3 IoT Stories To Read This Week by Romin Irani - Part 10

In this week’s edition, we share stories about how Blockchain, the technology behind bitcoins can play a critical role in IoT. We also take a look at how the premier Grand Slam tennis tournament Wimbledon is using IoT. Finally we share the news on Cisco making its bet on a new network for driving the IoT of tomorrow.

Decentralizing IoT Networks through Blockchain: The Internet of Things network is expected to exponentially grow over the next several years. With billions of devices being connected, the current centralized architecture where all devices need to connect to a Server over existing networking infrastructure and protocols is not only going to present itself as a bottleneck but it also makes it difficult to new age of devices which have very limited data capabilities and processing power to participate. It would be great to decentralized this architecture into different federating regions where they could be an authority that could validate these devices and allow them to participate in the connected network. Blockchain technology, which is behind the successful Bitcoin technology is emerging as an option that could help accelerate and form the based of such a decentralized network. It will help bring in a peer-peer solution with a data ledger that could help authenticate and validate transactions and maintain their records. IBM and Samsung have already piloted a proof of concept, named ADEPT using Blockchain and multiple startups like Filament and a consortium, Chain of Things are working on it.

Internet of Things invades Wimbledon: We have been covering the use of IoT across various sporting events in the world. The premier Grand Slam tournament Wimbledon is adopting it too and one of the use cases is pretty interesting. This use case involves strategically placed cameras that will capture spectator faces. The images will then be fed in IBM Watson’s image processing capabilities (utilizing ML techniques) to determine from facial expressions/emotions about which players the spectators prefer. This data will in turn be used to target advertising, hopefully with the permission of the spectators. IBM Watson APIs along with other APIs from Microsoft and Google are now completely capable to derive emotive gestures from images, which could then be used for targeted analysis. The other use case at Wimbledon involves connected tennis rackets with sensors built in that will track every shot with various parameters. This data is then available to the players immediately after the match via a companion application. We are pretty certain that the connected sporting equipments are being used across practice sessions but tournaments making it officially available is interesting.

Cisco bets on LoRaWAN Networking: In our series over the last few weeks, we have covered the emerging consensus that to get the millions of devices online in the future, there is a need for newer networks, protocols and mores. This helps to caters to the different kinds of devices, many of which will be low powered, have minimal processing capabilities as a result of which the current protocols and network are too heavy. Cisco, a leader in networking is placing its bets on one such technology, LoRaWAN, which is a specification for a low powered WAN (Wide Area Network). Cisco has announced gateways that will help connect these devices and send them across to the cloud and/or enterprise networks. It has already run pilots in Dubai for LRWAN Networks. There are other emerging standards like NB-IoT, which will likely get a leap over LRWAN technology but Cisco hopes that there are spaces like Enterprises where the Low Range technology could be more of bridge and hence an essential element as more devices and connected enterprises get online.