Blockchain for IoT in Business

A new horizon in the data sharing framework

Blockchain is a shared distributed peer-to-peer transaction database. At the core of this technology is Bitcoin, a digitally encrypted wallet for transaction control and payment system that was introduced in 2009. This transaction management system is decentralized and usually works without an intermediary. These transactions are approved by a set of network nodes and documented in a shared ledger known as a blockchain.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a cyber-physical network of interconnected computing devices, digital objects, and individuals with unique system identifiers. The goal of the IoT space is to serve a single point of integration and transfer data online without the need for human or computer intervention.

There is a complex relationship between blockchain and IoT. Business entities providing IoT can find solutions using blockchain technology. The shared system can develop and save a cryptographically secure data set. Such database and records are protected against alteration and theft, provided they are highly secure and anti-malware. The duo can build transparency and accountability while moderating business development mechanisms. Blockchain itself can help reduce workplace mismanagement, overhead, and business unpredictability through its interconnected servers. The digital ledger can develop a cost-effective business and management system where everything can be efficiently exchanged, properly monitored and tracked. This process eliminates the need for a central management system, which essentially eliminates a lot of bureaucratic red tape and streamlines business processes. The commercial adoption of this innovation offers an immersive platform in the IoT domain and in business enterprises.

Blockchain essentially enables interconnected IoT devices to engage in secure data exchange. Companies and business entities can use blockchain to manage and process data from end devices such as RFID (radio frequency identification) based assets, machine readable barcode and QR code, infrared advertising (IR Bluster) or device information. If integrated into the business setup, end IoT devices will be able to transfer blockchain-based records to update contracts or validate a communication network. For example, if an IoT-enabled asset and RFID tag with sensitive geographic location and confidential information is moved to another unspecified point, the information will be automatically stored and updated in a blockchain ledger and necessary actions will be taken if the system is misappropriated. As the product progresses to different locations, the system allows stakeholders to obtain information about the package’s whereabouts.

To enjoy the fruits of a blockchain-enabled IoT framework, business organizations must adhere to four basic principles:

1. price Reduction

Edge devices should reduce transaction processing time and eliminate IoT gateways or internet intermediaries in the system. As data sharing and information are communicated within the system, eliminating an additional protocol, program, hardware, channel, node, or communication reduces overhead.

2. Acceleration of data exchange

Blockchain-enabled IoT can remove the IoT gateway or any filtering device needed to establish a network between cloud, administrator, sensors and devices. Kicking out such a “middleman” can enable peer-to-peer contracts and data sharing. In this process, the digital ledger eliminates the additional time required to synchronize the device and process and collect information. However, eliminating the IoT gateway provides channels for malicious malware and security breach. A blockchain-enabled IoT network can address it by installing features such as malware detection and encryption engines.

3. Building trust

Through a blockchain-enabled IoT space, devices and appliances can virtually and physically transact and communicate as trusted parties. Unlike conventional business, where transactions require approval and verification, blockchain does not need central authentication or peer recommendation. As long as the network is secure and the trusted parties are technologically savvy, the IoT space requires no additional paperwork. For example, Team A may not know Team B, may not have physically met or trusted each other, but the stamped record of online transactions and information sharing on the blockchain ledger confirms the trustworthiness of the business. This allows individuals, organizations and devices to gain mutual trust, which is vital to establishing a revolving business setup and eliminating administrative clutter.

4. Enhancing Security for IoT

Blockchain provides a place for a decentralized network and technology that promises to store, process and retrieve information from its billions of connected devices. This system should provide a highly secure network that is encrypted and easy to use. A decentralized network should provide high throughput, permission, low latency and requests. Installing a blockchain in the IoT network can regulate and moderate the exchange of data across end devices while maintaining the same secure transaction and information exchange of connected devices.

Eliminating Points of Failure in the IoT Space

Blockchain-enabled IoT can upgrade the supply chain network by tracking tagged items as they move through various points in an import store or warehouse, while enabling secure and accurate product delivery. Blockchain installation ensures precise and detailed product confirmation and solid traceability of relevant data along supply chains. Instead of finding paper trails to identify the country of origin (COO), the IoT can validate the physical confirmation of each product through a virtual “visa” that provides relevant information such as authenticity and origin of the product. Blockchain can also make auditable records of products and help organizations trace or create a history of records. It can also provide secure network access to administrative record data or alternative plans.

Blockchain-enabled IoT is not limited to enterprise problems or use cases. Any business entity with IoT space can increase business productivity by marginalizing costs, eliminating bottlenecks, extra loops and single points of failure in the system by updating process innovations. It is in the self-interest of such organizations to understand, embrace and implement blockchain into their enterprise solutions.

There is more…

With the onset of the fourth industrial revolution (4IR), blockchain-enabled IoT now represents the most dominant innovation after the integration of transistors and computing systems. This is the disruption that heralds the “second machine age” of digitization and advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Business-focused organizations are the frontrunners to enjoy the fruits of this revolution. It will be a shame if these organizations fail to realize the potential of this mega integration that can bring intelligence to systems anywhere and everywhere. Along with the new integration, this system also accompanies critical adaptability issues associated with the distributed network, such as preserving privacy and the data network, coordinating security apparatuses, and managing intellectual property. While many technology builders are building an open source foundation to address these issues, organizations and business entities must adopt and disseminate this technology for increased mobility and improved integration of products and services.