Any company that involves IoT must start to think in terms of IoT and Blockchain now, mostly because a combination of both these technologies gives the best of both to a business.
The world as we know it has been taken over by IoT. Digitalisation has made our way of doing business smarter, our lives easier and has created a future that holds immense possibilities. Needless to say, it has gained much popularity and has made its presence felt across all aspects of the world. Business, finance, environment name anything, IoT is everywhere. For those areas that have not been touched by IoT well, there is ‘work in progress’. It is an undisputed fact that IoT has bestowed our world with a plethora of benefits, but it has a lot of limitations as well.
IoT is Fragmented in Nature
The IoT market is very fragmented in nature. Whoever knows an IoT market knows that there are many standards and vendors to it. This results in an uncertainty about the technology, vendors and solutions in the minds of people. Another question that arises with this technology is the concern of interoperability and its solutions. All these together make adoption of IoT very slow.
Safety of Data
Data is naturally the biggest asset in IoT. However, the solutions that are provided do not protect data through its complete lifecycle. In IoT data is stored in the cloud but there is no solution provided for things like compromised integrity of devices and tampering with data that might happen at the source level.
IoT uses technologies like PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) to encrypt data and store it in cloud. This process creates a lot of load and results in a rise of scalability limitations. The centralised architecture that defines IoT solutions leads to resiliency issues as well; the reason being the transactions that are processed in the cloud are unavailable to the cloud resources. Any minute problem here could lead to a complete failure of one’s business operations.
The Blockchain technology helps to remove these limitations. Here’s how?
The nature of Blockchain technology is characterised by being a distributed ledger that can be used to distribute computation and log transactions and business operations. Blockchain has something like Keyless Signature Infrastructure that can be used to provide an integrity of all assets including clouds and devices.
How does it work?
The KSI allows a user to create a cryptographically secure hash for each asset that one needs to protect. It is then stored in the Blockchain. This process allows the user to check if any data has been tampered with. With this technology every change is logged. If there are any unwanted changes, it can be easily detected and immediately acted on. KSI allows not only to log data changes but also to log software and configuration changes. All at a device level. This makes it possible to secure data on cloud throughout its lifecycle. Moreover this technology also removes the drawbacks of cenrtalised coud architectures that arise in terms of computation and resiliency.
But the benefits of Blockchain to IoT are not one sided. True, Blockchain can provide the perfect solution to IoT’s scalability and security issues, but a seamless operation of Blockchain will not be possible without a little help from IoT. Let us look at how IoT makes the functioning of blockchain flawless.
a. Supply Chain:
Let’s take an example of the Blockchain technology in terms of deliverable goods. The distributed ledger of a Blockchain can allow to log when a particular product or goods are leaving the factory, is being loaded on a mode of transport, when it has been unloaded and passed through customs and finally delivered to the customer. Here IoT can be used at the various points of this delivery process to scan and log the type of goods shipped, track the arrival and automatically release payment to the shipping company. The sensors from IoT can also be used to measure simple things like the temperature if the products shipped are perishable goods. This would help in keeping track of simple things like a breach of temperature contract. Goods then can proceed on to be rejected automatically.
- Electronic Health Records:
Blockchain can be used to store Electronic Health Records. These health records with the use of IoT technology can be easily updated by adding sensor data from the medical devices. This will allow doctors to tie a prescription to a patient’s EHR while assessing the patients’ Health Records. Scanners in a pharmacy can then verify if the medication contradicts with the allergies stored in the EHR. Reimbursements can also be automated by this process.
- Removes Tediousness from processing claims:
It is a known fact that getting an insurance policy or processing claims is a very tedious process. The Blockchain technology allows a policy to be defined as a smart contract. Now with the usage of IoT technology one can easily lower the premium for this policy because the asset is monitored and any possible threat can be detected and action taken. Blockchain and IoT can also ensure that insurance companies are free from fraud by ensuring that accurate data is provided to insurance companies. Blockchain and IoT when jointly used can also reduce costs of operations and speed up pay-out for insurance companies.
Blockchain and IoT when used together makes business look smoother than ever. Any company that involves IoT must start to think in terms of IoT and Blockchain now, mostly because a combination of both these technologies gives the best of both to a business. Given the fact that they eliminate all drawbacks related to each other and work wonders as a team it is important for companies to include the technology of both Blockchain and IoT together. The combination of Blockchain and IoT is a trend that is gradually catching up with the technologically sound companies. For those who are still contemplating about a possible step should act on it. A business that goes with the times is a business that tastes success. Switch to the proven benefits of IoT and Blockchain and watch your company’s business operations smooth out.