How Blockchain Will Accelerate The Internet Of Things

Alex Flitton
Jul 12, 2018 8:05:00 AM

The Internet of Things has a security problem, and it is because of how device data, requests and other traffic are processed. Right now, IoT companies are looking for a fast, secure and automated way of processing transactions through a mesh network. The upside? Blockchain is the perfect fit and here’s why:

Edge Computing

A big challenge that IoT device manufacturers have is making devices communicate faster to the central server. No one likes a slow smartphone, so if a $200K smart car can’t drive itself or perform safety features because the individual IoT components can’t communicate quickly enough, it becomes a really expensive, and dangerous Prius.

Edge Computing moves the task of processing data away from the cloud and moves it closer to the device itself. According to the book Pocket Data Mining, “This approach requires leveraging resources that may not be continuously connected to a network such as autonomous vehicles, implanted medical devices, fields of highly distributed sensors, and mobile devices.”

That means, in a decentralized network, a.k.a. blockchain in an IoT network, the devices could authenticate transactions and execute them based on predetermined rules and logic – without the need of a central server.

Decentralization

The next way blockchain technology can improve IoT device security is through decentralized data exchange. This method brings scalable, distributed security to IoT devices, applications and platforms because of the hashing algorithms it uses to create unchangeable data records. Better yet, this important information can be encrypted and later accessed only through public and private keys. 

Smart contract software, which is self-executing code that is embedded on each IoT device chip, determines what action to take when a condition is met. Those actions would only be executed when an incoming transaction is authenticated. This is a more efficient method because blockchain ledgers decrease the time it takes to complete tasks.

Potential Applications

There are a variety of applications where this technology could be incredibly helpful. One example comes from the pharmaceutical world where, by law, medicine is required to be shipped and stored at specific temperatures. The tricky part, is the temperature data must be recorded so companies can be held accountable for regulatory compliance.

To meet this need, devices that are capable of communicating with the blockchain ledgers can provide updates to smart contracts. So, as a package shipment progresses, for example, regular updates can be sent to the blockchain so each side of a transaction can make sure the terms of a contract are met.

Increased Security

Typically, in a network, the greater number of access points that are added, the greater security risk that exists. The best part about a distributed blockchain, is with each new access point, additional data gets added to the block chain making it harder to hack. So, a network with a million individual nodes becomes nearly impossible to hack into.

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