The attention for and developments/initiatives regarding blockchain techology in IoT have accelerated  in a remarkably short period. Blockchain has been added to the agenda of the IoT Solutions World Congress 2017 for a reason. An update.

The expectations with regards to the many use cases for blockchain (a form of distributed ledger technology) are high across several industries. 

Blockchain is, among others a very hot topic in the scope of the Internet of Things, and certainly in the Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0.

We briefly touched upon (the state of) blockchain and IoT previously, citing some potential uses of blockchain in IoT solutions.  A quick summary before looking at some evolutions, predictions and key topics with regards to blockchain as they also will be tackled at IoT Solutions World Congress 2017 (IOTSWC 2017).

Blockchain in IoT and at IoT Solutions World Congress 2017

Promises, realities, debates, evolutions and future of blockchain in IoT

For starters, blockchain, as a distributed ledger technology, enables distributed or decentralized IoT communication networks. But there is more, much more.

  • Blockchain finds its roots in cryptocurrencies (e.g. Bitcoin) where it serves as the decentralized ledger of transactions. Given its roots, we covered it first in a context of blockchain and Fintech/finance. It’s clear that in the scope of IoT solutions and applications many transactions happen as well (more below).
  • In the context of the Internet of Things, blockchain is most often mentioned, studied and tested in a scope of security and data integrity. In Industry 4.0 and professional IoT applications you can certainly also think about regulatory requirements.
  • Referring back to the mentioned many transactions, blockchain and IoT de facto are looked at for, among others, smart contracts and faster transactions, which isn’t unimportant if we look at developments in the IoT space such as the fast rise of IoT data exchanges and monetization services.
Blockchain technology is the missing link to settle privacy and reliability concerns in the Internet of Things (Ahmed Banafa, see below)

As an example of the importance and rapid developments of blockchain in IoT: the IBM Watson IoT Plaform enables to use IoT data in combination with IBM Blockchain, among others for smart contracts in many areas, far beyond the mentioned IoT data exchanges.

Is blockchain technology enough for all the mentioned and other possibilities? Certainly not, more is needed. Moreover, while most are convinced – and analysts confirm – that the future of IoT undoubtedly includes blockchain, there are ample challenges and considerations to take into account which we’ll cover in a new IoT and blockchain article.

Still, market forecasts regarding IoT and blockchain are impressive. IDC, for instance, predicts that already by 2019, 20 percent of all IoT deployments will have basic levels of blockchain services enabled, in its “IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Internet of Things 2017 Predictions“. And do think about major industry and government sectors but also about consumer sectors.

Blockchain and IoT Solutions World Congress 2017: from security and digital identities to biometrics and music & entertainment

The market is moving fast indeed, with different speeds depending on industry and types of benefits sought in the convergence/combination of IoT and clockchain.

So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that blockchain has been added to the list of topics which are covered at IOTSWC 2017 in Barcelona (3 – 5 October) As the organizers of IoT Solutions World Congress state in an announcement regarding this initiative, blockchain is one of the “innovations that will soon disrupt the technological landscape forever changing the way we produce and communicate”.

IOTSWC 2017 will feature the Blockchain World Expo, in a joint initiative with the Blockchain Ecosystem Network. A look at the site of the IoT Solutions World Congress 2017 shows that, among others, in a Blockchain Solutions Forum, 12 conferences take place with topics, ranging from digital identities, blockchain and regulation, blockchain and data security, IoT and blockchain and the usage of blockchain across various areas that are less related with IoT and more with other industries and manufacturing with Industry 4.0 use cases and demos, as well as use cases from sectors such as music & entertainment.

Blockchain offers potential to many industries as a platform to manage any digital assets from financial data, to property management, health care data management and verification or intellectual property (IOTSWC 2017 press release)

Blockchain is indeed everywhere, also at IoT Solutions World Congress 2017. Stay tuned for more information on the event, on blockchain, IoT and Industry 4.0 and on existing IoT projects where blockchain plays a role.

In the meantime, check out this IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) article on blockchain and IoT convergence from January 2017 in which author Ahmed Banafa states that “blockchain technology is the missing link to settle privacy and reliability concerns in the Internet of Things” and make sure to also read the comments as it’s an interesting discussion with several opinions and details for those who are deeply interested in the topic.

To conclude, a quote from the Blockchain Conference Program at IoT Solutions World 2017 summarizes what many think: “Like the internet reinvented communication, blockchain will have a similar impact on transactions, contracts and trust”.

Disclaimer: we have no commercial or other relationships with any of the mentioned companies, events or people. Top image: Shutterstock – Copyright: whiteMocca