Blockchain as the Underlying Architecture of Secure IoT Solutions

24.05.2018
6 min.
title

In the light of the recent Cambridge Analytica scandals and the still unfolding investigations with Canadian AggregateIQ that allegedly used personal data to influence the results of the Brexit vote, the question of data privacy and security is still up in the air. The proliferation of IoT devices that gather consumer data complicates things even further, with more and more unprotected data up for grabs. When it comes to all this data, there are two big issues that need to be tackled asap: data privacy and data transparency.

Even if you are not into conspiracy theories of Alexa and Google Home recording users around the clock and sending this data to the NSA, the following unanswered questions still remain important:

  • Where is the data obtained from IoT devices saved?
  • For how long is it saved?
  • Who has access to this data?
  • How secure are the channels via which the data is transferred?
  • How can consumers audit and control the whole process?

When it comes to transparency, many consumers also wonder how true labels and manufactures’ claims are in a profit-driven world. How can we be sure we are not overpaying for insurance, and that the smoothie we are drinking is actually good for us? How do we know that the engagement ring we have picked is manufactured ethically, or that piece of clothing we are wearing is not toxic to our body?

Blockchain services may be just the ingredient IoT infrastructure had been missing for so long that may help consumers and regulators finally answer all of the questions above.

Also, in absence of blockchain technologies, the IoT sphere faces tangible scalability and peer-to-peer issues. Blockchain helps overcome these problems by providing more trust, reliable and private records, and interactions that are secure and scalable. Single point of failure and time stamping are other benefits for all parties involved.  

In this article we will look at everyday blockchain-based IoT security use cases for consumers and regulators that may help overcome the current IoT issues and become the blueprint for the final mass adoption of IoT devices.

Blockchain-based IoT Infrastructure for Consumers

Right now we as consumers are not able to audit where data is stored, how it’s transferred and who has access to it. If we save logs of all communications with our IoT devices on the blockchain, these logs will be easily auditable for suspicious activity.

Secure Payments with Wearables

According to a market intelligence firm Tractica, the volume of payments made with wearables will grow to $501.1 billion by 2020. That’s about 20 percent of all proximity payments. No one will argue that paying with your favorite wearable is convenient, but how secure is it? IoT devices that are now quickly being transformed into commerce portals offering products and services for sale still have the issue of processing, transferring and storing your sensitive financial information. Fintech software development experts are working on perfecting security protocols all the time, and blockchain adoption may just be the aspect that can finally resolve a lot of concerns for consumers.  

Transparent Food

Organic food labels are often suspicious and in some cases a total fraud because definitions of what “organic” means are murky and unclear, depending on legislation in each particular country. With IoT sensors the end user can actually track how the food was grown, and since the data is gathered on the public blockchain, users can also have full access to it. IoT drones already monitor crops remotely, and crop dusting is so precise you can eliminate contamination and enjoy a product which is exactly “what it says on the tin”. Allergen monitors made by 6SensorLabs detect gluten content in food in a 2-minute test with 99.5% accuracy, all while sending results to a smartphone for a user to make an intelligent purchasing decision. Also, new startups are created every day to detect E. coli and salmonella, and when this data is securely stored on the blockchain, consumers have full access to it and can trust it 100%.

Car Insurance Telematics

Most of us are probably overpaying for car insurance, since it’s based on average estimates. IoT helps to calculate insurance premiums and make your payments transparent. How does it work? Wireless devices are plugged into the diagnostic port of the vehicle, which allows you to enjoy “per-mile” usage-based insurance. Combining IoT tech with blockchain application development helps keep all that financial data secure, immutable and auditable.

Blockchain-based IoT Infrastructure for Regulators

A crucial responsibility of different regulating bodies is to maintain information about individuals, organizations, activities, and assets. Depending on the nation, data obtained by regulators should also be public. Unfortunately, in many cases, data can be prone to security breaches, fraud, corruption, third party involvement, etc. Because of the immutable and transparent nature of blockchain, it can change how IoT data is regulated on the governmental level.

Blockchain is already used by governments in Estonia (health records), Sweden (land registry), SAE (economy), USA (corporate trade and transaction clearing process in Delaware), Australia (smart utilities project for distributed energy and water systems) and in many other countries in the world. Blockchain technology companies may be useful to regulators in the public sector by helping improve processes with data sharing by increasing trust and auditability thanks to automation and smart contracts. Below are a few use cases.

Micro Car Insurance

Keeping track of driver records can be a challenging task for regulators. Applications for micro car insurance for drivers who use cars only 10 days out of the year right before the trip are not just a great way to apply the pay-as-you-go principle to car insurance, but also an asset at keeping track of driver history for regulators. Blockchain developers provide automated vehicle history by using IoT sensors and better security by storing the acquired data centrally on the blockchain. The history of these insurance deals is saved on the blockchain locally and if you had an accident, there is no way of hiding it. Plus actual mileage and full history of tech checks is on the blockchain providing the guarantee of uncompromised data for regulators. This way all types of fraud and corruption can be eliminated.

Data Interoperability

When data is gathered from an IoT device and collected into an old school database, various agencies that will be making use of this data are not able to keep identification information in sync. For example, in the USA such regulatory bodies as the IRS, the DHS and the DMV use different identification numbers for the same person on their records. Identity management with the help of blockchain application development allows regulators to centralize this data, keep it in the same format across all organizations and automate processes.

Transparent Healthcare Safety

Besides fintech services and governmental agencies, IoT can be successfully combined with blockchain tech in the healthcare sector. Today hand hygiene IoT sensors can monitor how clean the doctor’s hands are when they approach a patient’s bed. And since data from sensors on wearables goes straight on the blockchain, it may finally be the end of conspiracies and alliances of doctors protecting each other in case of foul play, in turn empowering unbiased investigations. There are other areas where IoT powered by blockchain may bring about huge changes. Ingestible sensors allow tracking the patient’s taking medications. Glass Explorer Edition tech controlled by voice commands allows doctors to record patient data during visits hands free and send it to the blockchain using a HIPAA-certified encrypted network. This saves approximately 15 hours of work per week and guarantees data security.

In order to reap all the benefits of IoT coupled with blockchain software development you will need to hire a solid IT team to cover all the aspects of the process, from hardware to software, and everything in between. Itransition is a one-stop shop for all your needs since we provide full-cycle development services and have experts who do not just work in their narrow niche but also boast a profound understanding of different technologies you would require.