Evaluating the Role of IoT and Blockchain in Transportation
An example of how HPE is leveraging its own IoT platform expertise in combination with blockchain technology to benefit the transportation and logistics sector is evident in a strategic partnership the company announced with transportation technology company Continental last February. The two companies created a blockchain-based data monetization platform due to be available before the end of the year. The platform allows data collected from the Internet-connected sensors on one vehicle on the road to be shared with other connected vehicles.
In the past, competing carmakers may have not wanted to share IoT data from their vehicles and systems with one another, but blockchain allows them to encrypt and sell that data directly to another carmaker, while withholding data they don’t want to share with competitors. The end result is drivers on a given highway can get advance warning of changes in road conditions, weather, traffic congestion and more, derived from data that was collected from the IoT sensors on another car several miles ahead of them on the same road, Reichenbach said.
Though this platform remains in its early stages, one could envision similar leveraging of IoT and blockchain technologies in platforms for trucking fleets as well. Reichenbach said such platforms demonstrate how blockchain can be an “add-on” to existing IoT architectures.
Another transportation sector example of how IoT and blockchain are coming together was evident in July’s announcement that Daimler, the German maker of cars, trucks and fleet vehicles was working with Austria’s Riddle & Code to implement a blockchain-based Car Wallet for supporting secure transactions and data sharing between vehicles. Such wallets and similar “secure elements” provide different devices and machines with unique digital identifiers that allow transactions and data exchanges to happen, said Benjamin Schwarz, head of communication at Riddle & Code.
“To securely identify an object on the blockchain, many solutions exist, starting with secure crypto tags in the form factor of a sticker, and working as a seal,” he said via email. “However, only a dedicated secure element, which is a crypto chip module designed to be used for blockchain technology, offers sufficient security for valuable objects, such as a vehicle. Our secure element is at the heart of the Car Wallet we developed for Daimler. It provides a tamper-proof digital identity and full wallet functionality. It is both about security and enabling new business models and incentivization schemes.”
However, Riddle & Code is not an IoT platform company, so it would not typically provide sensors and other data-generating IoT hardware, just the crypto chip or module and software that allows transactions to occur over blockchain.
The opportunity for companies like Riddle & Code to partner with IoT platform providers seems riper than ever. Zion Market Research recently forecasted that the blockchain IoT market, including hardware, software and services, is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate of more than 91% through 2025.