As part of its development of blockchain technology, the multinational Tech giant IBM has established a global headquarters for its Watson IoT (internet of things) business. Based in Munich, it is located close to the heart of the Industry 4.0 initiative and aims at collaborative innovation.
This is a rapidly developing field and the market for IoT and chips that will power Artificial Intelligence is growing. IoT technology will incorporate embedded chips and software in cars, machines, hospital equipment, and household appliances.
However, according to IBM, distributed ledger technology (DLT) tethered to IoT can create a more efficient relationship between chips and software. The most well know DLT is, of course, the blockchain technology which powers bitcoin and IBM is currently in research and development for its own blockchain protocol.
IBM estimates that 65 percent of major banks will be using distributed ledgers by 2019, and the German IoT subsidiary considers blockchain to be a key element in building a distributed network of devices.
“Germany is at the forefront of the Industry 4.0 initiative and by inviting our clients and partners to join us in Munich, we are opening up our talent and technologies to help deliver on the promise of IoT and establishing a global hotbed for collaborative innovation.”–Harriet Green, Global Head of IBM’s Watson IoT business
In January of 2015, IBM revealed its ADEPT proof of concept. The project, in partnership with Samsung, tethers blockchain technology and IoT. The two companies tested smart contracts with Ethereum and low-cost solutions to automate devices. While there has been much talk about the impending IoT, the framework has particular challenges which IBM believes blockchain tech could benefit. ADEPT looks at the ability to scale: trust, cost, authentication, and interoperability.
IBM’s report “Device Democracy” explained:
“The expected proliferation of hundreds of billions more places is at the threshold of a transformation sweeping across the electronics industry and many others. Yet, the dream of a smart, safe and efficient future is threatened by subscription fees, ubiquitous advertising and intrusive surveillance.— Our study shows that a low-cost, private-by-design “democracy of devices” will emerge that will enable new digital economies and create new value while offering consumers and enterprises fundamentally better products and user experiences.”