Blockchain and its connection to the Internet of Things

When it comes to the Internet of Things (IoT), hearing about new technologies related to it is nothing new.  Every month, there’s some advancement with this company or that which influences or affects the IoT in some way.  While blockchain might not be new, it’s a widely unknown technology.  But even so, it might just play a key role in much of the development of IoT.

What is blockchain anyway?

Blockchain always makes me think of those spammy chainmail emails you get from coworkers you don’t like and wish you could block.  It’s a fringe technology, but undeniably an important one and surprisingly easy to understand.

Blockchain allows digital information to be distributed easily, quickly, and without a centralised location.  An easy way of understanding it is to look at Google Drive Documents, which is a perfect example.  If I were to create a document (blockchain) I could share it around with a link which would allow others to edit the document accordingly.  I could even allow some to edit while others can only view the document.

The document is updated in realtime and therefor changes are seen instantly by all involved parties.  This makes for easy collaborations, especially when the previous way required constant sending of word documents to various parties who then sent them back with revisions.

Blockchain is an especially robust system because it isn’t housed or stored in any one place.  The information is stored throughout the network which helps to make it both secure and difficult to corrupt.

How does this relate to the Internet of Things?

Well, since the IoT is based all around the immediate transfer of information through sensors and data compilation and then analysing that data, I think you can start to see the similarities between the two.  Connecting these devices through a low-cost, low-maintenance system like blockchain becomes a very viable strategy for many different types of companies.

In fact, some firms are already relying on the combination of these two technologies.  Sectors like agriculture, manufacturing, and transportation are just a few to name.

Through the use of blockchain, we might be able to further even automation technologies.  While a bunch of robots shooting around a warehouse might sound like chaos, the truth is that these two technologies are what take what would be chaos and bring order and efficiency to it.

Building a safe, reliable network to work on is an important task and a difficult one.  With the help of blockchain and the IoT, creating a flexible system just feels a whole lot easier.

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