Can Blockchain Strengthen the Internet of Things (IoT)?


The Internet of Things and Blockchain are two disruptive technologies that we have leveraged for numerous technological innovations across multiple industries and niches. But have you ever thought about the impact that one of these technologies might pose over others?

blockchain, IoT, Internet of Things

Well, that’s an intriguing question to find an answer to, right!

With this blog, I intend to answer if or not Blockchain strengthens the Internet of Things.

Let’s first get a basic overview of what is IoT?

The Internet of Things (IoT) connects products with people and places. While doing so, it assists in offering opportunities for capturing and creating values.

You might wonder how these interconnections work?

Sophisticated and specifically-designed sensors, chips, and actuators are embedded into physical items, which then continuously transmit data to the IoT network. Now, the IoT system’s analytics capabilities leverage the data collected to convert the insights into action. These collecting and exchanging data have introduced the concept of devices and appliances being ‘Smart.’

What are the standard Internet of Things (IoT) Applications?

  • Wearables
  • Smart TV
  • Smart Home
  • Smart Car
  • Smart Farming
  • Smart Health
  • Smart City
  • Smart Appliances

Now, when you’re aware of how exactly IoT performs its actions, we must discuss how Blockchain may strengthen IoT and its adoption in our daily lives.

Blockchain & IoT

As you all might know, Blockchain, at its core, is a cryptographically secured, distributed ledger, which enables the secure transfer of data between parties.

And, as you might have already guessed, all the conventional IoT-based systems are dependent on a centralized architecture. All the data collected from the devices connected to the IoT system is processed using analytics and is then sent back to the IoT devices.

With an increasing number of devices connected to an IoT network (this number is expected to be in billions), such a centralized system might fail in offering the required scalability, putting the whole system at risk.

Incompetency of the IoT network to handle the data and connections might compromise network security and grow exponentially expensive over time. Also, if there would exist a constant need to perform checks on the network for authenticity and security, the system might become slow.

Vulnerabilities of the Internet of Things

Based on the above discussion, we can conclude that increasing IoT networks’ adoption might lead to potential concerns in its security and scalability.

The constant threat of IoT devices suffering from security vulnerabilities makes them an easy target for DDoS attacks, Distributed Denial of Service. These unsecured IoT networks might also become an easy target for cyber-criminals, who can swiftly exploit the weak security to hack and launch DDoS attacks.

There have been many DDoS attacks in the past, causing unrest within organizations and individuals. (Let me know in the comment section if you’ve heard about any such DDoS attacks on IoT networks!)

According to Gartner’s forecast, Internet of Things endpoints are going to grow at a compound annual rate of 32%, and by 2021 the number of base units is to touch the 25.1 billion mark. As the number of devices connected via an IoT system grows, scalability emerges as another issue to contemplate.

How can Blockchain address the vulnerabilities of IoT networks?

Blockchain technology can effectively be introduced and embedded within the IoT’s core network to alleviate the scalability and security concerns.

Let’s find out how?

 

  • Bringing transparency to the system. Blockchain will only allow the network’s access to authorized personnel to check the previous transactions performed in the network. Such clarity in transactions will establish a reliable method to identify the sources of any data leakages and perform prompt corrective action.
  • Blockchain, with its distributed ledger, is tamper-proof. It literally can’t be manipulated by any directly concerned or third parties. Hence, when no one holds control over the devices’ data, the trust in the IoT network can be intact.
  • Adding a robust level of encryption. When storing the generated and collected data of an IoT network on Blockchain, we might end up adding an additional layer of security to it. The top-notch level of encryption presented by Blockchain makes it virtually impossible by any means to overwrite or manipulate the existing data. This will even minimize the attempts made by hackers to use the data.
  • In a blockchain-backed IoT system, we can easily enable quick processing of transactions and establish coordination among billions of connected devices. As the interconnected devices in the IoT network increases, the transparent distributed ledger technology offers a viable solution to support the processing of a considerable number of transactions.
  • These technologies together can also reduce the costs for stakeholders by eliminating the processing overheads. Moreover, by being transparent and tamper-proof, Blockchain backed IoT systems will enable trust among the users.
  • Not to forget, the most talked-about innovations smart contracts, which is an agreement between two parties stored in the Blockchain, can also enable the secure execution of contractual agreements. These smart contracts can be based on specific criteria. For example, if the pre-decided conditions are fulfilled for a transaction, smart contracts can automatically authorize the payments without any human intervention.

What makes Blockchain so compelling for IoT networks?

Blockchain brings standardization, authentication, and trust across all elements of IoT. Below are ways how it solves multiple trust and security-based issues on any IoT network:

 

  • Blockchain can effectively track the sensor data measurements and restrict any sort of duplication with any other malicious data.
  • Deploying an IoT device might be intricate, Blockchain, with its distributed ledger, makes the data transfer process seamless.
  • With a trusted distributed ledger, Blockchain eliminates the need to reach a third party to establish trust. IoT sensors can effectively exchange data through Blockchain.
  • Eliminating the single source of failure, a distributed ledger protects the data within IoT devices from any sort of tampering.
  • Blockchain has been long known and appreciated for eliminating technical bottlenecks and inefficiencies to enable device autonomy, data integrity, and peer-to-peer communication.
  • With no intermediary present in the system, IoT’s operation and deployment costs can be reduced through blockchains introduction in the IoT network.

Wrapping it Up

With all the above analysis, you might have well-understood how Blockchain can strengthen IoT devices and its network.

Blockchain-based IoT Solutions are well-suited for simplifying business methods, realizing significant cost efficiencies, and customer experiences.

Does your IoT device leverage blockchain distribute ledgers? If not! What are you waiting for! With the growing realization of its abilities, Blockchain in Australia has the potential to transform the businesses operating in the IoT niche.

I would love to read your thoughts and experiences around the same. Let’s steer a conversation around it! 

Image source: Shutterstock



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