Empowering the Internet of Things by Blockchain
Blockchain has been mentioned by virtually all research firms as a rapidly accelerating evolution in technology, and it’s not just about financial services companies. For some experts, the Blockchain is even bigger deal than the Internet itself.
So far, there is an extended thought spread around the world that thinks the Blockchain is just the technology behind the Bitcoin. Indeed, it is, but the blockchain is much more than that and their applications go much further than power all cryptocurrencies out there.
In fact, this one-of-a-kind Distributed Ledger Technology has been gaining enormous attention in areas beyond its cryptocurrency roots since more or less 2014: blockchain and security, blockchain and finance or blockchain and logistics are only a few of its uncharted uses.
An announced alliance: Blockchain and Internet of Things
One of the relationships that is gaining ground lately is how the blockchain can (and it probably will) empower the growing Internet Of Things technology.
Actually, the convergence of blockchain and the Internet of Things is on the agenda for many companies and there are existing implementations, solutions and initiatives in several areas, outside of IoT and financial services too.
According to an article by i-scoop, Internet of Things applications are by definition distributed so it’s only normal that the distributed ledger technology, which blockchain is, will play a role in how devices will communicate directly between each other. That is keeping a ledger and thus trail of not just devices but also how they interact and, potentially, in which state they are and how they are ‘handled’ in the case of tagged goods.
Besides, Blockchain is designed as a basis for applications that involve transaction and interactions. These can include smart contracts or other smart applications that support specific Internet of Things processes.
The IoT devices will speak through smart contracts
This way blockchain technology can improve not just compliance in the IoT but also IoT features and cost-efficiency.
This already named alliance has been overseen by IBM Blockchain. Although it is still in the early days, many tech giants have started to research how blockchain can help the IoT and, of course, the other way around.
For IBM Blockchain, the most interesting will be the combination of AI, IoT and blockchain across industries and in myriad possible IoT applications.
“With blockchain we are pretty much adding to the changing digital infrastructure that powers so many evolutions and impacts so many areas, from analytics to security, in an environment that thus far was centralized.” said from IBM.
The company sums up three key benefits of using blockchain for IoT.
Build Trust between parties and devices and reducing risk of collusion and tempering;
Reduce Costs by removing overhead associated with middlemen and intermediaries;
and Accelerate Transactions reducing settlement time from days to near instantaneous.
Those just to name a few.
The IoT savior
However there are many challenges to solve related to this special relationship, specially on technology and future legal issues in the international matter, many experts have seen the Blockchain as the IoT savior.
In fact, Blockchain technology is able to sort out many of these challenges as they have been tested already in other areas.
Blockchain technology could provide a simple infrastructure for two devices to directly transfer a piece of property such as money or data between one another with a secured and reliable time-stamped contractual handshake. To enable message exchanges, IoT devices will leverage smart contracts which then model the agreement between the two parties.
This feature enables the autonomous functioning of smart devices without the need for centralized authority. If you then extend this peer-to-peer transaction to human to human or human to objects/platforms, you end up with a fully distributed trustworthy digital infrastructure.
Although all of these possible applications are still in the early days of development. There are already some ideas for the companies to start with. We just need to think back a few years ago, the IoT were just a might-happen technology. Now, they are already talking about how secure, recorded and monitored can be the communications between objects.
Thanks, of course, to the blockchain.
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At WETEX, Silver Spring Networks, Inc. announced the initial successful completion of the deployment of its multi-application IPv6 network canopy for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA). DEWA’s network canopy extends across the Emirate of Dubai and is based on Silver Spring’s Gen5 technology, which offers high performance, reliability, security and scalability. Silver Spring Networks is now working with DEWA towards final acceptance, with the remaining head-end integration work expected to be completed before the end of the year.
Silver Spring Networks also announced that its Gen5 technology has been integrated into smart meter devices from Honeywell Elster, to connect the first DEWA electric customers to its IoT canopy as a part of the next phase of this modernisation project. DEWA’s infrastructure modernisation efforts support the Smart Dubai initiative, aimed at making Dubai the most innovative smart city in the world.
DEWA provides services for over 700,000 electricity and 600,000 water connections across its service territory, all of which it intends to connect to the network canopy through additional Silver Spring ecosystem partners and future phases of its multi-year modernisation program. These announcements detail the update described during Silver Spring Networks’ second quarter earnings conference call on August 8, 2017.
“DEWA is pleased with its progress for the second smart initiative, Smart Applications through smart meters and Grids, in alignment with the UAE Vision 2021 and the Dubai Plan 2021, which enables DEWA to build a wide and integrated smart grid covering generation, transmission and distribution systems.
We look forward to continuing our collaboration with Silver Spring Networks to bring the company’s proven Internet of Things technology to DEWA customers, first through smart electric services and beyond into other smart applications, which can help contribute to making Dubai the happiest and most innovative city in the world.” said HE Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, MD & CEO of DEWA.
