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Blockchain and IoT: are they a perfect match?

As IoT becomes more prevalent, more CIOs are asked to take the reins of IoT projects. Gartner recently found that just under a third of responding organizations expected their CIO would lead their IoT efforts, and that by 2020, more than 10% of IoT projects in traditional industries would be headed by the CIO.

This prompted Jenny Beresford, research director, to caution: ‘The IoT will expand rapidly and extensively, continually surfacing novel and unforeseen opportunities and threats.’

Among those threats — which will definitely be CIOs’ responsibility — is the woeful security of traditional IoT and IIoT networks, as well as the privacy, connectivity and transaction speed issues that frequently plague IoT implementation.

To be maximally effective such a network must somehow be both highly connected and highly secure, and currently only one technology — blockchain — can achieve this.

However, obstacles remain, including the lack of an IoT-friendly blockchain consensus protocol.

Network Security and Data Exchange

IoT and IIoT networks typically lack physical security, host-based defences, and software updates and patches. These networks typically also use less-secure wifi protocols, web apps and APIs, combining larger-than-usual attack surface with weaker-than-usual security while retaining single points of control and failure.

In IoT, hackers see a new prize: gigantic botnets which can be used to spread malware, as with the Mirai botnet. And in IIoT, the rewards of network penetration can be industrial sabotage, espionage or large-scale blackmail, like Florida’s Riviera Beach.

Yet, companies cannot afford to hold off indefinitely on deploying IoT technology, since doing so exposes the organization to risk of being outmanoeuvred by competitors. Blockchain offers CIOs a way to deliver their IoT projects with the inherent security issues of large, distributed networks essentially solved.

Blockchain for IoT inherently eliminates single points of control and failure while simultaneously offering modular encryption and auditable transaction logs, so security issues are isolated, easy to identify and cannot spread through the network. Even if they do, they can’t gain control of it.

Transaction Processing

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communications generate gigantic amounts of data in transit — and the number of connected devices is growing rapidly:

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With centralized control, much of the processing power of these devices is lost to idling, while trust issues keep transaction costs high. CIOs find themselves in the position of paying for computational capacity they can’t use, and for traditional data centers that represent a ‘honeypot’ for attackers and a bottleneck for their networks.

Peer-to-peer communication across connected devices would enable dynamic transaction load balancing, enabling spare computing power to be identified and employed and potentially eliminating centralized data storage.

To do this successfully, IoT will need to become trustless as well as peer-to-peer. Blockchain offers a trustless peer-to-peer communication and transaction medium with secure, unforgeable and auditable transaction logs; smart contracts can be used to set policies, control and monitor access rights and execute actions autonomously based on pre-defined conditions.

Privacy and Autonomy

IoT systems built on traditional networks cannot prevent access by governments, service providers or criminal actors. With weak security and single points of control, trust on these networks is impossible to guarantee.

IoT and IIoT both require connectivity and modular security. The current solution, ‘security through obscurity,’ must be replaced by a systemic shift to open-source systems that achieve ‘security through transparency’ and are far less vulnerable to sophisticated, persistent institutional attacks.

Without this shift, both consumer and industrial networks will be increasingly vulnerable, and as the number of connected devices grows, radically lower-cost privacy and autonomy will be necessary to save the IoT.

IoT Connectivity Costs

In the current iteration of the IoT, costs are prohibitively high while revenues fail to meet expectations. Many existing IoT solutions are expensive because of the high infrastructure and maintenance costs associated with centralized cloud delivery and large server farms.

IoT devices violate the traditional pricing and revenue model of the IT industry too: device costs and incomes don’t line up, and maintenance costs consume substantial amounts of revenue. Inherent technical reasons make this unavoidable using the current model, but CEOs still don’t like hearing it from their CIOs.

Cost reduction

Blockchain technology allows reliable data to be pooled and shared without trust, directly among stakeholders. This allows for a significant cost reduction, eliminating intermediaries and allowing for automatic transactions and payments across devices using smart contracts.

Blockchain-IoT Integration Challenges: Lack of an IoT-centric consensus protocol

The current consensus protocols available for blockchains — PoW, PoS, PoET, and IOTA — are all designed for permissionless blockchains focusing on financial value transfer. PoS and PoET can also be used in permissioned blockchains, but their consensus is probabilistic and does not end in a permanently-committed block, resulting in an unacceptably high ‘hard fork’ rate.

PoET requires specialist hardware and the enclave allocating wait time is a trusted entity; it has also proven vulnerable to node compromise.

What’s needed is a consensus that can keep the benefits of the distributed, auditable, trustless environment blockchain provides, but deliver it in real time and at scale — without mining or excessing transaction costs, and without multiple hard forks.

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Let's be honest. Numerous individuals are resistant to technological changes in both their own lives and at the workplace. However, what they regularly need is the vision to perceive how the new technology they are opposing will improve their lives later on.

Blockchain has risen out to turn into the best game-changer for worldwide businesses. Upcoming and budding business people have understood the genuine capability of the blockchain. One of the most excited and discussed technology in the business world right now is Blockchain technology. More than 25 Industry sections have understood the genuine capability of this technology and keenly look forward to relating with the right technology partner.

Bitcoin, and the blockchain technology behind it, didn't disrupt the world as was at first idea when Satoshi Nakamoto published his invention in 2009. More recently, in any case, the blockchain has turned out to be one of the most generally discussed buzzwords, in the payment industry as well as over various industries. Truth be told, some accept that blockchain technology could eventually be more vital than the web.

Industries that are evolving Blockchain Technology

The first application of blockchain technology is digital cash like Bitcoin. The capability of blockchain technology lies in its versatility for a wide assortment of blockchain applications and use cases across many industries. Take a look at industries that blockchain is ready to disrupt:

1. Banking

Ironically banks are currently beginning to grasp blockchain technology, even though cryptocurrencies were first made to wipe out the reliance and trust on monetary intermediaries. Banks play an intermediary to a pack of financial services over the world, and blockchain technology banking will change the idea of numerous daily bank tasks throughout the following decade.

Blockchain technology in banking

By utilizing blockchain, transferring assets between two parties that are situated on opposite sides of the world work as though they were directly nearby to one another. Blockchain technology in banking could likewise help banks move currency inside their organizations. Banks could build up their own managed cryptocurrencies to replace traditional dollars.

2. Manufacturing

blockchain in manufacturing

The specialists expressed that the blockchain in the manufacturing business sector is anticipated to be worth around $30 million by 2020, and the market will keep on developing at a yearly development rate of 80 percent, to $566 million by 2025. Other real cryptographic money markets like Japan and South Korea have been empowering the development of blockchain in manufacturing technology and usage of decentralized systems across different businesses.

3. Industry Applications

blockchain industry applications

Since blockchain technology is encrypted and decentralized, it is in effect broadly investigated for building up such platforms to encourage distributed and business communications. Starting today, the tide of time is by all accounts for decentralized and encrypted messaging applications. For example, Telegram, one such encoded application for messaging, is settling the adoption of blockchain industry applications for different purposes.

4. Blockchain in Food Industry

blockchain technology in food industry

Imagine you could follow the source of your food like a minute or if you could check if the natural products you bought were really natural. This could really occur sooner rather than later, with blockchain technology set to make its debut in the food business.

Blockchain can help in many ways of view through:

Food safety: Blockchain helps in making the food supply chain transparent and furthermore engages the chain to know about any food safety disasters. This is one reason why associations like Unilever and Nestle are thinking about utilizing blockchain technology. By utilizing it, buyers would most likely follow the causes of specific products to prove their credibility.

Preventing Fraud: It would likewise help in preventing fraud if the information gathered is free of any human error. Actualizing blockchain would help in preventing these issues. It would likewise help in distinguishing the offender if a culprit is made.

Simpler and Quicker Payment: Blockchain would accelerate the payment procedure. It would help farmers in selling more and being repaid appropriately as the market information would be readily available. It could likewise prevent the occurrence of retroactive payments and price intimidation.

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What is Litecoin? Litecoin is a blockchain-based decentralized digital cryptocurrency same as Bitcoin. Lіtесоіn is an Open source global payment network and рееr-tо-рееr сrурtосurrеnсу software project released under MIT/X11 lісеnѕеѕ which allows non-zero-cost payments in a globe.

Litecoin is similar to Bitcoin having the same encryption technology to create and transfer funds to authorize the transaction. In Litecoin, ledgers store all information and once its transaction is confirmed, it can’t be deleted or even modified. People who are interested in cryptocurrency investment other than Bitcoin and Ethereum, Litecoin will be a popular choice.

Due to availability and lesser price, it is called as “Silver” cryptocurrency and Bitcoin is “Gold” cryptocurrency.

“If Bitcoin is Gold then Litecoin is Silver”

Also Read: What Is Bitcoin And How It Works

Birth of Litecoin

Bitcoin is created by an Ex-Google employee Charlie Lee on October 7, 2011, and got live in a network on October 13, 2011, with the vision of creating a lighter version of Bitcoin. Charlie Lee is one of the top active people on different social media’s and Blogs.

