Using Blockchain for the Internet of Things (IoT)

Using Blockchain for the Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet of Things refers to the interconnectivity of physical devices and objects, forming a network of sensors and non-computing devices that communicate with computers and other devices over the Internet. IoT technology has many applications for personal, domestic, commercial, and industrial use. As the IoT advances, it will become possible to control and automate a large number of devices, improving efficiency across various industries and enhancing our daily lives. Cryptocurrencies are expected to play a significant role in the microtransactions and M2M economy that will emerge from the IoT.

Basics

The Digital Revolution, which began in the 1950s, led to the creation of groundbreaking technology that was initially restricted to a select few. However, the industry quickly grew, and these novel technologies became more accessible. With the convergence of different types of innovative devices such as RFID chips, sensors, and the Internet, the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) was born. This technology marks a significant shift in the Computer Age as it now enables more than just computers to connect through the Internet.

In the early days of the IoT, university students at MIT pioneered its use by monitoring and restocking their cola dispenser machine using inexpensive sensors. The concept continued to develop in the 1990s when Reza Raji published an article proposing the automation of homes and factories through the movement of data packets.

During this time, Microsoft and other companies also began experimenting with similar ideas. By the early 2000s, media outlets began reporting on the breakthroughs of IoT, including the use of interconnected smart devices monitored by an information system.

However, it was not until 2008 that the IoT industry truly began to take shape. That year, the number of electronic devices connected to the Internet surpassed the world's population, marking the official birth of the IoT.

How Does IoT Work?

IoT technology involves the interconnectivity of physical devices and objects, forming a network of sensors and non-computing devices that communicate with computers and other devices over the Internet. Examples include thermostats, heart rate monitors, sprinklers, and home security systems.

IoT's innovation allows for remote monitoring, control, automation, and status checking of numerous devices and sensors. This technology has found its way into smart homes and self-driving cars, making them even more efficient and convenient.

Personal and Domestic Use

IoT technology has many applications for personal and domestic use, including home automation. This involves using devices to monitor and control the use of lights, air conditioners, heaters, and security systems. These devices can also connect to smartwatches, smartphones, and dedicated smart hubs designed to link different smart home products.

Automated homes can greatly enhance the quality of life for older adults and people with disabilities. Real-time sensors can alert family members when a relative's heart rate is abnormal or if they experience a fall. Hospitals are testing smart beds to monitor patient activity and track when patients leave their beds. For example, smart beds can detect whether a bed is occupied or not, allowing for improved care and monitoring.

Commercial Use

Monitoring environmental conditions like temperature, humidity, air pressure, and quality is one of the various industrial applications of IoT technology that uses sensors. Farmers can utilize IoT devices to track their livestock's water and food supplies, while manufacturers can monitor when products are running low. Automated machines can even be set to order more products automatically when the supply goes below a specific level.

Limitations

IoT is an innovation that has come to stay. However, one challenge with IoT is the need to monitor and connect multiple devices, which can become overwhelming for businesses and homeowners. It is also possible that some devices may depend on an Internet connection. To address this, some companies have developed applications that allow devices to be controlled in the iOS environment, even through the use of voice commands. Other IoT platforms operate through hubs that are independent of the Internet or WiFi access, such as Amazon's Echo and Samsung's SmartThings Hub. These devices are linked to a sensor, which can be connected to the Internet or another WiFi receiver, making it possible to centrally control, program, and monitor them.

IoT Crypto

The IoT is expected to rely on micro-transactions between digital objects in the future, which necessitates the establishment of a machine-to-machine (M2M) economy where non-human devices can exchange money. To enable this, IoT devices need to be interconnected. Cryptocurrencies are a promising alternative to traditional payment methods. Initially, blockchain technology was thought to be the basic framework for the M2M economy because it was deemed suitable for micropayments and widely used with cryptocurrencies.

However, many blockchain networks have limited transaction processing capabilities, making them unsuitable for processing large-scale M2M transactions. Nonetheless, several blockchain projects are working on scalability solutions, including the Bitcoin Lightning Network and the Ethereum Plasma.

Conclusion

As the IoT advances, it will become possible to control and automate a large number of devices, improving efficiency across various industries and enhancing our daily lives. Cryptocurrencies are expected to play a significant role in the microtransactions and M2M economy that will emerge from the IoT. Currently, only a few cryptocurrencies are targeting the IoT sector, but as technology continues to progress, it is expected that many more will be developed.

Blockchain
Internet of Things
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