New Initiative for Blockchain-Based IoT Protocol
In December 2016, 15 Fortune 500 corporations and blockchain start-ups met to launch a collaborative effort to establish a blockchain-based protocol for Internet of Things (IoT). This meeting called “New Horizons: Blockchain x IoT Summit”, was driven by the success of blockchain-based, tamper-proof hardware and software made by these companies.
“If we want to secure the Internet of Things we need to standardize how we identify, manage and communicate with Internet-enabled devices through blockchain technology. With a standardized protocol, more people will be able to share in these benefits,” said Patrick Dai, CTO, BitSE.
Those who participated in the summit were:
- Fortune 500 corporations like Bosch, BNY Mellon, Gemalto, Cisco and Foxconn
- Blockchain start-ups like Ambisafe, BitSE, ConsenSys, Chronicled, Distributed, Hashed Health, Filament, Skuchain, Ledger and Slock.it
Jack Lee, Managing Partner, HCM Capital, which is the investment arm of the Foxconn Technology Group, said: “We are excited to see leaders in the Blockchain and IoT space coming together from America, China, France, and Germany to develop a standard Blockchain IoT protocol. This is a positive step towards industry confidence, momentum and interoperability. We’re looking forward to collaborations in this space in the near future.”
Blockchain start-ups made presentations about their use cases, industry needs and findings.
Zaki Manian, Co-founder, Skuchain, said: “We called together leaders in blockchain, hardware, software, venture capital, technology and finance, to discuss the barriers to interoperability and security within IoT and how we can complement existing IoT platforms with a blockchain back-end. We believe there is a real value proposition here for IoT, supply chain and trade finance.”
The key takeaways from this meeting were:
- Common protocol would have commonly agreed cornerstones like security, trust, identity, registration and verification.
- The protocols should also ensure interoperability and integration across communication protocols, various chip types, cloud service providers, proprietary platforms and blockchain systems.
- Blockchain technology industry consortium would be created to define the scope of a smart contracts protocol layer, which would be work across the major blockchain systems. It would also detail the implementation of such a protocol. The consortium would have an elective steer who would be from the Fortune 500 companies, which are a part of this initiative.
- The group would function on a voluntary basis to ensure quick and fast-moving open-source collaboration.
- Formal membership and governance structures would emerge as and when necessary.
Dirk Slama, Chief Alliance Officer, Bosch Software Innovations, said: “We are seeing tremendous potential for the application of blockchain in industrial use cases. Being able to create a tamper-proof history of how products are manufactured, moved and maintained in complex value networks with many stakeholders, is a critical capability — for example, for quality assurance and prevention of counterfeits. This must be supported by a shared blockchain infrastructure and an integrated Internet of Things protocol.”
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