Benefits of Litecoin

Litecoin has fast processing speed likely every block is processed in 2.5 minutes means 4x faster than bitcoin and this is the main goal, to reduce the timing of block confirmation so that more transactions can take place. It clearly means that in a single day 14, 400 Litecoins are being mined. Its algorithm is difficult to crack.

Litecoin is having huge market growth. On December 18, 2017, Litecoin touched too high and it was almost $360.93. As compared to the price in the year 2016, it was $4.40 it means almost 8200% growth in one year.

The Scrypt Algorithm used by Litecoin is difficult to crack due to its proof-of-work model. It confirms a secure and faster transaction. Litecoin is a digital cryptocurrency if we compared the processing fees of Litecoin that is lesser than other bank transfer and credit card.

Litecoin works on Blockchain Technology, so it records all the information and stores it permanently and also confirms the information is distributed to all peers in the network. Litecoin works in p2p connections as a result of no need of middle person or server due to this it reduces the cost of the transaction. The transaction speed of Litecoin is faster as compared to Bitcoin. As a result, a transaction takes lesser time and is secure that is why transaction fees are less and cheaper.

The Difference of Litecoin and Bitcoin

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                                        The difference of Litecoin and Bitcoin?

Source: Coindesk

Algorithm:

Both Bitcoin and Litecoin work on the proof-of-work algorithm. But the difference is, Bitcoin uses the SHA256 algorithm whereas Litecoin works on a newer Scrypt Hashing algorithm.

The Number of Coins that Each Cryptocurrency Can Produce:

In Bitcoin, one transaction added in the ledger takes 10 minutes where Litecoin, having the fastest speed to confirm one transaction in 2.5 minutes. A total of 84 million Litecoins will be created and presently 61 million Litecoin is created in Litecoin’s Algorithm and it has a 4-times max capacity than Bitcoin. Due to the faster speed, Litecoin produces max coins as compared to Bitcoin.

A Bitcoin network will exceed a maximum of 21 million coins, whereas Litecoin can billet up to 84 million coins.

The real-world importance of these algorithms are impacted by the process of mining new coins. Both cryptocurrencies need substantial computing power to confirm transactions. SHA-256 is usually reflected to be a complex algorithm than Scrypt, while at the same time allowing a greater degree of parallel processing.

Market Capital:

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                                                             Market Capital

Bitcoin’s market capitalization is more than $67 billion, whereas Litecoin’s market capitalization is below $3 billion.

Future of Litecoin in Crypto Market:

Litecoin is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency, with a market capitalization of more than $12 billion dollars. The price of Litecoin was always higher in the crypto market

The value of Litecoin saw a committed and increasing dangerous run at the start of 2019. The market capital of Litecoin in the year 2019 originated with 200 percent higher and that also in only 6 months.

Investors who want to trade for longterm in cryptocurrency are having a choice of Litecoin with the goal to acquire max profit.

Litecoin’s price was $4 in March 2017 to a high of $320 in less than a year, providing 80x returns to its investors.

How to Buy or Purchase LTC:

Step 1: Create an account (From any official Website)

Step 2: Verify your identity

Step 3: Get a Litecoin wallet

Step 4: Find an exchange that sells Litecoin

Step 5: Deposit money and make the trade

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Facebook has finally discovered plans for a cryptocurrency referred to as Libra, one in all the worst-kept secrets within the history of virtual cash.

On June 18, The Biggest Social media Facebook has released its long-awaited white paper for cryptocurrency and blockchain-based financial infrastructure projects.

Libra, the new cryptocurrency will launch soon in next year and will be known as a stablecoin-Called Libra, the new currency will launch as soon as next year and be what’s known as a stablecoin — a digital currency that is supported by established government-backed currencies and securities. The objective is to avoid fluctuation in values. Libra will be used on facebook owns apps like Whatsapp, Messenger, and other standalone apps. This new digital currency will be linked to a basket of other top currencies like the US dollar and euro and as compared to other currency it will be cheaper and easier to transmit money. As per the latest news the currency plan to launch the Libra In the first half of the next year.

As of now, almost every single person is having a mobile phone but not everyone is having a bank account and the mission of Libra is to create a simple global financial infrastructure to empower billions of people around the world.

Marcus, who runs Facebook Messenger aid Facebook plans to create a replacement digital wallet that will exist within Messenger and its different standalone electronic messaging service, WhatsApp. Once Libra is up and running, the currency and also the digital wallet ought to create it easier for individuals to send cash to friends, family, and businesses through the apps.

If Libra is successful-Libra can make Facebook the biggest player in financial services.- Presently, Including Facebook and its family apps like Instagram and WhatsApp, there are 2.7 billion users and Libra could bring billions of peoples in the digital financial system allowing them to bounce costly banking infrastructure and avoid smaller, volatile currencies.

Facebook made the Libra the Nonprofit association and will be governed by a not-for-profit, Switzerland-based consortium — the “Libra Association” with its other 27 partners and its developers. This partnership involves nonprofit organizations, crypto firms, venture capital firms, telecommunication and technology and payment service providers like Mastercard, PayPal, PayU, stripe and Visa eBay, farfetch, Lyft, Spotify, Uber, Kiva, Mercy Corps and Women’s world banking, Anchorage, Coinbase, Xapo, and Bison Trails.

The total variety of Libra will amendment, and new digital coins will be issued whenever somebody desires to exchange their Libra for an existing fiat currency that the value shouldn’t fluctuate to any extent further than alternative stable currencies, consistent with David Marcus, head of the Facebook blockchain team that’s spearheading the project.

Libra is built in blockchain technology which is decentralized-means it will run by many different organizations instead of just one. It available for those having an active internet connection and has low fees and cost and it is secure by cryptography which helps keep your money safe.

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For those who do not know this famous Goya´s painting: 'Saturn Devouring a Son', it belongs to the series of Black Paintings of the artist. It's the best comparison I can make after returning from the TechXLR8   --- IoT World Europe Summit in London.

In the painting we see the god Cronos, who immutable governs the course of time, devouring a son. The act of eating your child has been seen, from the point of view of psychoanalysis as a figuration of impotence.

Saturn is the Artificial Intelligence (aka AI) and his impotent son is the Internet of Things (IoT). There are other brothers waiting their turn to be devoured by this hungry father. Soon it will be the Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR), the Blockchain and Digital Twins. Not even the 5G will be spared. 

If you are still waiting for the IoT boom, this event is confirmation that the IoT is badly wounded at least in Europe. The few IoT companies that exhibited their products and services at Excel London showed nothing that could overshadow the big winner, the ubiquitous father AI. Although the Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality (AR/VR) does present itself a great rival for the other brothers.

Every time I find it more difficult to justify coming to these events. Neither being a speaker or moderator has allowed me to win a project. I keep doing it to maintain my influence and keep informed my followers on social networks, but I already tell you that physical and economic effort is not justifiable.

The organization this year has sought speakers that mix vendors presentations with success stories of clients. But this year neither of them was able to raise this event.

The few large IT firms present such as Microsoft, SAP or Oracle are on the side of the father "AI" although they show demos IoT many times repeated.

The discussions of the first years of the IoT boom revolved around connectivity, security, IoT platforms, even business models. Now, nobody is interested in these matters anymore. I am sorry for my many friends and myself advising in these areas, but all the fish has sold in West Europe.

Nor have the great integrators been present here. Those who should have implemented IoT solutions for years but never risked investing and continue to squeeze clients with digitalization projects, cloud migration projects, products updates and customized developments. I believe most of them have done a disservice to the acceleration of the IoT.

There was no great IoT news during the event. Perhaps the most important announcement was given by Marc Overton who took advantage of his presentation to announce the recent collaboration agreement between Sierra Wireless and Microsoft to claim industry’s first full-stack IoT offerings. Something that happened far away from here.

As for my sessions, they mixed IoT and Blockchain, something that would have guaranteed success for attendees two years ago or last year but that did not arouse great enthusiasm this year. It is evident that they are becoming a commodity. Something that is not bad, since we would stop speculating about possible use cases and we could be using transparent in our lives and businesses.

Do not worry, the life of IoT events continues, and so this week there are three more:

I believe that Organizers and exhibitors need to try to reinvent the IoT events to make more attractive to visitors and generate qualified leads. We need to see an IoT event where IoT is present in every corner of the floor, in every stage, in every service (cafeteria, rest rooms, transportation, etc). We need to breath IoT every minute.

Otherwise the IoT events will continue driving away visitors and exhibitors and 'Saturn (AI) Devouring a Son (IoT).'

Thanks you all for follow me and read my articles.

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The dream of making money with IoT, AI and Blockchain

Have you ever think about how could you make money with the Internet of Things (IoT) or Artificial Intelligence (AI) and of course with Blockchain?  What would happen if you could use the three of them in a new business model?.  Apparently, Success, Success and Success.

