IBM Emerging Technologies Participates in UK-first IoT and Blockchain Hackathon

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IOT and Blockchain Hackathon

On 7th November, an IoT (Internet of Things) and Blockchain hackathon ran in London. Organised by the Ethereum London meetup group, the hackathon attracted ten teams with the challenge of creating first-of-a-kind solutions that combine Blockchain technology with IoT. Such was the level of interest that teams joined remotely from Canada and India to be part of the event. Representing IBM were members of the Emerging Technology Services (ETS) and Bluemix service teams, based in Hursley, UK.

Team Requirements

Each team had up to seven participants to propose a suitable challenge that demonstrated the potential of IoT and Blockchain. Each team then had the remaining time to develop a [hopefully] working prototype and to present their solution at the end of the day. Prizes were on offer for the most innovative and novel ideas. There was a great atmosphere on the day with teams focusing on their particular challenge as well as sharing knowledge and supporting others.

Compelling use of IBM Bluemix

The IBM-led team proposed a solution that leveraged unique strengths of the Blockchain — as a shareable and immutable system of record — to provide enhanced security for a face recognition system. With this solution, a camera, built into a door, could connect with the Blockchain in the knowledge that the facial profile database was impervious to manipulation. The IBMers also supported the efforts of other teams with guidance on the Blockchain technology and even found time to introduce them to IBM Bluemix!


Interesting Solution Ideas

  • an IoT-enabled electric charger that accepted payments via smart contracts on the Blockchain;
  • distributed and automated data collection from sensors in trustless networks for scientific research;
  • policy enforcement that linked physical world interaction, such as requiring that a 3D object be printed in order to mine smart contracts on the Blockchain;
  • personalized motor insurance schemes that utilized the robust provenance capabilities of the Blockchain.

The ETS team is focused on applying the nascent Blockchain technology for real-world iotblock-groupbenefit. Blockchain has the potential to significantly increase efficiencies by reducing the cost and complexity of asset management within and between business networks. At the same time, the team recognizes that whilst Blockchain offers some unique capabilities, such as robust immutability, it is currently lacking in several key areas, such as privacy and interoperability. It is these, and other, enterprise requirements that will motivate the development of the Blockchain ecosystem.

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