Decentralizing the Internet of Things with Blockchain
Posted By : Anirudh Bhardwaj | 20-Nov-2018
Internet of Things is a new age of digitally transformative technologies that are radically changing the world around us. From surveillance to energy networks, from farming techniques to aeronautical applications, there’d be hardly any field that has been untouched with the startling aspects of IoT.
Nevertheless, IoT is creating new opportunities for the companies and individuals all along, providing competitive edge to the businesses and streamlining the workflow of various organizations. It’s only because of the IoT that things are changing so quickly around us. With so many devices connected to the internet today and various gateways on the edge of the network, it is now possible to perform the required actions with minimal or no human intervention at many levels.
Challenges With The Existing IoT Networks
The existing IoT systems rely on a centralized communications model where all devices are connected through cloud servers that require humongous processing power and storage capacities. The devices are connected through the same internet regardless of their current position.
The centralized IoT ecosystem has been there for decades, supporting all major IoT networks. But the question is, “can it address the skyrocketing requirements of the future IoT systems?” Of course, the present-day IoT models will continue to support the small-scale IoT networks but they don’t seem to suffice considering the increasing data and energy requirements of the extensive IoT networks that are running large-scale companies and organizations.
Furthermore, IoT development services are quite expensive these days because of the involvement of centralized clouds, large server farms and networking equipment that impose high infrastructure and maintenance costs. Now imagine a scenario when the number of devices in an IoT system grows to tens of billions. The devices will be carrying insanely large number of communications and there will be a substantial rise in the maintenance costs.
Another major setback of the modern day IoT systems is the single point of failure which undermines the increasing IoT requirements. All the devices in an IoT network are connected to a cloud server which remains the central hub controlling the entire network. So one small glitch in the cloud server brings the entire network down.
The Decentralization of IoT Networks
The aforementioned information clearly shows that most of the problems with the existing IoT systems exist because of their centralized architecture. In such scenario, decentralizing the IoT networks can solve many of these problems. Implementing a decentralized communications model can cut down the expenses by reducing the maintenance costs associated with large centralized data centers. Apart from that, doing this will eliminate the single point of failure, so if there’s a failure with a particular node, the overall system will remain intact.
Securing IoT With Blockchain
Although decentralizing the IoT networks can provide some significant advantages, it can also be detrimental from the security’s point of view as this also puts the sensitive information at risk. However, if the decentralization is attained by the implementation of a distributed ledger based technology like Blockchain, it can be mitigate all the risk factors that might put the IoT system at risk.
Blockchain is known to be the most secure means of storage for practically any type of information. This so called ultra-secure ledger is immutable, tamper-proof and employs the most advanced form of cryptography ever to exist. Blockchain creates a decentralized network where data is stored in a series of blocks, forming a cryptographic link. It creates a decentralized, peer-to-peer network where the data is originally shared with all the nodes in the network.
However, Blockchain can be manipulated to form certain layers of privacy within the same network and that’s how it can ensure safety to the sensitive customer data. So, besides creating a decentralized network, it reduces costs, eliminates points of failures and also provides vast options for maintaining security within the network. To say the least, Blockchain can be the missing link that would potentially change the way most IoT systems operate.