In the next sections I provide information of some business models implemented with these three technologies.

IoT Business Models

As IoT moves past its infancy, certain trends and economic realities are becoming clear. Perhaps the most significant of those is the realisation that traditional hardware business models just don’t work in IoT. Take a look at “The top 5 most successful IoT business models” that have emerged as particularly effective applications for IoT.

If any of you is building an IoT product, this article ” IoT Business Models For Monetizing Your IoT Product”  show how to make money with IoT.

Zack Supalla, the founder and CEO of Particle, an Internet of Things (IoT) startup, suggest “6 ways to make money in IoT”.

Finally, in “How IoT is Spawning Better Business Models” we can read three ways companies like Rolls Royce, Peloton, MTailor or STYR Lab  was rethinking their business model and have created revolution in the marketplace. 

Blockchain Business Models 

It sounds repetitive, but yes "Blockchain technology may disrupt the existing business models”. The authors´ s findings concerning the implications of blockchain technology for business models are summarised in the following picture.

 

Do you think that blockchain will likely to cut into big-players’ revenues? Then, this article: “New Blockchain-Based Business Models Set to Disrupt Facebook and Others”, is for you.

If you are ambitious and you are planning to build a viable business on blockchain, then read “Building an International Business Model on Blockchain”.

I am also an advocate of the coming era of decentralization (at least in my most optimistic version) and Blockchain is a step more to create value when the End of All Corporate Business Models will arrive.

AI Business Models 

Companies from all industries, of all shapes and sizes are thus faced with an important set of questions: Which AI business models and applications can I use ? And what technologies and infrastructures are required?.

It seems that we all are convinced that artificial intelligence is now the most important general-purpose technology in the world that can drive changes at existing business models. Not surprised then, that  AI is Revolutionizing Business Models.  The “data trap” strategy, that in venture capitalist Matt Turck’s words consists of offering (often for free) products that can initialize a data network effect. In addition, the user experience and the design are becoming tangibly relevant for AI, and this creates friction in early stage companies with limited resources to be allocated between engineers, business, and design.

This article introduces  some good examples of AI business models :

New Business models with the intersection of IoT, AI and Blockchain

With IoT we are connecting the Digital to the Physical world. Connected objects offers a host of new opportunities for companies, especially in terms of creating new services. The amount of data generated by the billions of connected objects will be the perfect complementary feed to many AI applications. Finally, blockchain technology could be used to secure the ‘internet of things’ and create smart contracts in a decentralized infrastructure that boost the democratization of technology and creation of sustainable communities.

You must remember that new business models that include IoT, AI and blockchain need among other characteristics: Volume and Scalability. Volume of devices, Volume of data, Volume of customers, volume of developers and powerful ecosystems to escalate. 

Good luck in your search and implementation of your new business model.

Thanks for your Likes, Comments and Shares

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IoT security challenges

 

IoT is a complex network of billions of Internet-connected devices that collect and transmit huge amounts of data across of a wide range of devices (sensors, robots, machinery, mobile apps, digital assistants, etc.) and integrated systems. Also, the data have to pass different administrative boundaries with different policies. Certainly, all of it creates challenges for protecting the IoT ecosystem.

First, companies and organizations have to ensure privacy and confidentiality of user data. Second, data communications should be protected at all levels. So, when building an IoT solution, take care of the “right” data delivery including the right place, time, and form. Third, make all interactions traced and monitored so that suspicious activities will be instantly detected.

There are many IoT security risks and challenges you should know and prevent when developing an IoT project. In terms of increased worry about cyber attacks and data privacy, companies have to establish new security models and integrate innovative technologies. In the IoT world, the use of Blockchain is an emerging trend promising to solve most or even all of IoT security issues.

 

What is Blockchain

 

Blockchain is a technology of the distributed ledger that maintains a continuously increasing number of transactions. Representing an immutable and inconvertible record and being based on cryptographic algorithms, Blockchain provides data security and protects data.

As Blockchain is decentralized, there is no central authority or regulatory body required for transaction approval and management. A distributed technology nature makes computer servers to come to a consensus, allowing transactions to be carried out anonymously and without intermediaries.

Blockchain is also about trust: cryptography is used to prevent technical data forge and distortion. In the chain of blocks, each block contains a hash serving as a link to the previous one. Thus, it’s impossible to substitute an intermediate block in the finished chain.

So, Blockchain provides a high-security level. While the tool is the same, it has many successful applications in a variety of business industries. Mika Lammi, Kinno’s Head of IoT Business Development, Kouvola Innovation Ltd, said: “I believe Blockchain to be one of the truly disruptive and innovative application areas in the world now, and that it will create huge waves across all imaginable business sectors”.

 

Blockchain and IoT

 

Coming up with decentralized, autonomous, and data protection capabilities, Blockchain has a great potential to secure the IoT ecosystem. In the Internet of Things, Blockchain can keep an immutable record of connected devices’ activities and automatically maintain the history of their communications.

What’s more, by integrating the technology, companies and organizations can allow trustless safe message exchanges between IoT devices. In this case, Blockchain will work like in financial transactions: data is transmitted between multiple devices and delivered to the places required. To enable peer-to-peer messaging, businesses can integrate Ethereum smart contracts serving as the agreement between two parties.

For example, let’s take Blockchain and IoT linked together to improve manufacturing operations. Here the use of Blockchain can enable smart devices to not only exchange data, but even automatically execute financial transactions. IoT devices monitor machinery and equipment health, alert managers about problems, and order repairs when required.

In the agriculture industry, farmers can place IoT devices to collect data about crops in order to ensure an efficient functioning of the irrigation system. Smart contracts describe how the solution parts (analytics system, sensors, etc.) should behave based on the conditions defined. This approach helps provide automatic water management.

 

Blockchain advantages for IoT security:

 

  1. Immutable record of all data communications
  2. Monitoring of suspicious activities
  3. Prevention of data forge and distortion
  4. Peer-to-peer messaging between IoT devices
  5. Autonomous functioning of smart devices

 

Today, Blockchain is one of the most promising trends in IoT security field. Decentralized and data protection capabilities make Blockchain a perfect part of IoT solutions. Understanding the technology prospects, many companies have already integrated Blockchain to solve IoT security challenges.

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9 Articles on IoT and Blockchain

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Bitcoin topics are being on the front page of finance or tech newspapers almost every day and they do not necessarily deal with investment. With bitcoin transactions getting expensive and taking longer to get approved, investors are now sceptical about bitcoin and its future. One can argue that there are troubles wherever the money is in play. But is it really the money (in our case bitcoin) or the underlying technology which is the root cause of these problems?

There are lots of reports mentioning the use cases of blockchain in various industries and sectors. However, none of them hints upon how exactly it works in terms of architecture, a division of roles and responsibilities etc. If we still assume that whole would work more or less in a way it works for bitcoin, then there are certain questions which need to be addressed before one decides for blockchain. We should not only keep the implementation but also the long-term application and maintenance of blockchain in let say a manufacturing environment. 

Let’s assume we have an OEM (X) who purchases the equipment parts from supplier A, B till E which in turn depend on their raw material supplier A1, B1..E1 respectively. X decides one day to implement blockchain in order to achieve transparency and better control on processes. In order to achieve this, he asks A..E and their respective supplier to join the network. Moreover, X would like to invite his logistic partner, service partner as well as bank and end customer to join blockchain. The issue which he might face later within his blockchain environment are as follows:

 

 

Example of a blockchain in manufacturing

 

Available IT infrastructure: Blockchain demands decentralized ledger/transaction record made available to all of the nodes/parties involved. The size of the ledger/transaction record will grow with the increase in number transaction with a period of time. What kind of information influx we are talking about can be understood by the fact that every new purchase order will trigger hundreds of manufacturing and supply chain related events with all of this information need to be monitored in the blockchain. Here, for example, A demands stock availability and shipment status from A1 and would like to update his block accordingly. This block will then be made available to X will, in turn, provide the updated information to his logistics partner and the customer. Now in real life, it is more one-to-many or many-to-many kinds of communication. Moreover, when we talk about data then it does not only mean excel sheets or pdf files but it can be anything from an image to a video. The question here, does all of the parties involved are capable of dealing with this load of information/data volume in terms of IT infrastructure? Just to give an idea, the size of bitcoin blockchain increased from merely 620 MB in 2012 to 150 GB in 2018 (ref. blockchain.info). 150 GB of just transaction list, user profile and hashtag info. No way we can compare it to data (design, CAD files, photos, videos, manuals etc.)  generated or need to be stored in a manufacturing environment.

