4 key areas where blockchain can transform IoT

Blockchain can help alleviate security concerns, enable third party verification and avoid multiple inputs of the same information across IoT devices.

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Blockchain technology is transforming the way IoT is viewed and is impacting on a vast range of industries. It is providing a way to secure networks by preventing compromised devices from wreaking havoc in business processes.

It delivers a unanimous and immutable way to transact and dutifully records all information in a private manner requiring specific permissions, making it a very useful tool to regulate IoT devices. As it is a shared, unchangeable ledger of transactions, it offers a sense of trust and accountability across business processes.

The beauty of the blockchain dynamic is that no single entity has dominion over the records. It is a single recorded instance of the transaction distributed across parties with varying permission levels. The upshot of this is that if disaster strikes one node or connection, it does not change or lose the record, as it still remains in its single, unaltered state across remaining nodes.

Blockchain technology seeks to revolutionize business processes taking labor and paper intensive processes performed on multiple networks and combining them to leverage the single distributed ledger that will serve to streamline practices and reduce costs for companies. Multi-person processes are rendered almost instantaneous by the blockchain and smart contracts embedded within transactions, serve to ensure rules and conditions are met by simply executing said transaction.

A further advantage of this technology is that it negates the need for third party verification as the transactions are immutable and essentially already verified by their mere existence. This saves companies money and resources as well as garnering an atmosphere of trust and transparency.

Let’s look at four key areas where blockchain technology is transforming the IoT domain.

1. Leveraging blockchain to improve workflow and provide instant overviews

In the shipping industry, this technology is highly valuable in controlling the various documents at each step of the protocol. The supply chain is considerably complex and hindered by the volume of inter-communication points. It is estimated that up to one-fifth of transportation costs are associated with document processing and administration.

The technology allows each participant, based on permission levels, to view any aspect of the supply chain and status of the documents in real time. No document can be modified or deleted without network consensus thus providing a means of automatic verification.

IBM and Maersk have teamed up to address these issues by implementing blockchain to handle the work flow and keep track of paper trails. The transparency of the system will reduce fraud and mistakes, as well as improve inventory management and enhance the overall process saving the industry millions.

2. Managing asset life cycles on a blockchain

Blockchain can be used to record just about anything and is not limited to transactional data. Thus there is a niche in the potential of this technology for managing assets, with regard to history, maintenance, breakdowns, and ownership. These parameters can often remain unmeasured and result in critical failure due to lack of resources and segregation of records.

For example, an aircraft has a typically long life cycle with various owners and changing parts. It is imperative to know which parts have been replaced and when. By combing IoT, instrumentation and device authentication, an irrefutable provenance can be established for every part in an incontrovertible record. This allows reliability and safety to be traced by both passengers and prospective buyers.

Furthermore, damaging events such as hard landings, can be tracked by IoT devices and permanently recorded on the blockchain, which is critical information regarding the reliability of the aircraft for all stakeholders.

3. Using blockchain to manage infrastructure

In the telecommunications industry, network management is facilitated by the FCAPS (Fault, configuration, accounting, performance, and security) model. There are problems with service level agreement enforcement due to the inordinate volumes of data. Blockchain technology can help restructure the FCAPS across multiple domains thus enabling tracking of several suppliers and vendors participation.

This has value for any industry where there is a need to record processes that span an extensive network of associated organizations. For example, in transportation, energy and water industries it will be possible to discern vital indicators at all levels and result in transparency for all involved parties.

4. Guaranteeing the safety and reliability of the food supply chain

Consumers are becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the origins of store bought food. Blockchain can be used to track and trace ingredients from multiple sources on a single, distributed ledger. This can simplify a complex and multifaceted process by permitting an instantaneous overview of every step in the chain.

This has consequences particularly for processed foods, where the provenance of ingredients is widespread. By implementing each step as a transaction in a blockchain, if there is a quality issue, the source can be pinpointed precisely and action can be taken quickly.

Blockchain technology is transforming the way IoT devices are connected. The decentralized, distributed ledger can help alleviate security concerns, enable third party verification and avoid multiple inputs of the same information. In short, it is a convenient, safe and unassailable resource that is changing the industry as we know it.

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