Since the first Toaster was hooked up to the internet in 1989 more and more ‘Things’ have followed it.
Today we routinely monitor and control our home heating/cooling systems remotely. Our smartphones announce our location to further streamline and automate this process. Our smart fridge/freezers can tell us when they need topping up but more interestingly can be a force for good by only drawing down electricity when they actually need it. They can also, by monitoring the price of electricity on-line, decide when would be the most economical time to do this.
Outside of the home, cities can become smart with smart cars and traffic flow systems that react to actual traffic. Power feeds can be better managed meaning just the right amount of power can be delivered to where it is needed. Just in time logistics can feed into this system streamlining business and reducing costs. Control of farming including irrigation management in water shortage areas would benefit greatly from being part of a global IoT reducing water wastage whilst ensuring it is delivered when needed.
At this moment in time the IoT is still in its infancy although various sources estimate that by the end of this year (2019) up to 100B devices will connected to private networks on the internet (that’s over 10 devices per person on the planet). Individual companies are developing their own micro networks (with their own specific revenue imperatives and ownership structures) but to develop fully the ‘real’ IoT needs a facilitating conduit to allow these baby IoT’s to coalesce into one super IoT. Blockchain Technology provides the perfect solution.
A decentralised Blockchain network mitigates the risk of a single point failure disabling the network by utilising a high number (possibly in the millions in larger Blockchains) of individual nodes to transfer data peer-to-peer (p2p). Pre agreed Blockchain consensus protocols will ensure the safe transit of data. Public/private level security protocols in-built to the Blockchain will restrict access to data to those entitled to share it (a must for companies and individuals).
Various news sources estimate that by the end of this year revenues generated by IoT connected devices will be around US$357B. McKinsey estimates that this will rise to US$11.1 trillion by 2025. Whilst the size of this global market means it is too large to be ignored its development will be held back without advancements in the Blockchain Technology that will bring it to be.