Consensus: Every transaction made need to be approved thus creating a new block in the chain. The approval process is quite tedious and requires checks, calculations and creation of hashes (unique ID per block). In case of bitcoin, this task is taken over by miners who select transactions to approve based on the fee offered to them for that. The logic here is simple: a miner chooses to approve a transaction which offers a better fee. The whole idea here is to encourage a party, by means of incentive, to approve a transaction. How this will work in our scenario and who will take over the role of a miner? With no incentive involved, it will be difficult to convince any single party to take over this role especially if creating a block (approving transaction) comes at a cost of high resources consumption.

Transaction approval rate: The other issue with block creation is that the blockchain algorithm limits the creation of new block to 1 block per 10 minutes. Moreover, more transaction will demand more minors to approve them. How does a logistics company shipping hundreds or thousands of packets per hour will cope with this rate?

Openness: In a distributed ledger technology the digital ledger/database is shared and synchronized across the network and is made public to all the parties. This prevents data or record manipulation since each party owns a copy of this ledger and any change or attempts will be reflected within seconds.  A very powerful feature of a blockchain to avoid fraud and cyber-attack but with a flaw. What if in our scenario A does not want to share his shipping details to rest of the suppliers of X, or what if X does not want to disclose his dealings with Bank to his customer? Again considering one-to-many or many-to-many kinds of transaction, one has to define a lot of exceptional cases in which one party can satisfy its need of dealing with a certain number of partners.

There is no doubt in the capability of blockchain to revolutionize the digital world. It worked (at least until now) quite well in case of bitcoin but maybe because there was an idea of incentive behind that. Each party involved wanted to make the most out of it (profit for an investor, an incentive for miners) which kept them involved in the system. Will there be the same degree of involvement in the business world and what would be the gain here?

This certainly does not mean that blockchain technology is questionable in every case. The blockchain is a best available solution for sectors where the data security, avoiding data mishandling or manipulation, availability and transparency are the utmost goals. An example here could be government sectors, NGO, hospitals, banks or financial institutes, certification services and so on. There are certain use cases available where certain banks and government institutes have implemented blockchain within their network in order to achieve above-mentioned goals along with ease of business. Again, the information influx in these sectors cannot be compared to that of in a manufacturing environment. Soon or late there will be a solution overcoming the mentioned issues. Or do we already have one?

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Blockchain and IIoT

 

Blockchain and IoT both are present in the Gartner’s Hype Cycle 2017.

Clubbing Blockchain and IoT bring the Intelligent Digital Mesh

The Intelligent Digital Mesh

Gartner calls the entwining of people, devices, content, and services the intelligent digital mesh. It’s enabled by digital models, business platforms and a rich, intelligent set of services to support digital business.

Intelligent: How AI is seeping into virtually every technology and with a defined, well-scoped focus can allow more dynamic, flexible and potentially autonomous systems.

Digital: Blending the virtual and real worlds to create an immersive digitally enhanced and connected environment.

Mesh: The connections between an expanding set of people, business, devices, content and services to deliver digital outcomes [2]

 

What is Industrial IoT? 

The term industrial Internet of things (IIoT) is often encountered in the manufacturing industries, referring to the industrial subset of the IoT.

Uses cases of Industrial IoT

Industrial Internet of Things brings a lot of advantages some of them are listed below:

  • Predictive & Proactive maintenance
  • Real-Time Monitoring
  • Asset/Resource Optimization
  • Remote Diagnosis

but all these are under the security threat. Blockchain has begun to have a significant influence on the Internet of Things by enhancing security, empowering the incorporation of an increasing number of devices into the ecosystem. The enhancements in IoT device security facilitate faster adoption of this revolutionary innovation and will open up a wide range of possibilities for enterprises in the days to come.

 

Blockchain and IIoT

IIoT solutions using blockchain can be built to maintain a continuously growing list of cryptographically secured data records protected against alteration and modification. It can set up trust, accountability, and transparency while streamlining business processes.

 

1. Blockchain reducing the cost of IIoT Solution 

It is important for IoT edge devices to reduce processing overhead and eliminate the 'middle man' (IoT gateways) from the procedure. Communication, data exchanges, and device information are conducted on a peer-to-peer basis, removing any additional traditional protocol, hardware, or communication overhead costs.

 

 2. Blockchain confirm and enable the trust

Blockchain empowering Industrial IoT solution with trust. It empowers devices to engage in transactions and communications with trusted parties. While device A may not know device B, and may not believe it verifiably, a permanent record of exchanges and information from devices stored on the blockchain confirm and enable the vital trust for organizations, individuals, and devices to cooperate.

 

3. Accelerate Data Exchanges 

Blockchain eliminates the role of “ IoT gateway” or an intermediate device, which helps in improving data exchange in the process of data transfer. Peer-to-peer device based contracts and ledgers (blockchain) decrease time required to complete device information exchange and processing time.

 

4. Blockchain scaled security in  IIoT Solution 

Decentralized technologies hold great promise for a system that needs to handle storing and retrieving information of millions—if not billions—of connected devices. These future systems have to provide low latency, high throughput, querying, permissions, and decentralized control

 

 

Conclusion

Blockchain and IoT Solution in the Framework - 

Ease of Implementation and Business Impact

High Business Impact and Ease of Implementation put this in the Quick win quadrant.

For Industrial Implementation- Lot of Frameworks, options are available from Ethereum to Hyperledger. IBM Hyperledger Fabric development in the past few months is noticeable.

Ease of Blockchain Implementation is a business challenge rather than a test of technology implementation as it involves connecting multiple parties across multiple processes.  

 

 

References:

  1. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/top-trends-in-the-gartner-hype-cycle-for-emerging-technologies-2017/
  2. https://www.gartner.com/smarterwithgartner/gartner-top-10-strategic-technology-trends-for-2018/
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Once a shepherd had two horses. One was strong and fast, another one was slow and weak. The shepherd instead of looking after the weak one and trying to make him fit, he preferred riding the healthy one and taking him almost everywhere. He also fed him better which in long-term led the healthy horse to become heavy and feel lethargic all the time. Later the healthy one became sick and the shepherd then instead of having healthy horse has to deal with two sick and weak horses.

What does this story have to do with digitalization? Well, this is our approach to the whole idea of digitalization and its implementation worldwide. Instead of investing time and resources and bringing the idea of digitalization to the underdeveloped nation or the “weak horse”, we are feeding the already “healthy horse” or the developed nation with fascinating ideas and projects which might result into sickness in the long term. The early symptoms of this sickness can already be witnessed. A World Economic Forum (ref:weforum.org) report says that labour markets will witness a net loss of over 5 million jobs in 15 major developed and emerging economies. Is this in line with the idea of digitalization? 

The World witnessed more than 4.000 ransomware attacks per day in 2016 (ref:Justice.gov) which approx. 300% more than that in 2015. This since we made the whole IT infrastructure more vulnerable to such attacks by simply connecting every electronic device to the internet. Are we just simply neglecting the side effects of digitalization? 

Being not able to read your power meter values on your smartphone is not a problem as compared to not having access to water and electricity due to scarcity. Being not able to sit in a self-driven car is not a problem as compared to be stuck in traffic jam in peak summer for hours and breathing exhaust gases all the time. These are some of the typical problems of the underdeveloped or developing nations. The question which the Gurus of digitalization should address is that if the idea of digitalization/IoT for industry/IT giants are about to create business and thus pushing up the turn over, then why not boosting digitalization across such nations by diverting the resources there. This is far better than making own factories intelligent and then laying down hundreds or thousands of hardworking and loyal employees.  

Here are some of the typical problems of the under-developed or emerging nations, the answer to which could be well-implemented digitalization. 

Corruption: According to an IMF report more than $ 1 trillion dollars is paid in bribes each year around the world with underdeveloped and developing countries topping the list of being the most corrupt nations. People in these nations pay up to 13 percent of their income to bribes which later discourages them from services made available by the government. Corruption is the root cause of crime in many countries and acts like a fuel to poverty and social inequality. Institutes worldwide are trying their best to strictly monitor and thus eliminate corruption worldwide, unfortunately without much success until now. This, however, might change in future. Experts nowadays are betting on the invention of blockchain to fight corruption. The blockchain is a centralized technology which offers full transaction transparency, thus providing no room for fraud or capital manipulation. Blockchain implementation, however, demands a solid digital infrastructure which in my opinion is an area where IT communication network provider should look into.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

 

Commodity wastage or theft: Water and electricity to two important needs of every society. Their scarcity or theft leads to a major human rights problem. The figures about water scarcity worldwide are very alarming with some 780 million (ref: Water.org) people having no access to clean and safe water. One of the major reason for water scarcity is wastage or theft in emerging/underdeveloped nations. The electricity theft worldwide touched $89 billion (ref: Northeast Group LLC) annually in 2015 with India, Brazil and Russia being the top 3 nations with highest losses. With an introduction of smart water and electric meters along with in-built sensors, certain startups are trying to monitor the overall water and electricity supply and consumption. Based on which a customer profile can be generated so that any irregularities can be immediately reputed to the consumer as well as the respective authorities. This again needs support from government and the industry without which it will take ages to tackle the mentioned problem.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

 

Landfills: Seems like the never-ending problem of nations with poor or insufficient infrastructure People in some of these nations spend their lives in an area surrounded by a heap of waste or landfills. This is there exist no proper waste management plan due to lack of manpower or resources. This bottleneck can, however, be eliminated by daily tracking and monitoring of location (webcams) with landfills and adjusting the waste management plan accordingly. Here, for instance, the resources can be diverted to a location with a frequent buildup of waste. This, however, demands a strong digital infrastructure which can only be established if government and industry work together.

