Can the IOTA technology help to monitor water distribution securely?

Photo by Fikri Rasyid on Unsplash

How IOTA can contribute to secure water supply in developing countries

Monitoring machinery and industrial compounds is a well know domain of IoT. Using various sensors which measure certain values, do some processing and transmit them to a (central) monitoring service can be found everywhere. In most of these scenarios, the transmission, data storage and ultimately the data are part of the organization and trustworthy. Fraud and manipulation of the data afterwards is somehow neglectable. Thus, some kind of secure provisioning and security layer can be applied easily. However, this approach might not be suitable for the water pumping stations in areas of conflict. Here, regional pressure groups might have interest in manipulating the sensor data to their favor. A common example to fraud the funders is gaining power over the local people and force them to control the water flow and send manipulated data to the funders, while pretending everything is fine. Such data manipulation can be mitigated with cryptographic technology.

Blockchain vs. IOTA Tangle (Source: IOTA blog)

Our smart and secure water pumping station

Smart and Secure water pumping station
Smart pumping station prototype (backside)
Remote control and monitoring panel — backend
The frontend — pump station overview (in German). The two top left elements show the pumping station health status. It depends on last data received and valid data transmissions. All the other plots show telemetry data like water flow, temperature or humidity.
The frontend — detailed pump information (in German)

Conclusion

We found that the IOTA technology offers some promising features. Within our evaluation project we got everything running as expected. However, we noticed that the MAM channels might be a bit immature for productive use. Would you like to share your experiences and thoughts with the community? Fortunately, a new version v1.1 is around the corner. To ease the load on the Tangle, we found that bundling high frequent data in a larger message is necessary. In such a case, additional data compression can be used which is beneficial in areas with low data connectivity. If real time monitoring is important to you, we suggest using an off-chain MQTT channel to communicate with the pump directly. To verify the data, you can then run a check against the data in the Tangle periodically.

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Olaf Neugebauer

Olaf Neugebauer

Developer, Manager, “the hardware guy”, everything tech