There are more connected devices in the world today than there are humans.
We are seeing a revolution in connectivity in our physical world that extends far beyond smartphones, electric grids and public infrastructure. IoT will see widespread application on an industrial scale to everything from fridges to farming to healthcare. Gartner research estimates that there will be upwards of 20 billion connected devices by the end of 2020.
IoT's transformative potential lies in overcoming the key issues of consistency, scalability, privacy, reliability and ultimately, trust in connecting our physical and digital worlds. Blockchain technology has the potential to act as key enabling infrastructure for IoT, tracking billions of connected devices, harvesting and co-ordinating information and processing transactions.
Applying blockchain technology in the IoT operating environment, which consists of fragmented data silos, provides the security and transparency required to build a commonly shared platform that is safe, secure and smart.
Hype vs revolution
While it is widely understood that our economy is going through a transformation – the fourth industrial revolution – digital progress does not always seem to match the digital hype.
It is true that technology is giving us access to more data than ever before – and ever-improving computing power enables us to analyse that data, real-time, and in innovative ways.
There are plenty of benefits for this - more timely decision-making, improving efficiencies, optimising assets over their life time, improving financial margins, improving health and safety, and most importantly, improving the human experience.
There are also plenty of reasons why the transformation is happening slower than some would like; the early-stage experimental evolutionary nature of the technologies, the complexities of bringing multi-stakeholder environments together, the risk-averse nature of market incumbents as well as lack of clarity on what success looks like. There is certainly no lack of investment in trying.