Monday, March 30, 2015

Internet of Things on a Blockchain Network

The Blockchain meets Internet of Everything Technology

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a realm of technology that has yet to find a defined market. An IoT application offers the ability for devices to communicate between devices for a specific purpose. Usually this communication is limited to a specific device set and are designed to be autonomous. The 2015 Texas Bitcoin Conference unveiled a list of new emerging decentralized IoT applications from their hackathon last Saturday.

IoT applications have yet to capture a large audience because the advantage of connected devices is difficult communicate to the average consumer. Samsung and IBM have recently collaborated together to create future IoT products using blockchain technology. This partnership will work together on IBM’s ADEPT (Autonomous Decentralized Peer-to-Peer Telemetry) concept that melds BitTorrent’s file sharing protocol, Bitcoin currency, Etherium, and peer-to-peer communication protocol Rehash. IBM has acknowledged the following hurdles with adopting IoT Technology:

  • Functional Value
  • Privacy
  • Anonymity
  • Cost effective
  • Outdated Business Models

Blockchain’s decentralized ledger brings the IoT model into a new threshold. As the device is created it can be recorded into the blockchain and referenced at any point during the life of the product. A sidechain can be created to manage Internet of Things applications. Sidechains have the ability to operate with larger blocks then the Bitcoin blockchain and even shorter transaction validation times. Sidechain transactions can still be validated on Bitcoin's blockchain through an initial block recording on the blockchain before transferring to an altcoin sidechain. This method maintains the validity of recorded transactions on the sidechain Transaction inputs are validated on sidechains through this decentralized system. When IoT transactions are confirmed, a driver can be dispatched (Uber), or a bed can be reserved (AirBnB) after the transaction is recorded.

This is unuseful to a majority of consumers. There has been adoption of the internet in everyday consumer devices such as cars in the past but have been only designed around increased sales and not usability. IBM suggests that the future of IoT could be in improving the user experience with IoT products. The car could operate with live updates about road conditions or traffic outlooks for your prefered routes. Currently, accessing services through IoT applications are made easier through “Click to Link your Social Media Profile” prompts. These easy-of-use applications make revenue through selling consumer information and IBM believes that this is not a sustainable business trend.

Another current issue for IoT adoption stems from compatibility. Devices created five to ten years ago are not guaranteed to interact with newer devices. Technology is evolving too quickly for past generation devices to continue to work for longer than a decade. Connecting devices to the internet to interact between each one another digitally removes the compatibility issues between devices. LivelyGig is one of the Texas Bitcoin Conference applications to propose a blockchain solution for IoT technology.

LivelyGig - Github
Captured from Figure 1 of LivelyGig's Whitepaper

LivelyGig is offering an IoT employment services portal to connect skilled workers to employers through smart contracts. This is a new business avenue as it removes a traditional intermediary service by connecting the contractor to the client without friction. Individual skill portals such as, or offer pay-per-content business models, but there has yet to be a decentralized platform for these type of business exchanges. Headhunters and agencies normally pool talented freelance workers together to provide managers the skills needed for various projects. The demand however is based on the prices negotiated by the intermediary and the contracting firm. Prices can be competitive and the benchmark for services will be consensus driven. Creating decentralized job services that can be posted on a sidechain creates a usable recall list for qualified individuals with no need for an intermediary.

Full-time, part-time, freelance and micro-tasks can be tasked without friction or delay of an intermediary. If a prospective job seeker does not meet the specifications of the posted transaction on the sidechain, the transaction requirements will not be met and the contract will not be validated or initiated. LivelyGig hopes to partner with current job portal services to transform the job offering business landscape.

Imagine a mainframe that can only be maintained by a handful of individuals and they are spread out across the country. The firm or the manufacturer that is leasing the mainframe can create parameters that will be monitored for the life of the product. As the mainframe continues to run, a vital problem occurs and the mainframe experiences a critical failure. IBM will be able to create a process for when the mainframe fails, to post a specific freelance request on LivelyGig almost instantly. A qualified individual with the correct inputs can request to complete the job and ‘sign’ the contract posting and immediately depart to the site where the mainframe is located.

There is not enough reliable information about Neural or BitWave to write about those applications at this time, but a further look into similar services can give a view through the looking glass. As IoT technology moves forward, better use cases and design structures can emerge. The creation of autonomous interconnected systems can create new interactions with devices that have yet to be envisioned. Keep a close watch on emerging blockchain technology and it’s usefulness with IoT interactions.