 Image courtesy: Wikicommons

Street crimes are on the rise in nations with higher social inequality. Authorities in these nations feel helpless due to the degree and frequency of crime happening every day versus the available manpower. Interestingly, the biggest problem is that many of these crimes go unreported since people in these nations have lost their faith in government/authorities/police. The legal structure in these countries needs a face-lift which can be achieved by digitalization the complete process of monitoring, documenting of crime and its prosecution. The street light camera or public surveillance camera project in the US is a good example of crime monitoring here. The public surveillance camera installed in Baltimore and Chicago (ref: Urban.org) region not only resulted in reduced crime but also proven to be cost-effective than the conventional way. A cloud-based complain lodging system can be established allowing the verified victim to lodge complain straight via smartphone. A digital platform managing all these complains based on degree or severity of the crime as well as the date of occurrence can be created.

Healthcare: Proper healthcare is still considered as a luxury in many of underdeveloped/developing nations. Approximately 80 percent (ref: facts and details.com) of people in these nations rely on public hospitals for treatment. These hospitals are often running over-capacity and are ill-equipped.  A healthcare digital platform which integrates the existing database of all the hospitals in the region along with a list of their respective treatment capabilities, services could ensure the even distribution of patient load in these hospitals. Thus allowing treatment to each and very needy individual without any delay. Access to a healthcare App coupled with the platform can allow the patient to see which hospital nearby has an available bed and a doctor and can provide him/her with an option of online booking. 

Uncontrolled traffic: Interestingly an ongoing problem of developing countries. With four-wheeler getting cheaper and infrastructure narrower day by day, the traffic condition in these countries is on the verge of a breakdown. Traffic jams and road accidents are on increase with pollution level due to an increased number of vehicles on road, reaching new peaks. Equipping traffic lights with infrared sensors or webcams can help the authorities to divert the traffic in case of traffic congestion. Moreover, long-term monitoring (analytics) can be beneficial in planning infrastructural change, road buildups in regions where traffic jams are frequent. Car sharing/renting/hiring apps should be promoted. By combing the complete transportation system along with consumer profile, one can monitor the user segment preferring public transportation over own. This segment can then be rewarded in form of discounted bus/train/metro tickets or by means of an annual grant.

Image courtesy: Wikicommons

The list of problems of these nations is long but properly implemented digitalization along with the synergy between government and industry could be the answer to all of these problems. We should not repeat the mistake of the shepherd and should help the weak horse to be as fit as the healthy horse. Only this way we can achieve social and economic balance across the world. 

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For a couple of years, Blockchain which is the underlying technology of Bitcoin is gaining a huge amount of popularity. As there are various DAPPs and mind-blowing technologies written each week, somewhat you can say that there are huge amount of new aspects to lookout for.

For any individual who is simply starting with blockchain technology or any kind of development related to it. They will have numerous choices to select from. So, let’s check some of them.

Interesting Blockchain Technologies

1) Bitcoin

Introduced first by Satoshi Nakamoto in the year 2008 and written in his white paper, it simply caught the attention of the mainstream media. This so called Britcoin’s blockchain utilizes UTXOs (Unspent Transaction Outputs) mechanism. Here the major components related to the Bitcoin technology is Descriptions, Transaction ID, Inputs and Outputs and Meta data. Each transaction that you receive will have certain inputs and it will even create some outputs too. In addition, you can even embed certain data in such transactions. 

2) Ethereum

The brainchild of Vitalik Buterin, Etheruem’s first public implementation is called as Frontier. This was released somewhat in the mid-2015. There is a Turing-whole virtual kind of machine called EVM. Do you know the major improvement with regard to the Bitcoin blockchain? It is the basic ability to develop Smart Contracts.

There are various languages present in the Ethereum such as Solidity, LLL, Serpent, etc which the common supported languages present in this community are.  There has been a growing interest for the Ethereum from various industries and communities. One of the major innovations present in the Ethereum is the easily and basic simplicity of using smart contacts to develop tokens. This can represent certain physical assets like Gold, Fiat currency, computational hours, company shares, and the list goes on.

3) Hyperledger

The Hyperledger is one of the incubation project utilized for DLT (Distributed Ledger Technologies) by the Linux Foundation. There are three major incubation projects related to the Hyperledger which are Sawtooth, Fabric, and even Corda.

Even though the Fabric is the implementation of the IBM, still the Sawtooth is created by the Corda and Intel. Here, the Fabric is quite necessary as a private version of the blockchain, where the nodes of the network will work and form a private chain and even help in sharing data.   

4) Ripple

One of the blockchain technologies which simply focus on financial applications and settlement is the Ripple. This is created from the ground up, making it easy for you integrate with the existing infrastructure of the banking sector without distributing the integration of the overhead.

For few years, Ripple, the private firm has been developing this so called protocol and they have seen some good results from customers in terms of financial institutions and banks. Here the basic protocol is ILP (Interledger Protocol) and this simply helps the banks to make payment through various ledgers and networks all around the world.

5) Zcash

Here the latest shiny thing present in the land of the Bitcoin and blockchain is the Zcash. The best and easiest followers of the Zero-Knowledge proof are the Zcash. There have certain criticisms of this technology by users in terms of the public nature of transactions.

All the basic transaction can be easily traced to the original address and this simply leads to a huge issue, like revealing the amount of assets one has.  However, as it is built on the Britcoin Core’s codebase there is less chance for your personal information getting revealed.

Conclusion

In short, it is simply clear that such technology i.e blockchain is only attractive to certain tech companies but there are certain major players like IBM and Microsoft who have been taking notice of it.  So, let’s wait and watch how this works. 

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What is Blockchain ?

Blockchain is a form of technology that had over $1 billion invested in it in 2016 alone. While this technology is far from new, it is one that grew in popularity thanks to Bitcoin. With it, a digital ledger is created that allows online records to record transactions, and ensure that all information is verified by another source to confirm accuracy. The network created by blockchain scans a number of computers within the same network. With each transaction, the size of the database grows and the number of users that access and manage the transactions increases.

Unique software is required for a blockchain to be run. When it is created, it is near instantaneous, and that means there isn’t the ability to alter transactions before they become recorded. This cuts down on the risk of fraud in most sectors which makes it appealing. It is also encoded and hashed in batches, so that the blocks of several bits of data create a chain. This allows for validation to occur at the same time, and protects the security of the system running it. Each time a transaction takes place, a unique transaction number is encrypted that show everything that took place in the transaction. Since several computers make up the different portions of the blockchain, it is nearly impossible for fraudulent activity to occur.

While Bitcoin and virtual currency is still where the bulk of blockchain is used, many companies are searching for ways to add it to their own applications beyond currency. This would help to reduce conflicts that are the results of disputes and even things like land rights, or legal items could be verified and the accuracy and lack of fraud would ensure that sensitive items such as these would constantly have more authenticity and reduce many legal woes.

However, not everyone is on board yet. Some companies are still concerned that since this technology is still in a relatively infancy, there is a need for proven transparency and someone to remain accountable for the data that is obtained. Since the process is also labor intensive, there would need to be dedicated users who solely work on the blockchain that is being handled. This would need to be people who have a basic understanding of IT and the way that it would be used for blockchains.

Another concern is the amount of resources it would take. There would need to be high end machines that handled the resource intensive nature of the software. Additionally, companies would need frequent access online to continue update and building the information. With more countries blacking out sections of the internet, this could prove to be a problem.

Blockchains are destined to become a more significant part of our industry. It is important that the technology is continued to be advanced, so more companies have a chance to benefit from it. After all, it is the technology that will help to boost security and ensure that there is something in place we can depend on. With Bitcoin showing it is already possible to succeed with this technology, there is little doubt that success will be had. 

About Bill McCabe/ Internet of Things Recruiting - Executive Search/ Retained Search for the Internet of Things/ Machine 2 Machine/ Big Data Markets

IBM IOT Futurist - see you at #IBMInterconnect - March 19-23 Las Vegas

Top 50 IOT Authority on Twitter - per IoT Central

Need Help finding your next Big Data or IOT Employee or If you require the top 5% of IOT talent let’s talk. Drop me a line or use this link to schedule an IOT Search Assessment Call Click Here to Schedule

OR Contact me at 303-337-7871

 

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First of all, I will explain the reason for the post title. For those who have not seen the films, I summarize: "A group of four illusionists win year after year to the public with their incredible magic shows and even mocking the FBI.

