The digital shift has been well underway for several years now and yet we are still a long way from utilizing the full potential of Industry 4.0. A glance at the realm of Internet of Things (IoT), a collective term for some of the most important technologies of the 21st century, reveals the immense possibilities that lay ahead. But what is the Internet of Things and which ideas are hidden behind it?
What do we mean when we talk about the Internet of Things?
The “Internet of Things” refers to the connectivity of all electronic and internet-enabled objects in day-to-day use as well as industrial machines and devices. These can transmit and/or receive data, for example via wireless networks. Human interaction is not required but can take place at any time.
Through networking capability, IoT devices can autonomously interact with each other and perform tasks. An everyday example of this are smart home devices. Be it lamps, thermostats or speakers — by being networked with each other, they offer us possibilities such as comfortably controlling the devices via an app whilst on the go. What’s better than coming home to your pre-warmed-up apartment after a long day of work? A pleasant relief in everyday life. This also offers a multitude of simplifications for companies, due to the many different application possibilities. However, the huge opportunities provided by the IoT also present a series of challenges.
The accompanying challenges
Arguably one of the biggest challenges is data privacy and security. The higher the number of IoT devices and connections, which will only increase in the future, the bigger the potential attack surface for cybercrime and the risks of data theft. Many IoT devices come with few, if any, privacy and security protections. Due to a lack of capacity, integrating and extensively testing to verify the necessary security measures in the associated software applications and network connections is a major challenge for many companies.
Interoperability, the ability to speak a common language to ensure seamless communication between entities, is also an issue. Because of a multitude of entities creating their own proprietary standards, which are not compatible with other implementations of public standards, it is not possible to establish common norms. Furthermore, this complicates administration, as the absence of interoperability would require additional entities or systems to be brought into play to resolve this shortcoming.
Facing the challenges of IoT with the concept of Self-Sovereign Identity
A Self-Sovereign Identity (SSI) is an identity which is created and managed by an entity itself. The entity gains complete control over its digital identity or other verifiable documents and does not rely on central authorities and identity providers. By anchoring the identities on a blockchain, the approach offers high transparency and a high level of protection against manipulation.
The concept of Self-Sovereign Identity and associated standards have the potential to become a major key to addressing the security challenges and issues of interoperability in the IoT. Cybersecurity threats are greatly reduced by providing a simpler and more consistent way to secure multiple IoT devices and enable them to communicate securely. If one device is compromised, not all devices within the solution are affected, as each device has its own unique identity. It also allows IoT devices to create higher security and trust towards other entities by signing their data.
Filancore’s approach using SSI
Through our solution based on the SSI concept, we enable companies to manage IoT devices effectively along the entire lifecycle of the device. All machine identities managed by our solution are fully interoperable by leveraging standardized protocols. Thus, it is ensured that all entities within the system can communicate with each other. All third parties using the identity standard can interoperate with all entities.
With an intuitive user interface and a scalable backend filancore guarantees a high usability for managing hundreds of thousands of devices. By using the zero-fee blockchain IOTA, our solution can provide a high cost- efficiency compared to alternative approaches. Furthermore, the integration of use cases is accelerated and versatile due to our containerized implementation and deployment our customers’ existing IT infrastructure.
Sounds promising? Don’t hesitate to empower your (industrial) IoT ecosystems with filancore and get in touch!