The Internet of Things or IoT is a network of connected devices that can collect and exchange information.
The Internet of Things makes it possible for platforms to provide devices with a shared Internet connection so that these devices can store their data. It also provides a common language to devices so that they can communicate with each other in order to give some advantages to the users.
These days, communication devices (sensors) are located in our appliances such as cell phones, TVs, indoor temperature control systems, cars, traffic lights, industrial equipment etc. These sensors continually send information about the position of connected devices and provide the ability to exchange information over the Internet.
The IoT platform then analyzes the data to extract important information and shares them with other devices to start a new command or operation. The result is a more pleasurable experience, a larger system of automation, and increased efficiency for humans.
For example, in the manufacturing sector, all components and machines can be equipped with sensors that continuously send health information to the mobile operators of the system. This way, potential problems can be identified and resolved before they harm the system and save companies time and cost.
As a sample, along with the components of the product directly provided to the customer (such as air conditioners), a sensor can be equipped to send information about the health and temperature of the system. Information will be continuously downloaded and analyzed on the IoT network, and if there is a problem, then the customer service department will repair it before it even gets you into trouble.
The IoT applications are almost infinite and can be used in everything; from controlling the proper functioning of medical devices within the body of patients to struggle against cutting of forest trees around the world.
But IoT networks are not so flawless. These devices are constantly exchanging very important information through the Internet. This will make them the main target for the hackers. Hence, privacy and security will be two main concerns of the IoT.
One of the most widespread attacks on data has been the DDOS attack, which has disrupted Internet services for nearly all parts of the American coastline, including Twitter, Netflix and Reddit.
In another security attack, a Jeep vehicle was hacked in order to detect some of the vulnerabilities in the vehicles connected to the Internet and the resulting consequences.
Another of these dangers was the 50,000 FDA heart rate regulators in 2017. Hackers could interfere with the functioning of the pacemaker in the patient’s body due to security breaches.
The affects of blockchain in the IoT sector to overcome the bottlenecks
The core of a blockchain is a distributed, encrypted, and secure the ledger that provides us with the possibility of secure exchange of information.
Traditional IoT systems are dependent on centralized engineering. The data is sent from the device to a cloud storage location, where information is processed through analysis and then back to the device connected to the IoT. The scalability of this centralized system will be very limited by connecting billions of devices to the IoT network in the coming years, and network security will be compromised at many points. Also, if third parties are to continuously verify and approve every small transaction between devices, it will become a slow and costly system.
Smart contracts in blockchain networks will create an agreement for devices that will be executed if requirements are met and will enable them to operate safely and independently. Thus, the exchange of information will be less costly, more scalable, and more independent (no third party needs to monitor transactions). This smart contract can also prevent the intent of people who want to abuse this information. In such systems, data is distributed throughout a decentralized encrypted security network. This will make it difficult to tamper with the data.
Eventually, in a centralized network, the likelihood of failure is just a small mistake. In a decentralized blockchain, the risk is reduced through millions of nodes that transfer data in peer to peer (P2P) systems, and the rest of the IoT network works without problems.
The leading challenges for blockchain in IoT
In this area, there are great steps to be taken, but the IoT blockchain software is very extraordinary, and there are a number of important challenges that we face before benefiting from it.
Can the blockchain network handle the large scale of data that IoT devices create in the next five to ten years without slowing transactions or data flow?
The Internet of Things does not specifically use a decentralized blockchain network to solve the problem, but instead uses the Tangle platform. But this is just a project. The problem of scalability has long been found in more prominent protocols such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, and are not appropriate for the amount of data that IoT devices provide.
The decentralized blockchains provide a high level of security. But how vulnerable are the IoT devices connected to the network? (If there is a problem), these devices should be as safe and secure as possible to prevent hackers from getting access to them.
If we really want to take advantage of interconnected smart devices, we need to consider cross-channel interoperability. And if not, we can be in a position to connect to several decentralized isolated networks that work well for the purpose they are designed to, but they are not able to communicate with other devices because they are not designed for this.
Agreements and regulations
The assignment of responsibility should be taken seriously. Also, how to set up smart contracts out of blockchain world should be specified.
For example, if an Internet-connected medical device inside the body of a patient which operates through a smart contract hurts the patient, who is responsible for this?
Is this responsibility of the manufacturer or the IoT platform? If the IoT platform is based on blockchain, then a controlling entity is not monitoring it. So who should take responsibility?