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Blockchain Vendor Efforts Center on IoT in IT Infrastructure

Vendors collaborate to set an industry blockchain standard for better interoperability and security.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- Last month, a group blockchain vendors came together to discuss a collective effort to address the challenges facing blockchain and Internet of Things (IoT) deployments in enterprise IT infrastructure.

Vendors attending the meeting included Hashed Health, Cisco, and Foxconn, among others. The blockchain developers discussed a collaborative effort to build a shared blockchain-based IoT protocol to standardize the industry.

The group agreed on the cornerstone elements that need to be present in all blockchain deployments to encourage smooth integration and interoperability between blockchain systems. Vendors concurred that security, trust, identity, registration, and verification need to be features in all blockchain systems.

"We called together leaders in blockchain, hardware, software, venture capital, technology, and finance to discuss the barriers to interoperability and security within IoT and how we can complement existing IoT platforms with a blockchain back-end,” said Skuchain Co-founder Zaki Manian. “We believe there is a real value proposition here for IoT, supply chain, and trade finance."

The meeting was motivated by blockchain registered hardware and blockchain-based software systems currently used successfully in enterprises. Vendors presented blockchain use cases and IoT use cases to identify common needs.

BNY Mellon Head of Blockchain Alex Batlin stated that blockchain has the power to improve resiliency and efficiency in a fully connected world.

"What's missing today is a solution that provides trusted, tamper-proof guarantees for any title deed, public record, compliance event, or transaction, building on the way paper documents are used currently,” Batlin said.

The meeting resulted in a blockchain industry consortium that will move forward to define the scope of implementation and protocol layers across major blockchain systems. The group intends to collaborate by making their systems open source and by sharing findings.

 "If we want to secure the Internet of Things we need to standardize how we identify, manage and communicate with internet enabled devices through blockchain technology. With a standardized protocol, more people will be able to share in these benefits," said BitSE CTO Patrick Dai.

As blockchain becomes more popular, healthcare organizations are beginning to see the benefits of deploying the technology in their health IT infrastructures. While blockchain is not widespread in healthcare currently, it has caught the attention of IT decision-makers.

A recent Deloitte report stated that healthcare records are disjointed because they lack the common architectures and standards to allow the safe transfer of clinical data.

The report found that blockchain could be the answer to the interoperability issues plaguing the healthcare industry. Instead of relying on one centralized health information exchange (HIE), blockchain allows approved participants to join an exchange community where each user keeps an identical record, eliminating the need for a centralized location to store and exchange data.

The report concluded that capitalizing on blockchain can potentially connect fragmented systems, gaining better insight to better assess the value of care. Report authors predict that in the long term, a blockchain nationwide network will improve operational efficiencies, resulting in better patient care.

IBM Watson and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) also signed a collaborative research agreement earlier this month to further explore the potential of blockchain in the healthcare industry.

IBM and the FDA will evaluate the use of blockchain technology in the exchange of owner-mediated data from sources including EHRs, clinical trials, genomic data, and health data collected from mobile devices, such as wearables and IoT devices.

Using blockchain, researchers aim to supply healthcare providers with a full view of patient data. Patients will be given the opportunity to access their personal health information and then share that information with their various healthcare providers through a secure channel.

The collaboration will study new ways healthcare organizations can leverage large volumes of diverse data produced and collected. IBM suggests that a secure owner-mediated data sharing ecosystem could potentially assist in new discoveries and improved public health.


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