Report: IoT and blockchain integration is booming among US businesses

Gartner finds 75% of organizations that have implemented IoT plan to pair it with blockchain tech.

Tech analytics firm Gartner has news for companies planning to integrate their Internet of Things (IoT) systems with blockchain: You’re not alone.

Seventy-five percent of organizations have already merged the two, or plan to do so within the next year. That number jumps to 89% within two years, signaling that companies with heavy investment in IoT technology nearly all see the value of using blockchain tech to improve IoT security and reliability.

SEE: How blockchain will disrupt business: A special report (Free PDF) (TechRepublic)

To make the case for IoT and blockchain working side by side even more airtight, 94% of companies with mature IoT implementations (defined be Gartner as using KPIs and centers of excellence in their IoT systems) plan to connect their IoTs with blockchain. 

“The integration of IoT and blockchain networks is a sweet spot for digital transformation and innovation,” said Avivah Litan, distinguished vice president at Gartner. “It is actually moving ahead at a much faster pace than expected, according to the survey.”

Why organizations are connecting IoT and blockchain

The connection of IoT and blockchain have been in the news for some time, with everyone from analysts to large companies like Samsung saying the integration of the two is the way forward for both.

Gartner’s findings in this report solidify the fact that said integration is happening–and quickly–but the study also addresses the question of why IoT and blockchain are coming together, and the reasons aren’t surprising. 

The top reason survey respondents gave for integrating blockchain and IoT is “increased security and trust in shared multiparty transactions and data.” 

Connecting IoT sensors and devices to a blockchain “enables an immutable audit trail of key IoT data and related business events that is shared across multiple participants, and that can be independently verified by each party,” the report states.

Second, and closely related to security, is the ability of blockchain-connected IoT devices and sensors to save organizations money. Blockchains enable the use of decentralized applications that work across business platforms, support smart contracts, and enables more automation twhich can reduce labor needs and speed up processes from factory to retail. 

Other reasons cited for integrating IoT and blockchain are increased revenue and new business opportunities, and improved participant experience. Both fell far behind security and cost effectiveness, however.

SEE: Special report: The rise of Industrial IoT (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

How businesses can get the most out of IoT and blockchain integration

Gartner provides three recommendations for businesses that have, or are planning to, integrate IoT and blockchain:

  • IoT/blockchain integration is currently best suited “to increase trust and security in shared multiparty transactions, and to automate processes across network participants.”
  • IoT and blockchain integration is still an emerging technology. If you’re going to consider it for your organization be sure that the immaturity and fast rate of change in both fields isn’t going to create problems.
  • Long-lived IoT devices and long-lived data aren’t currently the best uses for IoT/blockchain combos due to difficulty in rolling out large-scale updates. If those are the sorts of needs your organization has consider immutable centralized databases like Datomic or Amazon QLDB instead.

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