GSMA is a great illusionist and MWC is their principal magic show. We are invited year after year to visit an event with unique keynote speakers, an enormous list of exhibitors, amazing performances and a great LinkedInplace where we can meet in person some of our social media contacts. What else can we ask for?

I know that it is very ruthless to compare the GSMA with illusionists and the MWC as their greatest magic show, but at least I see quite a few reasonable resemblances, you don´t.

 My fears and my wishes for MWC17

If in 2015 I wrote " MWC 2015: Everything Connected, Tapas and Jamon", and I argued as one the reasons to attend MWC was the fact it was celebrated in Barcelona. In 2016, in my post “GSMA need to think how to reinvent MWC” I justify the reasons why the MWC needed to reinvent itself.

One thing has become clear to me after many years attending MWCs, this is the world's biggest phone and mobile networks show, with manufacturers set to unveil a raft of new phone handsets and new technology. However, the GSMA had insisted on introducing more and more distractions like Internet of Things (IoT), Connected Living, Connected Car, AR/ VR, Robots. Maybe the reason is because Telecom operators do not have the DNA to change. Still, many telecom operators take a dim view of some of the aggressive moves being made by these peers, especially when it comes to business models based on commercializing customer data.

“I expected to see less hype and a dose of common sense”

 Starting by the announcement of Spain’s Telefonica to introduce a broad plan “4th Platform” to help both consumer and business customers keep greater control over their data rather than giving it away to web giants Google, Facebook and Amazon.

 “I expected to see more applications where IoT will become a lot less exciting, but more useful and profitable. The real world.” 

But I also feel like Scott Bicheno that  “Mobile World Congress is disconnected from reality”.

 

The Top 5 tricks of illusionism this year

5G, Network Slicing and their associated Business Models

5G will undoubtedly be the next big thing in mobile wireless networks. For Niall Norton: fact, fiction, MWC – and strangers dancing in the dark, the most over-hyped technology or trend this year will be 5G in spite he thinks 5G is still miles away and therefore we have to wait for augmented reality, virtual reality, driverless cars and the like. It is a big ask for investors to keep piling money in.

For Phil Laidler, Network slicing is essentially an extension of policy control, virtualisation, NFV and SDN, and their orchestration; the move towards software-centric, flexible end-to-end networks. At MWC this year he is looking forward to seeing more "proof of concepts" for network-slicing and the associated business models, in addition to any insights into how slicing will work in practice.

Nokia’s big 5G announcement on ‘day 0’ of the event was overshadowed by a large consortium of operators and vendors calling for just the ‘new radio’ part of the 5G standard to be accelerated, despite the fact that it will lack the backhaul, cloud infrastructure, software platforms, etc needed to make the 5G dream viable. If anything highlights the wishful-thinking folly of much of the talk at this year’s show it’s that.

IoT

IoT has been a hot topic at MWC for the last few years, but, operators do not succeed with new business models beyond managed connectivity. Strategic alliances with IoT vendors has shown no results yet.

The battle between connectivity technologies remains fierce, cellular IoT Chip Battle Escalates at MWC ARM, Sequans and Altair to compete on NB-IoT solutions, but vendors and operators are now looking for more innovative ways to overcome the problem. This might just be the year of Low-Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN).  Although LoRa and Sigfox are currently dominant in the LPWA market, cellular IoT proponents had steal the show.

For example, Telefonica - who is working on NB-IoT with Huawei - recently announced a global partnership with Sigfox. In addition, Nokia launched its worldwide IoT network grid ('WING') a few weeks ago, which it describes as "a 'one-stop-shop', full service model offering seamless IoT connectivity across technologies and geographical borders."

For Operators, the real value from IoT will be created when they can start combining data sets from different areas and different connectivity technologies. For example, smart cities, healthcare or Food & Beverage, retail, transportation and logistics to improve the cold chain supply management processes.

I hope that at MWC18 we will be looking out for examples of operators and vendors developing IoT use-cases that do just that.

“The Internet of Things is in MWC to stay for a few more years, but If your focus is Internet of Things (IoT) then your money probably will have more ROI in other IoT events”

Blockchain

Blockchain has become one of the latest buzz words in telecoms, IT and IoT , thanks to a rapid increase in start-ups using it for new use-cases beyond its original application in financial services. Despite the excitement around blockchain the technology is still poorly understood by many, so operators need to explore the practical applications of blockchain and investigate whether developing these capabilities would be beneficial and understand what will be their role telcos in this field. 

Machine learning, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Robots

Not many people in the Operators and in general in the Telco sector can explain what will be the practical potential of AI and machine learning in this sector. Other industry sectors are starting to apply machine learning models to their business. And as the technology and algorithms become more refined, early adopters expect to see huge cost savings. But at what cost? 

I expect to see real use cases for AI, machine learning and Robots to make the eternal promise of Customer Experience happen.

Will Telcos someday use machine learning and AI to learn about customer’s habits so that their services and product features can emulate a human behaviour more accurately?. This is a huge opportunity for both vendors and operators.

The wandering souls network

The first time I visited MWC as CEO of OIES, that is to say, as an independent consultant, I feel like a walking dead. Without a clear agenda, without scheduled meetings. I walk through hundreds of exhibitor booths looking for friend’s faces that can spend a couple of minutes to tell them my history.

The Telco sector (Operators, Large Vendors) and the IT sector is being very cruel with employees over 45 years old. This year I have had the opportunity to spend some time with some of ex-colleagues, friends and also LinkedIn contacts that wanted to tell me their history and asked me for advice about the new “El Dorado world of IoT”. 

There is a lot of talent out there. Do not exclude this extraordinary wandering network because you believe they are overqualified and you can not manage them.

See you next year at MWC18

I've been saying the same thing for years when I come exhausted from MWC  “No more tricks, no more illusions, this has been my last year". But will be this time the real one. Do I need a sabbatical MWC?.

“Whether you passed 1 day, 3 days or a whole week of your life in the MWC17 illusionism, ask yourself: Was it worth it? “

Now you see me or not @MWC18.

 Thanks for your Comments and Likes

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It was a matter of time to end up writing an article to talk about the connection between Internet of Things (IoT) and the technology (arguably still in the infancy of its development) that may have the greatest power to transform our world, Blockchain.

In a future planet interconnected not just by devices, but by the events taking place across it, with billions of devices talking to one another in real time, the Internet of Things will require a secure and efficient way to track all interactions, transactions, and activities of every “thing” in the network.

Blockchain’s role could be a coordination layer across devices and the enabler of the IoT to securely facilitate interactions and transactions between devices, and may also support certain processes related to architecture scalability, data sharing, and advancements in encryption and private key technology, enhanced security, and potentially even privacy.

With blockchain, the Achilles’ heel of the IoT of heterogeneous OEM devices world now becomes viable. I wonder however, if is feasible that this decentralized IoT network may co-exist IoT sub-networks or centralized cloud based IoT models.

But let's face it, blockchain is still a nascent and controversial technology (experts estimate that it might take 5 -10 years for the mainstream adoption of blockchain technologies). Therefore, we must consider that blockchain’s applications within the Internet of Things is still a matter of conjecture and trial, and that it will take more time to determine whether and how blockchain might be implemented to secure IoT ecosystems.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain, the technology that constitutes the backbone of the famous bitcoin, is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It is distributed in nature, meaning that there is no master computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. It’s also ever-growing — data records are only added to the chain.

A blockchain consists of two types of elements:

  • Transactions are the actions created by the participants in the system.
  • Blocks record these transactions and make sure they are in the correct sequence and have not been tampered with. Blocks also record a time stamp when the transactions were added.

If you want to know more about blockchain you can read:

Fascinating opportunities ahead with IoT and Blockchain

The possibilities of IoT are virtually countless, especially when the power of IoT is combined with that of other technologies, such as machine learning. But some major hurdles will surface as billions of smart devices will want to interact among themselves and with their owners.

While these challenges cannot be met with the current models that are supporting IoT communications, tech firms and researchers are hoping to deal with them through blockchain.

Applying the blockchain concept to the world of IoT offers fascinating possibilities. Is yet to be seen if blockchain is bound to expedite the revolution, simply by being the backbone for most of the future IoT systems.

An example -  Right from the time a product completes final assembly, it can be registered by the manufacturer into a universal blockchain representing its beginning of life. Once sold, a dealer or end customer can register it to a regional blockchain (a community, city or state).  But, this is only the beginning for the blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT). A washing machine could become a semi-autonomous device capable of managing its own consumables supply. It can perform self-service and maintenance, and even negotiating with other peer devices.

Challenges of Blockchain and IoT ecosystems

The chaotic growth of IoT will introduce several challenges, including identifying, connecting, securing, and managing so many devices. It will be very challenging for the current infrastructure and architecture underlying the Internet and online services to support huge IoT ecosystems of the future.

