Internet of Things (IoT) is a technology that has being talked about for several years now. The idea is very intriguing: connected devices acting autonomously, and communicating amongst themselves on a global scale is something that could change the way the world works. However, so far this dream has failed to convert itself into reality. One of the biggest issues with this is machine-to-machine communication. Over time, every manufacturer will come up with their own machine-to-machine (M2M) protocols. However, the a lot of different M2M communication protocols may make it troublesome to integrate products and services. This is where blockchain technology could potentially help IoT.
Blockchain and its decentralized nature are clearly the savior of the original IoT vision. The real promise blockchain brings to IoT is to automate trusted services through code intermediating the flow of data. This is not just between companies and their customers – but across entire ecosystems. The technology makes it impossibly hard for hackers to corrupt the data through increased authentication and its inherent property of immutability. With this, blockchain also has the potential to deliver cross-platform compatibility and manage millions of connected devices on various platforms by making a standard machine-to-machine smart contract.
“By 2019, as IoT adoption grows in major industries, governments, and consumer sectors, 20 percent of all IoT deployments will have basic levels of blockchain services enabled.” – IDC
As of today, IoT finds a majority of its use-cases in remote watching, device automation, and information collection. Within the next decade, it will have self-governing interactions of connected devices. These devices will be capable of making smart choices on their own without needing any human assistance.
In the future, blockchain will boost IoT economy with Machine-to-Machine interactions. For example, a smart fridge will be able to deduce the time for replenishing and will automatically make an order using smart contracts, and submit payment for the purchased items using crypto.
Communication Gap: Issues Associated with Blockchain in IoT
In any major IoT network, there will be a need for billions of devices to stream data and interact continuously. Blockchain technology, currently, is not equipped to deal with this type of transaction throughput.
Somewhat related to this is the cost of emitting transactions on a blockchain. Transaction fees make a lot of older blockchains unsuitable for the type of continuous micropayments that are typical in M2M communication.
However, the idea of blockchain-based IoT is still on the cards. An intensive amount of research at companies like Blaze Protocol focuses on making high-throughput no-fee decentralized network a reality. Specialized IoT-focused networks are also in development. IOTA is an ambitious project replacing the blockchain data structure with a directed acyclic graph, doing away with blocks and having no transaction fees.
Blockchain and IoT’s combination is something that the entire industry is looking forward to. The technology is creating a promising future of secure and efficient M2M interconnectivity.