We are on the precipice of a new age of computing and connectedness in which the things we rely on most will be connected to the internet and will be controlled by powerful algorithms and data analytics. This symbiotic relationship, known as the Internet of Things (IoT), is already prevalent in common household items like the popular Nest thermostat and in our most ambitious project like the self-driving car.
Streamr, a decentralized, Ethereum blockchain application, is applying these priorities to their platform to create a safe and reliable IoT environment. Using smart contracts and its unique DATAtoken, Streamr is able to support the IoT in ways that centralized entities never could. The blockchain’s consensus model ensures that information is reliable and secure. Meanwhile, its decentralized structure ensures that services are never unavailable or unusable. In a very real way, Streamr is the tangible expression of the best possibilities for IoT.
The beauty of IoT is that it automates mundane work so that our interconnected lives are simpler and more efficient. It works like magic. Of course, the truth is that IoT requires numerous complicated processes to function perfectly or the magic disappears and the thing proves to be theory masquerading as a product. More specifically, to be successful, IoT requires unshakeable reliability and unquestioned security.
While still in its relative infancy, IoT has experienced a number of embarrassing security failures that demonstrate the technology’s vulnerability. Perhaps nothing is more astonishing than the stories of parents discovering that their IoT baby monitor has been hacked and that obscene noises are wailing into the bedroom. It’s a horrifying scenario, and there are many more like it. Imagine self-driving cars being hijacked by computer hackers, and you can begin to imagine the immense security required for IoT to reach its lauded potential. Unfortunately, as Forbes reports, “The centralized security model common in the enterprise today will struggle to scale up to meet the demands of the internet of things.”
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The blockchain and IoT appear to be two technologies on a parallel trajectory towards increased prominence. The blockchain, the accounting backbone of popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, shares many of the same concerns – security, reliability, etc. – as IoT, and this powerful technology seems to offer many of the answers that IoT is looking for.
The beauty of IoT is the magical allusion that it just works. Streamr embraces the blockchain as the way to ensure that the myriad of things that we are connecting to one another remain reliable and secure so that we can continue to enjoy the many benefits of IoT. Security conglomerate Norton notes that the number of connected devices “went from millions to billions in one year.” This trend isn’t slowing down and Streamr is making sure that it powers on with unprecedented security and reliability.