We have seen so many properties and use cases of blockchain so far and understood how blockchain is revolutionising most of the fields to provide security, transparency and immutability. Thus changing the ecosystem from centralised to decentralised. Now let us see how the combination of blockchain and other innovative technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) can be brought together to achieve wonders.
What is IoT?
IoT stands for Internet of Things. We all know what the internet is, but what does the internet of the things mean? IoT means the extension of internet connectivity to everyday objects and physical devices that we use daily. When these objects are embedded with electronics, internet connectivity and other forms of hardware, especially sensors. These devices can connect and communicate to interact with others over the internet. We can also monitor and control them remotely.
Applications of IoT when integrated with Blockchain
Most people are already familiar with the concept of IoT as IoT enables “the concept of smart home”. Hence let us take the example of devices which utilize smart home features. Air conditioning in the house, when embedded with IoT, enables us to switch on the AC before we reach home and makes the house cool enough.
When the predefined temperature is met, the appliance switches i itself off, thus saving electricity. When it comes to kitchen appliances, it makes our life so easy by ordering groceries itself when the predefined limit is set. To enable this feature, we store the groceries in containers embedded with IoT sensors and thus linking this device to the amazon app to get the delivery at our doorstep. We can extend the application to most of the devices at home. We already have products like amazon echo and google home to connect and control different smart home products with just our voice.
IoT blockchain enables the end-user to manage home security remotely from the smartphone. The traditional approach lacks security and ownership of the information. Blockchain could play a significant role in taking the safety of the smart home to the next level by securing the data generated by the smart devices. Sensitive data like biometric data, voice recognition and facial recognition are stored in the blockchain, and the access can be given to only the right people.
Medical and Healthcare
There are many unique applications of IoT in medical and health care as these devices enable remote health monitoring and send emergency notifications as per the parameters maintained.
Medical devices, like pacemakers embedded in the heart to fitness devices, can send the status of our vital functions to the relevant systems and give us timely warning towards any unexpected health emergencies.
Elderly care is made easy with IoT devices using virtual home assistants and smart speakers. Next-gen medical alert products can communicate with emergency services automatically in the event of a detected fall or incident. The sensors create a network of intelligent sensors that collect, process, transfer, and analyse valuable information in different environments, such as connecting in-home monitoring devices to hospital-based systems.
With blockchain-enabled IoT devices, patients can control access to the data that devices collect. By granting and revoking access to the sensitive data, the users can make sure the data is being used appropriately. Moreover, whoever accesses the data can be stored as a transaction in the blockchain, thus making sure who uses our data. Therefore, users or companies who are concerned about the misuse of their data can incorporate blockchain in their IoT devices.
Blockchain IoT can be used in the SCM, especially in the pharmaceutical supply chain. We can use devices embedded with sensors to constantly update the origin, temperature and location of the medicine. This can work wonders for the industry by eliminating a lot of wastage.
Swiss Post launched a program using blockchain and IoT that tracks the temperature of the drugs sent through the mail to the patients. The sensors try to maintain the predefined temperature throughout the journey. Insulin is one such drug which should be kept at a specific temperature to ensure non-wastage. By sharing this information with the insurers and consumers, they are assured the drug is safe to consume.
The industrial internet of things (IIOT) implements IoT technologies directly to industries and increase its efficiency and productivity by driving the operational costs down. It is a common practice in industrial equipment to perform preventive and predictive maintenance to ensure efficiency and less downtime of the machines involved.
The deployment of IIOT sensors in the machinery will alert the wear and tear of the machinery at regular intervals. With the help of these alerts, any defective part can be replaced in no time to ensure optimal productivity. Miniature sensors, like smart dust, can be used by the oil and gas industry to detect rock movements. This allows the detection of gas or oil under the surface.
This process saves a lot of money, as the oil and gas industry is capital intensive. Agriculture can be immensely improved with the help of IIOT by using sensors to monitor the wide area of fields. To ensure the quality of food in the supply chain and to track the farming operations using the combination of IIOT and satellite imagery.
By storing the information generated by IIOT sensors in the blockchain, the industry will have a massive amount of data which can be classified and analysed on the big data analytics platforms. Since this data is being stored in the blockchain, the data cannot be tampered with. We can analyse the machinery behaviour at any point in time and prevent any disasters from occurring.
The data collected by the sensors embedded in the agriculture fields can be stored in the blockchain. It is thus allowing the farmers to presell their crops, even while they are harvesting through smart contracts. This enables farmers to receive faster payments without any intermediaries or delays.
This is a win-win situation for the farmers, companies and consumers involved as this precisely enables the provenance tracking through IoT blockchain. The consumer knows all the places where the food has been before it reaches his plate.
Autonomous vehicles are growing in number day by day but still not completely reliable due to various factors. The autonomous vehicles can be made reliable by the vast amount of data that can be collected by the inbuilt sensors. This allows the automotive industry to offer better solutions.
Real-time monitoring of the vehicle can be done by the automotive companies and thus efficiently deliver the requisite updates on time. Call back the vehicle for any defective part as we keep hearing about a lot of manufacturers call back a particular batch of vehicles to replace a defective part. Connected cars also help the management to automate a car servicing appointment at the nearest service centre.
By combining the IoT and blockchain in the automotive industry, things like automated fuel payment, smart parking can be achieved. The smart parking makes it easy to find an empty space in a parking lot by real-time detection of the vehicles. IoT sensors detect the parking duration by the IoT sensors embedded in the vehicles, and the bill can be paid directly through the linked crypto wallet.
We are in the midst of Digitalization era now, and soon it is going to be the era of Personalization. To achieve Personalization, a lot of personal data is required, which will be collected through the IoT devices embedded in our daily lives.
Hence to safeguard and prevent the misuse of data, the combination of IoT and Blockchain is inevitable. Therefore it is safe to say that the blockchain and IoT can be called as best friends with all the wonders the technology combination has achieved so far. And of course, there will be so much progress in the near future.