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How can Blockchain revolutionize Internet of Things (IoT)

Published on 16 April 18

As technology changes the way we live our day-to-day lives, it is fascinating to imagine what the future will bring. We live in the age where we are soon going to be surrounded by disruptive technologies like Blockchain, IoT, Machine Learning, AR/VR, etc., you will unleash the power, and potential of these technologies to see your lives changing leap and bounds, but it will not happen in a fortnight.

Though all these technologies have seen a few implementations, IoT has been the most prominent of them all until date. Considering the predictions from Gartner, there will be more than 20 billion connected things by 2020. This is a huge number. The Internet of Things is rapidly expanding its potential to transform everyday life with connected cars, smart homes, connected wearables, smart cities, farms and manufacturing facilities. The possibilities are endless and the development is already taking place, however, the current internet infrastructure is unlikely to be able to support this IoT revolution.

With so many devices connected to each other through the internet, management and security are a big concern. In a research by IDC, it estimates that 90% of the organizations that implement Internet of Things (IoT) will suffer an IoT based breach of the back-end system by 2017.
Problems with IoT

The current IoT ecosystem works on centralized communication and data management model which is also known as client/server paradigm. All IoT enabled devices are connected to each other through a cloud that allows storage and processing of the data. Connection to these devices go through internet and with so much happening on a server, it can be overloaded making the entire system vulnerable to cyber-attack. Even if you use large server farms, this remains a possibility.

If we take the discussion to smart homes, this is again relevant and the probability would be even higher. For smart homes to function well on IoT, they would have a small server set-up locally and it will be easy for a hacker to take control of it exposing every bit of your personal information.

But if we can decentralize the data and improve the connectivity between the devices, we can overcome these problems. This is where Blockchain comes into play.
What is Blockchain?
Blockchain is distributed, immutable and cryptographically secured ledger, which is owned by everyone in network. Blockchain owes its name to the way it stores transaction data – in blocks, which are linked together through chain. All these blocks in Blockchain have their unique hash for identification, are of limited size, and linked together by pointing to their previous block. In simple words, Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoins, is an open database to create and store data in a secured way.

The major advantage that Blockchain bring is it is public. Every participant in the network can see the data blocks and information stored in it. But this does not mean everyone can see the actual content, as each block is protected by private key. Another big advantage is security. The database can only be expended and previous records cannot be altered. In addition, when someone wants to tamper the data, he cannot do it without the consensus of all the participants.
What can Blockchain bring to IoT?

Blockchain technology is the missing link to secured communication in IoT. By adding Blockchain, we can have a secured mesh network that will allow IoT devices to interconnect reliably and avoid the threats that are prevalent in central server models. This decentralized approach would eliminate single point of failure, creating a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on. The cryptographic algorithm in Blockchain would make data more private.

Moreover, the ledger developed by Blockchain is temper-proof and cannot be altered by malicious actors because it doesn’t exist in any single location. Man-in-the-middle cannot happen as well as there is no single line of communication. Blockchain makes peer-to-peer communication possible and bitcoins are a great proof of it.

These capabilities make Blockchain a fundamental element of IoT solutions. It is not a surprise that enterprise IoT Technologies have become one of the early adopters of trust technologies.

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