Internet of Things (IoT) Applications with Blockchain Technique

Introduction to the Internet of Things (IoT)

What is IoT?

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network without requiring human-to-human or human-to-computer interaction.

Example of IoT

FIGURE 7.1 Example of IoT.

IoT is creating opportunities for more direct integration between the physical world and computer-based systems, and resulting in improved efficiency, accuracy and economic benefit.

Benefits of IoT

The Internet of Things offers a number of benefits to organizations, enabling them to:

  • • Monitor their overall business processes.
  • • Improve the customer experience.
  • • Save time and money.
  • • Enhance employee productivity.
  • • Integrate and adapt business models.
  • • Make better business decisions.
  • • Generate more revenue.

Example of IoT

Examples of objects that can fall into the scope of Internet of Things include connected security systems, thermostats, cars, electronic appliances, lights in household and commercial environments, alarm clocks, speaker systems, vending machines and more as shown below in Figure 7.1.

Applications of Internet of Things (IoT)

1) Smart Home

Wouldn’t you love it if you could switch on air conditioning before getting home or switch off lights even after you have left home? Or unlock the doors to friends for temporary access even when you are not at home. Do not be surprised with IoT taking shape companies are building products to make your life simpler and more convenient.

The Smart Home has become the revolutionary ladder of success in the residential spaces and it is predicted smart homes will become as common as smart phones.

The cost of owning a house is the biggest expense in a homeowner’s life. Smart home products promise to save time, energy and money. Smart home companies like Nest, Eco bee, Ring and August, to name a few, will become household brands and are planning to deliver a never seen before experience.

2) Wearables

Wearables have experienced an explosive demand in markets all over the world. Companies like Google and Samsung have invested heavily in building such devices. But how do they work?

Wearable devices are installed with sensors and software which collect data and information about users. This data is later pre-processed to extract essential insights about the user.

These devices broadly cover fitness, health and entertainment requirements. The pre-requisite from Internet of Things technology for wearable applications is to be highly energy efficient or ultra-low power and small-sized.

3) Connected Cars

The automotive digital technology has focused on optimizing vehicles’ internal functions. But now this attention is growing toward enhancing the in-car experience.

A connected car is a vehicle w'hich is able to optimize its own operation and maintenance as well as the comfort of passengers by using onboard sensors and internet connectivity.

Most large auto makers as well as some brave startups are working on connected car solutions. Major brands like Tesla, BMW, Apple, and Google are working on bringing the next revolution in automobiles.

4) Industrial Internet

The Industrial Internet is the new buzz in the industrial sector, also termed as Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). It is empowering industrial engineering with sensors, software and big data analytics to create smart machines.

According to Jeff Immelt, CEO, GE Electric, IIoT is a “beautiful, desirable and investable” asset. The driving philosophy behind IIoT is that smart machines are more accurate and consistent than humans in communicating via data. And this data can help companies pick up inefficiencies and problems sooner.

IIoT holds great potential for quality control and sustainability. Applications for tracking goods, real time information exchange about inventory among suppliers and retailers and automated delivery will increase supply chain efficiency. According to GE the improvement industry productivity will generate $10 trillion to $15 trillion in GDP worldwide over the next fifteen years.

5) Smart Cities

The Smart City is another powerful application of IoT generating curiosity among the world’s population. Smart surveillance, automated transportation, smarter energy management systems, water distribution, urban security and environmental monitoring all are examples of Internet of Things applications for smart cities.

IoT will solve major problems faced by people living in cities such as pollution, traffic congestion and shortage of energy supplies etc. Products such as cellular communication-enabled Big Belly trash products will send alerts to municipal services when a bin needs to be emptied. By installing sensors and using web applications, citizens can find available parking slots across the city. Also, sensors can detect meter-tampering issues, general malfunctions, and any installation issues in the electricity system.

6) IoT in Agriculture

With the continuous increase in the world’s population, demand for food supply has greatly increased. Governments are helping farmers to use advanced techniques and research to increase food production. Smart farming is one of the fastest growing fields in IoT.

Farmers are using meaningful insights from the data to yield better return on investment. Sensing for soil moisture and nutrients, controlling water usage for plant growth and determining custom fertilizer are some simple uses of IoT.

7) Smart Retail

The potential of IoT in the retail sector is enormous. IoT provides an opportunity to retailers to connect with the customers to enhance the in-store experience.