Forrester analyst Martha Bennett in the report “Disentangle Hype From Reality: Blockchain’s Potential For IoT Solutions defines three categories of challenges that Internet of Things and blockchain ecosystems participants must address: Technology, Operational challenges and Legal and compliance issues.

According with the report, the result of multiple surveys indicates that what the IoT requires more than any technological or architectural advancement is trust: trust between stakeholders and the devices interacting with them, their customers, or on their behalf.

 “As technology and commercial firms look for ways to deploy and secure Internet of Things technologies at scale, blockchain has emerged as a clear favorite for managing issues like identity and transaction security”

Blockchain, a strategic ally to Democratize the IoT

The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. Thus, the primary utility the blockchain is a censorship resistant way to exchange value without intermediaries.

Will blockchain disrupt the disrupters?.  In my post “Is it possible to democratize the Internet of Things? How to avoid that a handful of companies can dominate the IoT” I already suggested the use of blockchain to avoid that data-hungry businesses and governments collect data on the behaviour of people and the performance of objects. Blockchain could avoid that Multinational and governments deepening tracking and control of citizen behaviour and attitudes. 

Are IoT Business Models at risks with Blockchain?

IoT Service Providers hope not. There is a risk that the combo of blockchain and the sharing economy trashes some new IoT business models.  Same way that, successful or not as successful platform, companies like Uber and Airbnb, are worried today.

Just think, the success of these and some other platform companies is largely due to people trading assets they own and are paid for, but from which new value could be derived, And they release this value by using platforms to match up sellers of the extra capacity – whatever it may be – with buyers. Further, they collect data about transactions “for further commercial gain”.

Indeed, arguably many of new IoT companies’ main line of business will be data, but, what if blockchain enabled buyers and sellers to work peer-to-peer and cut out the middleman/data aggregator and seller? In that case the secure connectivity could be king not the data.

A question for IoT Platform vendors, if we have a secure, foolproof decentralized system, why do I need your IoT Platform if I and all the communities I belong to can do it for ourselves, without anybody collecting, analyzing and selling data about me?

The convergence of Blockchain and the Internet of Things closer

In my post “Will we be able to build the Internet of Things?” I warned about the Babel tower of Alliance & Consortiums in the Internet of Things.

A blockchain technology industry consortium is emerging from the meeting, New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit,  with the objective of defining the scope and implementation of a smart contracts protocol layer across several major blockchain systems.

In December 2016, representatives from a group of industry-leading startups and innovative Fortune 500 companies met in Berkeley, CA to discuss the challenges facing blockchain and IoT innovation and the potential for a collective effort to address them.  The meeting was the first step towards a collaborative effort to explore and build a shared blockchain-based Internet of Things protocol. Participants in the discussions included blockchain companies Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, along with Fortune 500 corporations BNY Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, Gemalto, and Foxconn.

Who is using Blockchain in IoT

The IoT and blockchain combination is already gaining momentum, and is being endorsed by both startups and tech giants. Several companies are already putting blockchain to use to power IoT networks.

Filament, a startup that provides IoT hardware and software for industrial applications such as agriculture, manufacturing, and oil and gas industries. Filament’s wireless sensors, called Taps, create low-power autonomous mesh networks that enable enterprise companies to manage physical mining operations or water flows over agricultural fields without relying on centralized cloud alternatives. Device identification and intercommunication is secured by a bitcoin blockchain that holds the unique identity of each participating node in the network.

Telstra, Australian telecommunication giant Telstra is another company leveraging blockchain technology to secure smart home IoT ecosystems. Cryptographic hashes of device firmware are stored on a private blockchain to minimize verification time and obtain real-time tamper resistance and tamper detection. Since most smart home devices are controlled through mobile apps, Telstra further expands the model and adds user biometric information to the blockchain hashes in order to tie in user identity and prevent compromised mobile devices from taking over the network. This way, the blockchain will be able to verify both the identity of IoT devices and the identity of the people interacting with those devices.

IBM, allows to extend (private) blockchain into cognitive Internet of Things. To illustrate the benefits of blockchain and Internet of Things convergence, IBM gives the example of complex trade lanes and logistics whereby smart contracts can follow (and via blockchain technology register), everything that has happened to individual items and packages. The benefits: audit trails, accountability, new forms of contracts and speed, to name a few.

IBM and Samsung introduced their proof-of-concept system, ADEPT, which uses blockchain to support next-generation IoT ecosystems that will generate hundreds of billions of transactions per day.

Onename are creating the infrastructure for blockchain based identities that can be used for humans and machines. This means the blockchain can act like a phone book that lets machines find each other.

Tierion is being used to collect data from industrial medical devices to build a verifiable record of their usage and maintenance history. Tierion is thrilled to be the first partner to join Philips' Blockchain Lab. Together they are exploring how blockchain technology can be used in healthcare.

ConsenSys working with Innogy (a subsidiary of German utility RWE) are exploring how to enable an energy marketplace fed by distributed solar and other electricity-generating devices, which are run using a decentralized power grid.

21.co, Microsoft, Slock.it, and others are working directly with adopters in manufacturing, supply chain management, energy and utilities, agriculture, and construction; distributed ledgers may further automate, secure, and drive new services for these industries.

Blockchain is not the unique silver bullet for IoT security

Given the importance that Security has to fulfil the promise of the Internet of Things (IoT), I wrote Do not stop asking for security in IoT although I did not talk about how blockchain can help secure the Internet of Things. Now with this post, I hope I have corrected that gap.

The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. Cryptographic algorithms used by blockchain technologies could perhaps be a silver bullet needed by the IoT industry to create a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on and to make consumer data more private. But blockchain should not be viewed as the unique silver bullet to all IoT security issues considering that today’s blockchain space is even more nascent than the IoT.

Manufacturers, legislators, IoT hardware and software vendors, IoT Service Providers, System Integrators, analyst, and end users, must be aware of the IoT security challenges and focus on increase security efforts to reduce the risk inherent to the fragmented Internet of Things so among all we can accelerate adoption.

In the long term, we should keep dreaming in a fully decentralized and secure IoT using a standardized secure communication model. We must trust this dream will be possible, if worldwide, engineering talent, startups, large companies, and governments increase the investment in time, energy, and money to innovate in solutions that address the IoT’s and blockchain’s shared problems.

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I have to admit that I've been late to truly understanding blockchain. Blockchain is making inroads in the financial sector, but will also be an important part of the IoT.  I've been wanting to dive deep for a few months now but have never gotten around to it...until today. If you're like me, you have some technical depth, but blockchain and Bitcoin have been more buzzwords to know than technologies and tools that you truly grasp. You can change that today by watching these six videos.

Added bonus: all videos are less than 30 minutes in length!

What is Blockchain? <-- Two minute starter video put together by the World Economic Forum.

Security Implications of Non-Financial Uses of Blockchain Technology <-- Recorded at RSA Security Conference 2017, Dr. Tom Keenan gets it done in 10 minutes.

Genius of Things: Blockchain and Food Safety with IBM and Walmart  <-- Practical implications and use cases from two big names.

DisrupTV Featuring Steve Wilson, Constellation Research 2.10.17 <-- Great overview from a smart group of analysts. 

TED Talk: How the blockchain is changing money and business <-- by Don Tapscott

Blockchain 101 - A Visual Dem <-- This video by Anders Brownworth gets deeper and is a great primer for the mathematically inclined. Brownworth co-taught the blockchain class at MIT.

If you don't have time to watch the videos, but want the skinny right now, Constellation Research Analyst Steve Wilson breaks it down here in 500 words, with no graphics, and no analogies.

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Using Blockchain to Secure IoT

By Ahmed Banafa

IoT is creating new opportunities and providing a competitive advantage for businesses in current and new markets. It touches everything—not just the data, but how, when, where and why you collect it. The technologies that have created the Internet of Things aren’t changing the internet only, but rather change the things connected to the internet—the devices and gateways on the edge of the network that are now able to request a service or start an action without human intervention at many levels.

Because the generation and analysis of data are so essential to the IoT, consideration must be given to protecting data throughout its life cycle. Managing information at all levels is complex because data will flow across many administrative boundaries with different policies and intents.

Given the various technological and physical components that truly make up an IoT ecosystem, it is good to consider the IoT as a system-of-systems. The architecting of these systems that provide business value to organizations will often be a complex undertaking, as enterprise architects work to design integrated solutions that include edge devices, applications, transports, protocols, and analytics capabilities that make up a fully functioning IoT system. This complexity introduces challenges to keeping the IoT secure, and ensuring that a particular instance of the IoT cannot be used as a jumping off point to attack other enterprise information technology (IT) systems.

International Data Corporation (IDC) estimates that 90% of organizations that implement the IoT will suffer an IoT-based breach of back-end IT systems by the year 2017.

Challenges to Secure IoT Deployments

Regardless of the role, your business has within the Internet of Things ecosystem— device manufacturer, solution provider, cloud provider, systems integrator, or service provider—you need to know how to get the greatest benefit from this new technology that offers such highly diverse and rapidly changing opportunities.

