Each one of us uses a smartphone. Soon we will be owning all sort of smart devices; and, smart homes will not be a dream anymore. IoT will be a part and parcel of our lives. But, it is also vulnerable to cyber attacks. So, the blockchain technology can work with IoT to get rid of issues like these. Moreover, the endless benefits of blockchain coupled with IoT will definitely make our lives better. So, how can IoT and blockchain work together? What are the various blockchain IoT applications? Let us take a look.
IoT and Blockchain technology
More and more cybercriminals are curious about IoT devices now.
In fact, as per the Kaspersky Lab reports, there were three times as many malware samples attacking smart devices in 2018 when compared to 2017. Besides, the numbers in 2017 were ten times more than that of 2016.
Moreover, cracking of Telnet passwords remain one of the most popular attacks and infection vectors. In 2018, the number of Telnet password attacks were three times more than all other types combined. It is clear that this picture is not good for the future.
But, blockchain technology is here to save IoT today. It can solve many problems of IoT. Some benefits which prove that blockchain and IoT can work very well together are as follows:
- Secure software updates using cryptographic hash functions
- Automated Payments and micropayments
- Increased speed of transactions due to the use of smart contracts
- Reduced costs of IoT networks by removing intermediaries
Having said that let us move on to some potential blockchain use cases for IoT which can help in making our lives better.
What are the different blockchain IoT use cases?
People are becoming tech-savvy day by day and that day is not far when everyone will own an IoT device.
In fact, estimates state that the number of IoT devices will reach 30 billion by 2020. Also, the global market value of IoT will reach 7.1 trillion U.S. dollars by 2020.
So, why not include blockchain to make things better? Let us take a detailed look at some use cases of blockchain and IoT.
Smart city and smart homes
Today, there are a plethora of household smart IoT devices that are able to completely automate our home lives. These devices include sensors, TVs, refrigerators, surveillance cameras etc. However, only authorized people can control all the IoT devices of a smart home from a remote site.
Well, how does the information transfer takes place across the network? The information from devices and sensors travels to a central server or gateway. This gateway connects to an enabled controlling device like a smartphone or computer. But, the main problem that arises here is maintaining the security of the information. Besides, this information can be prone to intrusions too.
That is why the blockchain technology is the best friend of IoT here.
Let us take a look at how blockchain can assist IoT devices.
- Improved security: By recording communication and control information as transactions in the distributed ledger, one can improve the security of smart home systems.
- Privacy and confidentiality: Blockchain can help in improving privacy through symmetric cryptography with algorithms like the AES. Also, it can improve the integrity of the transaction by hashing functions. Besides, time-stamping and proper encapsulation will ensure robust security too.
- Verification: The distributed storage facility of blockchain will make it difficult to erase or corrupt any information. Further, any investigation can verify such information and check if someone is trying to tamper the information. Also, one can reject any unauthorized transactions.
For instance, Waltonchain is an organisation that is working towards a Smart City Revolution. It will soon be one of the top 10 projects by 2020. Actually, it is both a hardware (microchips) and a software (blockchain) project. It helps in offering numerous solutions for powering a smart city. Besides, it also helps in the management of supply chains with blockchain.
Supply Chain Management and smart contracts
Contractual negotiations are a necessity during the delivery of goods and services to retailers from the manufacturers. Besides, the shipping process begins after the signing of contracts. However, the shipping process is cumbersome and involves a lot of parties like the local shipping agency, ports, customs officials, carriers, customs services, delivery agents and the customers.
In fact, at each point, there is a whole sequence of messages and acknowledgements. These start from the manufacturers to the customer acknowledging the receipt of the shipment. Besides, current trading policies provide the details of the payment process to the supplier too.
This is where the blockchain technology and smart contracts can help during the chain of events. Let us see how.
- It helps to manage a supply chain in a smooth, verifiable, and secure manner.
- One can enter into or query the distributed ledger with all the transactions. Also, one can record and verify documents and events at each stage simultaneously.
Public Health care
It is a fact that IoT has immense potential to improve the healthcare that we receive today. From health records to clinical trials, it has transformed and improved everything.
In fact, these improvements are helping in saving time and removing the need for doctors. But, that is only one side of the whole scenario because blockchain is going to be a game changer for IoT.
- Counterfeit drugs: Blockchain and IoT can play a huge role in controlling the use of counterfeit drugs worldwide. Moreover, there can be a physical stamping of location with an identifier for each genuine drug that enters a blockchain ledger. If a party has to determine the authenticity of drugs, it can query the blockchain. Even details of manufacturing can be easily found. Thus, one can track and eliminate all forged drugs.
- Electronic medical records: Blockchain will allow people to maintain their own health records. Also, doctors can access them anytime and anywhere. Besides, IoT devices will enable real-time monitoring of health in an easy way. Such devices can record data to our medical records too. Then doctors will be able to access large amounts of data about a patient’s health.
For instance, if a patient is overdoing his exercise, smart devices can record it to their medical records. Further, such devices can also warn them in the form of a beeping noise.
- Smart watches and other devices: IoT devices can monitor heart rates when people go for jogging. Moreover, they are boon for patients with heart conditions. This is because doctors can use a smart monitoring device for recording their heart health and blood pressure.
One popular blockchain IoT use case for healthcare is the Mediledger project. It is an open and decentralized network for the pharma supply chain. Some of its advantages include patient safety, drug supply security and compliance with track and trace regulations.
Natural disasters or man-made disasters like collapsing of a large building, terrorist attacks can be a threat to public safety. They have the potential to cause major injury and loss of life. Also, they lead to societal disruptions and property damage.
Moreover, the government normally tackles such critical incidents with from fire, police, and health services. Besides, they communicate over networks to record communications. In fact, these recordings can work as evidence for people who seek compensation for damage they suffered in such accidents.
Also, the media always helps in protecting the public interest against any malpractice by creating awareness. This is where the blockchain can assist to record digital communications. Actually, they can also encode the communication details as entries in the distributed ledger. This will ensure that all communication records are authentic.
Moreover, mechanisms like the Bitcoin wallet can help in querying the records. Thus, their access to the communications will be authentic and documented. So, the media, litigants, and defendants will always be able to access verified facts.
To sum up, blockchain and IoT is a great combination of technologies. The above use cases show a clear picture of how we can transform everything with blockchain and IoT. But, those aren’t the only ones.
The combination of IoT and distributed ledger technology provides faster transactions. Also, the data transactions using smart contracts make the process more efficient. Further, the ability to take autonomous decisions by devices is also another advantage. From supply chain management to public safety, the blockchain-IoT duo works for the best. So, what do you think about blockchain IoT applications?