Smartphones will be the way for retailers to remain connected with their consumers even out of store. Interacting through smartphones and using Beacon technology can help retailers serve their consumers better. They can also track the consumer’s path through a store and improve store layout and place premium products in high-traffic areas.

8) Energy Engagement

The power grids of the future will not only be smart enough but also highly reliable. The smart grid concept is becoming very popular all over the world.

The basic idea behind smart grids is to collect data in an automated fashion and analyze the behavior of electricity consumers and suppliers for improving efficiency as well as the economics of electricity use.

Smart grids will also be able to detect sources of power outages more quickly and at individual household levels like nearby solar panel, making possible a distributed energy system.

9) IoT in Health Care

Connected healthcare still remains the sleeping giant of the Internet of Things applications. The concept of connected healthcare system and smart medical devices has enormous potential not just for companies, but also for the wellbeing of people in general.

Research shows IoT in healthcare will be massive in coming years. IoT in healthcare is aimed at empowering people to live a healthier life by wearing connected devices.

The collected data will help in the personalized analysis of an individual’s health and provide tailormade strategies to combat illness.

10) Poultry and Farming

Livestock monitoring is about animal husbandry and cost saving. Using IoT applications to gather data about the health and wellbeing of cattle, ranchers knowing early about the sick animal can extract it and help prevent a large number of sick cattle.

IoT as a Network of Networks

Figure 7.2 below shows these networks connected with added security, analytics, and management capabilities. This will allow IoT to become even more powerful in what it can help people achieve.

The Future of IoT

As far as the reach of the Internet of Things, there are more than 12 billion devices that can currently connect to the internet, and researchers at IDC estimate that by 2020 there will be 26 times more connected things than people.

Introduction of Blockchain

What is Blockchain?

A blockchain is a record of transactions. The name comes from its structure, in which individual records, called blocks, are linked together in a single list, called a chain. Blockchains are used for recording transactions made with cryptocurrencies, and have many other applications.

Each transaction added to a blockchain is validated by multiple computers. These systems, which are configured to monitor specific types of blockchain transactions, form a network. They work together to ensure that each transaction is valid before it is added to the blockchain. This decentralization of computers ensures a single system cannot add invalid blocks to the chain.

IoT as a Network of Networks

FIGURE 7.2 IoT as a Network of Networks.

Future of IoT

FIGURE 7.3 Future of IoT.

When a new block is added to a blockchain, it is linked to the previous block using a hash generated from the contents of the previous block. This ensures the chain is never broken and that each block is permanently recorded. It is also intentionally difficult to alter past transactions in the blockchain since all subsequent blocks must be altered first.

Architecture of Blockchain

• Let us study the blockchain architecture by understanding its various components:

Genesis Block

  • • A blockchain is a chain of blocks which contain information. The data which is stored inside a block depends on the type of blockchain.
  • • For example, A bitcoin block contains information about the sender, receiver, and number of bitcoins to be transferred.

• The first block in the chain is called the Genesis block. Each new block in the chain is linked to the previous block.

Understanding SHA256 Hash

A block also has a hash. This can be understood as a fingerprint which is unique to each block. It identifies a block and all of its contents, and it is always unique, just like a fingerprint. So once a block is created, any change inside the block will cause the hash to change.

Therefore, the hash is very useful when you want to detect changes to intersections. If the fingerprint of a block changes, it does not remain the same block.

Each block has

  • 1. Data
  • 2. Hash
  • 3. Hash of the previous block

Consider the following example, where we have a chain of three blocks. The first block has no predecessor. Hence, it does not contain a hash of the previous block. Block 2 contains a hash of block 1, while block 3 contains a hash of block 2.

Hence all blocks are containing hashes of previous blocks. This is the technique that makes a blockchain so secure. Let us see how it works:

Assume an attacker is able to change the data present in Block 2. Correspondingly, the hash of the block also changes. However, Block 3 still contains the old hash of

Block 2. This makes Block 3, and all succeeding blocks, invalid as they do not have the correct hash of the previous block.

Therefore changing a single block can quickly make all the following blocks invalid.

Application of Blockchain

Blockchain is used for the secure transfer of items like money, property, contracts, etc. without requiring a third-party intermediary such as a bank or government. Once data is recorded inside a blockchain, it is very difficult to change it.

