Blockchain technologies have long been perceived as an important element for the future of the internet of things(IOT) market. However, with some exceptions, the applications of blockchain stacks to IOT have remained mostly as a theoretical exercise. Last week, a new technology consortium was created with the purpose to advance blockchain applications in the IOT space.
Cisco, Bosch, FoxConn, Gemalto are some of the founding companies of a new consortium that will focus on exploring how blockchain technologies can be used to improved IOT applications. The organization also includes thought leaders in the blockchain space such as blockchain startup studio Consensus Systems (ConsenSys).
The blockchain-IOT consortium follows the path of similar efforts on other industries. In the financial sector, the R3 consortium has brought together more than 40 banks and has delivered impressive blockchain solutions applied to the banking industry. By following this approach, the new Blockchain-IOT consortium can capitalize on a large opportunity for creating standards and solutions to streamline the adoption of blockchain IOT technologies.
Some Cool Blockchain-IOT Ideas
The opportunities for blockchain technologies in IOT are tremendous but there are some that seem more practical than others considering the current state of blockchain technology stacks. Here are some ideas that I think could be relevant in the space in the near future:
1 — Device Smart Contracts
Technologies such as Ethereum Smart Contracts offer a robust foundation for modeling the capabilities of IOT devices so that they can operate as part of a blockchain network. By standarizing on Smart Contract protocols, IOT devices can leverage a uniform mechanism to transact with other devices.
2 — Device-toDevice Transactions
Following on the previous point, Smart Contract protocols would allow IOT devices to exchange assets, money without the need of a centralized hub. That model could be the foundation of device-todevice autonomous commerce.
3 — IOT Device Identity and Data Protection
Blockchain technologies have created new models for decentralized public key infrastructures(OKI). That capability could be a unique asset to protect device identities and data in an IOT network.
4 — Supply chain is one of the often overlooked areas of the IOT market that can be revolutionized using the blockchain. The distributed ledger can provide unique visibility throughout the supply chain process of IOT devices.
5 — Device Activity Record
Blockchains provide a unique opportunity to maintain a universal, trusted record of the activity in IOT devices. This historical record can be used as a form of identity and credentials that IOT devices can present to join a specific IOT network. There
These are just some of the initial ideas that could be achievable in the short term by applying blockchain technologies in the IOT space. Certainly, the blockchain-IOT consortium is an exciting development to advance blockchain IOT applications.