IoT and Manufacturing
Most of us live in a connected world, but some worlds are more connected than others. For instance, a virtual assistant like Alexa can use the Internet to control a variety of settings on various electronic devices your house. Current predictions show that this type of connectivity, called The Internet of Things (IoT), will affect over 26 billion objects worldwide, dwarfing the number of electronic devices by a three to one ratio.
Many view the IoT to be an ideal that will envelop everything we use as it emerges. Yet the downsides to this technological philosophy ought to be obvious to even the most casual user of the Internet. If the world and everything within it is to be connected, those who wish to create havoc by means of cyber-crime will be having more than just a field day.
So, let us assume for a moment that a fully-developed IoT is an inevitability. What defense mechanisms can we use to make this new world work the way it should? Traditional methods of protection can easily be applied to household application like virtual assistants, but if we expand IoT into the workplace – where time, location, and activity are essential to a successful venture – a blockchain solution can help maintain communication and consistency within connected equipment. This in turn will alleviate redundant manpower, leaving the way clear for more productive action.
Manufacturing is an industry that can truly benefit by a IoT overhaul. One of the reasons why is because the ways in which we manufacture materials are being revolutionized at its very foundation. Yesterday, we relied upon the assembly line and automated machines to create. Today, we are experimenting with the possibilities provided to us by the 3D Printer. In the short time since 3D printing became a viable option for manufacturing, we have been able to create products much more efficiently than we have in the past. Yet there are still some skeptics who believe quality control will be affected negatively by over-reliance on this new method.
A blockchain platform can create a secure, immutable process through smart contracts and peer-to-peer technology. Real world applications can include, a smart contract interacts with the manufacturing process within a 3D printer every step of the way. All activity can be monitored and timestamped within a decentralized ledger, ensuring that every vital moment between beginning and end is followed to the letter. Once the printing is complete, the smart contract completes itself, and quality is guaranteed – otherwise the contract would recognize an error and immediately inform a QA worker to inspect the problem further.
It is hard for us to say whether IoT is ever going to reach a point where everything we interact with will be in some way connected. However, we at Lannister believe that if progress is being made to reach this point, we must accept the possibility that the ideal will be reached, and we must play our part in making sure that the world such an ideal creates relieves us of the problems of today, instead of creating the problems of tomorrow.