, a timestamp, and transaction data (generally represented as a merle tree root hash). It is "an open, distributed ledger that can record transactions between two parties efficiently and in a verifiable and permanent way".(Source)’ For more details on the Blockchain technology and the power that it possesses, you can go through our these articles to understand the effects and perks of Blockchain technology in various fields like, Blockchain in Health, Blockchain in Education, Blockchain in Real Estate Sector etc.
Internet of things (IoT)
‘The Internet of things (IoT) is the network of devices, vehicles, and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data. IoT involves extending Internet connectivity beyond standard devices, such as desktops, laptops, smartphones and tablets, to any range of traditionally dumb or non-internet-enabled physical devices and everyday objects. Embedded with technology, these devices can communicate and interact over the Internet, and they can be remotely monitored and controlled.’(Source)
So once you have an understanding of these technologies, you can see how promising they individually are at their parts. Now just imagine the great things that they can collectively offer when brought together. Theoretically, it can be easily concluded that the merger of these technologies will provide us with a system to create a verifiable, authentic, permanent and secure method of recording data processed by intelligent machines. By the benefits that IoT can offer, we can have this intelligent system interact with its environment and make a decision on its own without any interaction from the humans controlling the system.
Takes on Blockchain and IoT
Considering the powers that the merger of these technologies have to offer and promise for the future, major tech giants are not waiting for the time to come and have already boarded the voyage of these technologies. Companies like IBM have already taken measures to introduce the merger of Blockchain and Internet of Things in their business. IBM has also released an infographic stating, ‘building trust, cost reduction and the acceleration of transactions’ as the three key benefits of using Blockchain in IoT. (Source)
To illustrate the perks of Blockchain technology and Internet of Things convergence, IBM gives the contrasting example of complex and highly secure trade lanes and logistics whereby smart contracts can come in place(and via Blockchain technologies secure network register), everything that has happened to an individual item, property, transaction and packages. Some of the benefits of this duo that are to follow are audit trails, accountability, full authenticity and availability over a distributed network, new forms of smart contracts and speed in transactions.
In many ways, the Blockchain and IoT when combined together are a perfect pair. The Blockchain technology and its application is currently securing the most valuable cryptocurrencies all over the world, and its embedded smart contracts, authentic features and decentralized network are significant and almost a proper solutions for IoT’s security concerns. Moreover, this same feature of storage on distributed network ensures continual connectivity because an outage in any one area does not impact any other. The application of Blockchain technology can ensure that IoT devices maintain the connectivity and availability that they need to provide the services they are designed to offer.
In its current state, the Blockchain is divided among its various organisations, companies and platforms. Developing connections between these distributed block chains and allowing them to capitalize and flourish on one another’s strengths is a necessary and highly fruitful step toward realistic Blockchain integration — especially for IoT purposes.
With great power comes great responsibilities. And same is the case when a merger of Blockchain and Internet of Things is considered. Some of the most common and easily identifiable changes are that of security, operations and legal compliances.
In an Internet of Things context where technical security is already a challenge, it’s clear that the security of the system needs to be viewed with utmost importance. Though Blockchain is considered a measure to introduce security to applications of IoT, overall security is yet another matter of discussion with several opinions and aspects.
Martha Bennett, a Principal Analyst serving CIO Professionals, has also explained the legal and compliance issues of the merger. Bennett refers to responsibility issues, in case of actions that are taken by devices, based on a rule that is automatically executed by a Blockchain-based application, triggered by another Blockchain-based application (you see the complexity). And then there is the mentioned example of smart contracts. As you know contracts are far from easy, even outside this IoT and Blockchain context. (Source)
Just like any other new technology or invention being introduced to the world, a merger of Blockchain and IoT have their discussion and arguments over perks and cons of their merger and the power they possess. But one thing that is advent and crystal clear is, this merger is a future possibility becoming realistic with every passing minute. The beneficial choice is to indulge in the merger and enjoy the benefits.