Wireless 2.0—Integrated Networks on the Blockchain

Wireless mesh networks as shown in the figure below, an emerging technology, may bring the dream of a seamlessly connected world into reality.

You would be forgiven for thinking that wireless mesh networking is just another marketing bullet point for new Wi-Fi routers, a phrase coined to drive up prices without delivering benefits.

However, we can avoid being cynical for once: mesh technology does deliver a significant benefit over the regular old Wi-Fi routers we have bought in years past and that remain on the market.

Mesh networks are resilient, self-configuring, and efficient. You do not need to interfere with them after often minimal work required setting them up, and they provide arguably the best and highest throughput you can achieve in your home. These advantages have led to several startups and existing companies introducing mesh systems contending for the home and small business Wi-Fi networking dollar.

Mesh Networks Solve a Particular Problem

Covering a relatively large area, more than about 1,000 square feet on a single floor, or a multi-floor dwelling or office, especially where there is no ethernet already present to allow easier wired connections of non-mesh Wi-Fi routers and wireless access points.

Wireless Mesh Network

FIGURE 7.4 Wireless Mesh Network.

All the current mesh ecosystems also offer simplicity.

You might pull out great tufts of hair working with the web-based administration control panels on even the most popular conventional Wi-Fi routers.

In outdoor wireless networking, wireless mesh networks are the third topology after point-to-point and point-to-multipoint in order to build a wireless network infrastructure. Each device in a wireless mesh network is typically called a mesh node and is connected with multiple other mesh nodes at the same time.

Wireless mesh networks are also multi-hop networks because each mesh node can reach another node going through multiple hops and leveraging other nodes as repeaters. The major advantage of a wireless mesh network is its intrinsic redundancy and, consequently, reliability because a mesh network is able to reroute traffic through multiple paths to cope with link failures, interference, power failures or network device failures.

Two types of wireless mesh network are usually implemented for commercial and government applications:

  • • Unstructured or omni-directional wireless mesh networks
  • • Structured wireless mesh networks

In an unstructured wireless mesh network, each mesh node typically uses an omnidirectional antenna and is able to communicate with all the other mesh nodes that

Point-to-Point, Point-to-Multipoint & Mesh Network

FIGURE 7.5 Point-to-Point, Point-to-Multipoint & Mesh Network.

Point-to-Point, Point-to-Multipoint. Mesh Network & Mixed Network

FIGURE 7.6 Point-to-Point, Point-to-Multipoint. Mesh Network & Mixed Network.

are within the transmission range. Wireless links in an unstructured wireless mesh network are not planned and link availability is not always guaranteed.

Depending on the density of the mesh network, there may be many different links available to other mesh nodes or none at all. Unstructured mesh networks are usually implemented with non-line-of-sight radios (NLOS) using low frequency and low bandwidth radios operating, for example, in the UHF bands, such as 400 MHz or in the license-free band at 900 MHz.

Unstructured wireless mesh networks leverage one single channel shared by all the radios. Therefore, the higher the number of hops a transmission requires, the lower the overall throughput of the network will be.

Structured wireless mesh networks are planned networks typically implemented using multiple radios at each node location and multiple directional antennas. A ring topology using multiple directional wireless links is commonly used in a structured wireless mesh network to enable each radio to seamlessly reroute traffic through different paths in the event of node or link failures.

Structured wireless mesh networks are often used for mission-critical applications such as wireless video surveillance, public safety, and industrial automation.

They provide the ideal network architecture in case a site requires a highly reliable and available wireless network for a broadband application such as video, voice and data streaming. Each link in a structured wireless mesh network operates on an independent channel and, therefore, the number of hops for a specific transmission does not affect the overall throughput of the network.

Wireless mesh networks have been studied in academia since the early 90s, initially mainly with military applications in mind, and then they started to get significant commercial traction between 2005 and 2010.


A type of digital currency in which a record of transactions is maintained and new units of currency are generated by the computational solution of mathematical problems, and which operates independently of a central bank.

Difference between Bitcoin and Blockchain

  • • Blockchain is not bitcoin, but it is the technology behind bitcoin.
  • • Bitcoin is the digital token and blockchain is the ledger to keep track of who owns the digital tokens.
  • • You cannot have bitcoin without blockchain, but you can have blockchain without bitcoin.
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