Networks

Cisco, Bosch Back IoT Blockchain Consortium

Matt Broersma is a long standing tech freelance, who has worked for Ziff-Davis, ZDnet and other leading publications

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The group aims to develop blockchain-based systems for areas from logistics to regulated industries

A number of start-ups have joined forces with large technology companies including Cisco and Bosch to form a consortium aimed at developing blockchain technologies for the Internet of Things (IoT).

The companies initially met in December in Berkeley, California to agree on the basic requirements for a shared blockchain-based IoT protocol, such as security, trust, identity, registration and verification requirements, and said the as-yet-unnamed consortium is the next step.

blockchain

Secure digital records

Blockchain is the underlying decentralised ledger technology of digital currency Bitcoin and a number of mostly finance-oriented groups have already begun looking into ways of bringing the technology into wider use.

The IoT group is one of the first to explore using blockchain, designed to allow digital records to be stored in a tamper-proof way, outside of the finance sector, such as in the deployment of blockchain-registered tamper-proof hardware.

The group, which includes Bank New York Mellon, Bosch, Cisco, security technology company Gemalto and Foxconn, as well as blockchain start-ups Ambisafe, BitSE, Chronicled, ConsenSys, Distributed, Filament, Hashed Health, Ledger, Skuchain, and Slock.it, said it is initially looking to emphasise rapid development and will implement formal membership or governance structures later if they’re found necessary.

The group said it is initially looking to define the scope and implementation of a smart contracts protocol layer that could work with multiple blockchain technologies.

Supply chain to pharmaceuticals

“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, e.g. for quality assurance and prevention of counterfeits,” said Dirk Slama, chief alliance officer at Bosch Software Innovations, in a statement. “This must be supported by a shared blockchain infrastructure and an integrated Internet of Things protocol.”

Gemalto director of product strategy Joe Pindar highlighted the technology’s potential for security the identity of physical property and packaging.

“High value parts of logistics supply chains and regulated industries like energy, pharmaceuticals, and cold chain could all see a blockchain component over the next decade,” he stated.

An Accenture study earlier this month found blockchain technology could save investment banks £9.7bn per year by reducing their reliance on complex data reconciliation and confirmation processes.

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