“We’re very pleased to achieve the delivery of the high-performance canopy network – a significant project milestone for DEWA – to help reliably deliver electricity, water and other new services across Dubai,” said Burak Aydin, general manager – EMEA, Silver Spring Networks. “We are committed to offering the newest innovation available through our standards-based technology, and look forward to helping bring smart grid benefits to DEWA customers in Dubai during the next phase of our deployment.”
As a longtime proponent of open standards, Silver Spring’s technology is based on Wi-SUN mesh technology (IEEE 802.15.4.g). Silver Spring’s standards-based networking platform will enable DEWA to support a wide range of device vendors across its network canopy.
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Increased connectivity is everywhere, as technology companies manufacture everything from heating systems to refrigerators, and render them smart and internet-ready. In the same light, modern warehouses are far more than just a facility in which to store inventory. Leveraging Internet of Things (IoT) and the latest supply chain management technologies, a “smart warehouse” can now boost productivity, efficiency and speed throughout the supply chain.
From sensors to wearables and smart equipment, the internet-enabled technology and devices can positively impact the logistic management. Billions of IoT-enabled systems will be in circulation within the next few years, and the impression they will have on how companies control and distribute orders is likely to be substantial, say industry experts at Technavio.
How is IoT transforming warehouse management?
Internet of Things is intelligence personified. Connecting devices at your home or office seamlessly- IoT is also proficient at connecting devices that may not be classically associated with information technology. This creates a treasure trove of data and in the instance of inventory management, enables the creation of smart warehouses.
A smarter, productive and accurate way to manage warehouses utilises the scalability and dependability as offered by the Internet of Things technology. With IoT, every item processed is tracked and recorded on inventory management systems throughout the supply chain procedure. Products can be easily located by ID numbers irrespective of where they are, and if they are inbounding as part of a shipment or are on their way to a customer’s doorstep.
The inner workings of an IoT inspired smart warehouse
Today, cloud-based inventory systems are the most used techniques in warehouses, allowing inventory management systems to give organisations better visibility into their own inventory levels, item location, forecast demand, expiration dates and more. The products usually have a barcode label or a RFID tag, so that they can be scanned and identified by the connected systems.
With the introduction of IoT in warehouse management, the ability to track and communicate with products will significantly increase. RFID tags will now hold more information about an object and will be proficient at communicating that information to an inventory system. RFID tags will be built into items, which can precisely send data about temperature, traffic, damage to the object, weather and much more.
IoT’s versatility is a key factor in effective warehouse management
Internet of Things is poised to rejuvenate the global delivery and logistics industry, relieving undue stresses that are building up due to non-strategic management, and impacting the companies, retailers and consumers alike. Additionally, IoT also has a progressive role to play in other related industrial verticals as well. Conclusively, IoT vendors are stepping into an era of tremendous opportunities, provided they are aware of and are reactive to the changing market dynamics.
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By Barb Darrow
Hitachi the global Tokyo-based conglomerate, is combining three of its U.S.-based tech units–Hitachi Data Systems, Hitachi Insight Group, and Pentaho–into a single company to be called Hitachi Vantara.
The new company will compete in the Internet of things sector against such players as General Electric
, as well as Microsoft
, and Google
–all of which field their own IoT platforms, says Stacy Crook, research director at IDC.
However, Hitachi Vantara execs say it will not complete directly with Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, or Google Cloud Platform to sell basic computing, storage, and networking to customers.
“This is all about standing up end-to-end solutions that can run on-premises or on Azure or Amazon,” says Bobbi Soni, Vantara’s chief solutions and services officer and another HDS veteran. “Our strategy is to bring industrial IoT expertise, our software and ability to manage and run technology. We don’t think many companies are in a position to pull all those things together.”
With the reorganization, one entity will sell HDS’s data center infrastructure, Insight’s big data software, and Pentaho analytics. Together, those companies claim annual revenue of $4 billion. HDS purchased Pentaho in 2015 for a reported $500 million to $600 million.
Hitachi Vantara will be a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd., but will be independently managed, Soni tells Fortune in advance of the announcement at Hitachi’s Next Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday. Vantara management also looks a lot like HDS management: HDS chief executive Ryuichi Otsuki and president/chief operating officer Brian Householder are assuming the same positions at the new company. The company will also be bsed in HDS’s Santa Clara, Calif. headquarters.
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One priority will be to push Insight’s Lumada Internet of things technology as a platform for connected devices in industrial settings. In the industrial Internet of things, sensors on factory floors, in mines, in airplane engines, or some other remote or hostile location are designed to send data to an aggregation point, where it can be aggregated and analyzed in order to help manufacturers fix problems before they become dangerous.
To date, Lumada itself has been more of a roadmap than a sellable product. But that will change now, says IDC’s Crook. “The big reveal is now that Lumada will be a standalone commercial offering and sit at the middle of Hitachi’s IoT strategy,” she says.
Hitachi, Crook explains, is bringing together all these related assets it already had and telling a better story about how they work together.
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