Sunday, 10 April 2016

Block Chain Rockin' Beats

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You like me must have been reading lots about the Internet Of Things (IOT), particularly how it's expected to work within socialhousing. I have chatted to people and read about sensors for care and support, that detect if our service users have left their bed, brushed their teeth, or switched the kettle on for a morning brew. Also of smart boilers, that can contact its owner, via a contractor and log a repair, to correct its fault that is just becoming evident. The logical step for an autonomous boiler, is to go beyond calling for help, actually order it, with BitCoin too.

I already have a gas and electric meter read by the dustcart every fortnight, when it does the bins down my road.  See, I am a pioneer myself! As we know though, from the old cowboy films, pioneers are generally those with the arrows in their backs. Better in some cases, to maybe ride in later, with the women and children, in the covert wagons.

It all sounds like good stuff eh? What could go wrong?

Well it would be enormously funny if a hacker spoofed every new boiler on the scheme and logged multiple works orders for each. You know just for fun? Or maybe, more a scenario that auditors might think of. What if one of your Contractors got a young hacker in to just spoof a few randomly, at regular intervals, to log a repair?

As for my meters, when I was a young pup at school, a mate of mines father, good catholic of course, discovered a way to reduce his gas bill. For a few weeks each month, he switched it around, running it backwards. This worked fine until one quarter he over did it. The gas board (way before we were asked to 'Tell Sid' and privatise it off to be British Gas), were puzzled as he seemed to be supplying gas to the national grid. What if I could spoof my meters?

Clearly it would not be in my interests to risk anything like that, but how can be safeguard, secure all these IOT sensors, to prove they are what they seem?

Bitcoin uses the BlockChain concept, in order to authenticate transactions, in order to set up a 'trust' relationship. Blockchain technology is an ideal way to track IOT devices and their individual histories. Much like in Bitcoin, a 'ledger' of IOT transactions can be created, so peer devices can be sure of what they are talking to, and its history. With the reliability of a Blockchain history, maybe even an auditor will allow that boiler to place its own repair and combined with a digital currency, such as Bitcoin, pay for the works order itself.

This would provide a secure means of digital data sharing, with a scalable and robust form of coordination, between devices.   It's a fascinating subject and clearly we are at the beginning of a device revolution here. Read more on the Blockchain technology stack below.

Related Post: What happens when Channel Shift may slim down your service centre? 

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The Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin' BeatsThe Chemical Brothers - Block Rockin' Beats.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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