Handling the enormous volume of existing and projected data is daunting. Managing the inevitable complexities of connecting to a seemingly unlimited list of devices is complicated. And the goal of turning the deluge of data into valuable actions seems impossible because of the many challenges. The existing security technologies will play a role in mitigating IoT risks but they are not enough. The goal is to get data securely to the right place, at the right time, in the right format; it’s easier said than done for many reasons.

Dealing with the challenges and threats

Gartner predicted that more than 20% of businesses will deploy security solutions for protecting their IoT devices and services by 2017, IoT devices and services will expand the surface area for cyber-attacks on businesses, by turning physical objects that used to be offline into online assets communicating with enterprise networks. Businesses will have to respond by broadening the scope of their security strategy to include these new online devices.

Businesses will have to tailor security to each IoT deployment according to the unique capabilities of the devices involved and the risks associated with the networks connected to those devices. BI Intelligence expects spending on solutions to secure IoT devices and systems to increase five fold over the next four years.

The optimum platform

Developing solutions for the Internet of Things requires unprecedented collaboration, coordination, and connectivity for each piece in the system, and throughout the system as a whole. All devices must work together and be integrated with all other devices, and all devices must communicate and interact seamlessly with connected systems and infrastructures in a secure way. It’s possible, but it can be expensive, time-consuming, and difficult unless the new line of thinking and a new approach to IoT security emerged away from the current centralized model.

The problem with the current centralized model

The current IoT ecosystems rely on centralized, brokered communication models, otherwise known as the server/client paradigm. All devices are identified, authenticated and connected through cloud servers that sport huge processing and storage capacities. The connection between devices will have to exclusively go through the internet, even if they happen to be a few feet apart.

While this model has connected generic computing devices for decades and will continue to support small-scale IoT networks as we see them today, it will not be able to respond to the growing needs of the huge IoT ecosystems of tomorrow.

Existing IoT solutions are expensive because of the high infrastructure and maintenance cost associated with centralized clouds, large server farms, and networking equipment. The sheer amount of communications that will have to be handled when IoT devices grow to the tens of billions will increase those costs substantially.

Even if the unprecedented economical and engineering challenges are overcome, cloud servers will remain a bottleneck and point of failure that can disrupt the entire network. This is especially important as more critical tasks

Moreover, the diversity of ownership of devices and their supporting cloud infrastructure makes machine-to-machine (M2M) communications difficult. There’s no single platform that connects all devices and no guarantee that cloud services offered by different manufacturers are interoperable and compatible.

Decentralizing IoT networks

A decentralized approach to IoT networking would solve many of the questions above. Adopting a standardized peer-to-peer communication model to process the hundreds of billions of transactions between devices will significantly reduce the costs associated with installing and maintaining large centralized data centers and will distribute computation and storage needs across the billions of devices that form IoT networks. This will prevent failure in any single node in a network from bringing the entire network to a halting collapse.

However, establishing peer-to-peer communications will present its own set of challenges, chief among them the issue of security. And as we all know, IoT security is much more than just about protecting sensitive data. The proposed solution will have to maintain privacy and security in huge IoT networks and offer some form of validation and consensus for transactions to prevent spoofing and theft.

To perform the functions of traditional IoT solutions without a centralized control, any decentralized approach must support three fundamental functions:

  • Peer-to-peer messaging
  • Distributed file sharing
  • Autonomous device coordination

 

The Blockchain approach

Blockchain, the “distributed ledger” technology that underpins bitcoin, has emerged as an object of intense interest in the tech industry and beyond. #Blockchain technology offers a way of recording transactions or any digital interaction in a way that is designed to be secure, transparent, highly resistant to outages, audit-able, and efficient; as such, it carries the possibility of disrupting industries and enabling new business models. The technology is young and changing very rapidly; widespread commercialization is still a few years off. Nonetheless, to avoid disruptive surprises or missed opportunities, strategists, planners, and decision makers across industries and business functions should pay heed now and begin to investigate applications of the technology.

What is Blockchain?

Blockchain is a database that maintains a continuously growing set of data records. It is distributed in nature, meaning that there is no master computer holding the entire chain. Rather, the participating nodes have a copy of the chain. It’s also ever-growing — data records are only added to the chain.

A blockchain consists of two types of elements:

  • Transactions are the actions created by the participants in the system.
  • Blocks record these transactions and make sure they are in the correct sequence and have not been tampered with. Blocks also record a time stamp when the transactions were added.

What are some advantages of Blockchain?

The big advantage of blockchain is that it’s public. Everyone participating can see the blocks and the transactions stored in them. This doesn’t mean everyone can see the actual content of your transaction, however; that’s protected by your private key.

A blockchain is decentralized, so there is no single authority that can approve the transactions or set specific rules to have transactions accepted. That means there’s a huge amount of trust involved since all the participants in the network have to reach a consensus to accept transactions.

Most importantly, it’s secure. The database can only be extended and previous records cannot be changed (at least, there’s a very high cost if someone wants to alter previous records).

 How does it work?

When someone wants to add a transaction to the chain, all the participants in the network will validate it. They do this by applying an algorithm to the transaction to verify its validity. What exactly is understood by “valid” is defined by the blockchain system and can differ between systems. Then it is up to a majority of the participants to agree that the transaction is valid.

A set of approved transactions is then bundled in a block, which gets sent to all the nodes in the network. They, in turn, validate the new block. Each successive block contains a hash, which is a unique fingerprint, of the previous block.

There are two main types of Blockchain:

  • In a public blockchain, everyone can read or write data. Some public blockchains limit the access to just reading or writing. Bitcoin, for example, uses an approach where anyone can write.
  • In a private blockchain, all the participants are known and trusted. This is useful when the blockchain is used between companies that belong to the same legal mother entity.

The Blockchain and IoT

Blockchain technology is the missing link to settle scalability, privacy, and reliability concerns in the Internet of Things. Blockchain technologies could perhaps be the silver bullet needed by the IoT industry. Blockchain technology can be used in tracking billions of connected devices, enable the processing of transactions and coordination between devices; allow for significant savings to IoT industry manufacturers. This decentralized approach would eliminate single points of failure, creating a more resilient ecosystem for devices to run on. The cryptographic algorithms used by blockchains would make consumer data more private.

The ledger is tamper-proof and cannot be manipulated by malicious actors because it doesn’t exist in any single location, and man-in-the-middle attacks cannot be staged because there is no single thread of communication that can be intercepted. Blockchain makes trustless, peer-to-peer messaging possible and has already proven its worth in the world of financial services through cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, providing guaranteed peer-to-peer payment services without the need for third-party brokers.

The decentralized, autonomous, and trustless capabilities of the blockchain make it an ideal component to become a fundamental element of IoT solutions. It is not a surprise that enterprise IoT technologies have quickly become one of the early adopters of blockchain technologies.

In an IoT network, the blockchain can keep an immutable record of the history of smart devices. This feature enables the autonomous functioning of smart devices without the need for centralized authority. As a result, the blockchain opens the door to a series of IoT scenarios that were remarkably difficult, or even impossible to implement without it.

By leveraging the blockchain, IoT solutions can enable secure, trustless messaging between devices in an IoT network. In this model, the blockchain will treat message exchanges between devices similar to financial transactions in a bitcoin network. To enable message exchanges, devices will leverage smart contracts which then model the agreement between the two parties.

In this scenario, we can sensor from afar, communicating directly with the irrigation system in order to control the flow of water based on conditions detected on the crops. Similarly, smart devices in an oil platform can exchange data to adjust functioning based on weather conditions.

Using the blockchain will enable true autonomous smart devices that can exchange data, or even execute financial transactions, without the need of a centralized broker. This type of autonomy is possible because the nodes in the blockchain network will verify the validity of the transaction without relying on a centralized authority.

In this scenario, we can envision smart devices in a manufacturing plant that can place orders for repairing some of its parts without the need of human or centralized intervention. Similarly, smart vehicles in a truck fleet will be able to provide a complete report of the most important parts needing replacement after arriving at a workshop.

One of the most exciting capabilities of the blockchain is the ability to maintain a duly decentralized, trusted ledger of all transactions occurring in a network. This capability is essential to enable the many compliances and regulatory requirements of industrial IoT applications without the need to rely on a centralized model.

 This article originally appeared here. Header photo has been modified, credit here.

References

http://www.cio.com/article/3027522/internet-of-things/beyond-bitcoin-can-the-blockchain-power-industrial-iot.html

http://dupress.com/articles/trends-blockchain-bitcoin-security-transparency/

https://techcrunch.com/2016/06/28/decentralizing-iot-networks-through-blockchain/

http://www.blockchaintechnologies.com/blockchain-internet-of-things-iot

https://postscapes.com/blockchains-and-the-internet-of-things/

http://www-935.ibm.com/services/multimedia/GBE03662USEN.pdf

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