Can blockchain accelerate IoT adoption? - Embedded.com

Can blockchain accelerate IoT adoption?

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Blockchain can empower IoT with the needed security and transparency and is already playing an important role in many IoT applications.

With the arrival of smart homes and smart cities, IoT can open a lot of opportunities for technological expansion or rather a technological revolution to make the future smarter, better, and more competent. In fact, The IoT market size is expected to grow at a rate of 45.1% by 2026 to reach USD 2,409 million.

Data is transmitted to the IoT network via sophisticated sensors, fog devices, and chips that are embedded into the physical products through a centralized cloud server. Since cloud servers are managed by third parties, they are often prone to cyberattacks. As a result, IoT app development agencies must pay special attention to protect cloud servers. Multiple technologies have been successfully deployed with the IoT, security concerns continue to be reported about them.

This is where blockchain comes into the picture to empower IoT devices with the needed security measures along with granting adequate transparency to the IoT ecosystems. Blockchain technology is decentralized and anonymous, which suits IoT networks, thereby providing flexibility to network configurations and reducing risks of single-point failures. Other aspects of the blockchain technology that also come to the aid of IoT applications are the hash chain structure and the Byzantine Fault Tolerance consensus protocol.

Let’s take a look at how the powerful combination of Blockchain and IoT is helping many industries transform their output.

Pharma Industry

One main challenge faced by the pharmaceutical industry for many decades is associated with the journey of medicines from the manufacturing unit to the patient. Often fake drugs make it to the main market and the actual drugs fail to reach the patients actually needing them.

According to WHO, developed nations deal with 1% of counterfeit medicines while the percentage of fake drugs might go up to 50% in some developing nations. 50% of medications available on the internet are reportedly counterfeit according to the World Health Organization.

Tracking down the shipment of medicines from the source to the end-point has been successfully made possible with blockchain & IoT together. Not only this, but Mediledger, a combo-technology can also detect whether a legal exchange of prescription medicines is happening or not.

Telecom Sector

The telecom industry is adapting to the rising demand for more secure ways of tracking and scrutinizing data, and for this, it is resorting to measures offered by blockchain coupled with IoT.

As per a survey report produced by Ericsson, approximately two-thirds of 30 billion telecom devices would be IoT-connected devices by 2022. As the world is preparing to embrace 5G, it will enable these IoT devices to interconnect quickly and over wider ranges. Integration with blockchain at this point is imperative to grant security to interconnected devices. Blockchain can also assist in identity management, SLA (service level agreement) monitoring, help create smart contracts for addressing roaming connectivity problems, etc.

Agriculture Sector

Blockchain-IoT enabled tracking helps farmers, distributors, and retailers track their shipments and make better business decisions.

The Pavo marketplace offers IoT hardware devices and blockchain to help farmers presell their agricultural products via smart contracts. This saves farmers from the waiting period to receive their payments after selling their crops.

Smart Locks

HYPR, a New York-based organization has made connected cars, homes, locks, and ATMs more safe and secure with the help of decentralized networks. It has designed a DLT digital key to allow people to have a single access point to everything in their home beginning from their doors to their smart TV.

Multi-Industrial Sectors

California-based Xage Security offers a suite of decentralized IoT applications catering to industries like agriculture, transportation, energy, and utilities.

It has recently become a part of the Smart Electric Power Alliance (SEPA) to implement its IoT applications and devices in the clean energy sector. Its devices are capable of preventing cyber-attacks.

Automotive Sector

This industrial sector is utilizing IoT-based sensors to build automotive vehicles and the duo is being used to facilitate smart parking, automation of fuel payments, and automatic traffic control.

NetObjex offers smart parking solutions with dual technologies of blockchain and IoT. IoT enables finding parking space in a parking lot and blockchain facilitates automatic payments via crypto-wallets.

Water Management

Aquai utilizes NetObjex’s blockchain and IoT services to design a smart water sensor called Puck. It can detect the amount of water used by someone daily and it is also empowered with the ability to detect and shut down leakages.

Further challenges

A few challenges still remain in the widespread adoption of blockchain for IoT:

  1. Scalability issues and Compliance challenges – The blockchain-IoT framework relies on a large network of sensors thus relying on huge amounts of data exchange, which in turn leads to delayed responses. Another thing that is found to be worrisome by businesses when it comes to the widespread and large-scale adoption of the ledger-based IoT network is the lack of compliance regulations in this area due to its recent germination.
  2. Inadequate storage facility – Some smart device sensors that have low storage capacity will face problems in storing the ledger as the ledger has to be stored in nodes.
  3. Disparity in computing capabilities – There is a conflict in the processing power of the IoT networks and the blockchain ecosystem. Hence most IoT networks won’t be able to run hash algorithms at the required speed and efficiency.
  4. Lack of skilled workforce – As the blockchain-IoT ecosystem is a fairly new arena, most business groups are still not having access to a workforce that is skilled equally at both blockchain technology and IoT.

Conclusion

Businesses are benefiting from IoT devices by gaining useful insights but inadequate data security associated with IoT is restricting its widespread adoption in the near future. While IoT solves accessibility problems, blockchain makes IoT secure, efficient, reliable, and transparent. Bringing together both these networks can streamline the IoT functions, record every data transaction, and enhance IoT security.


Harikrishna Kundariya is an IoT-, ChatBot- & Blockchain-savvy, marketer, developer, and designer. He is co-founder and Director of eSparkBiz Technologies. His 10+ years of experience enable him to provide digital solutions to new start-ups based on IoT and ChatBot.

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