AI, IoT and blockchain are among the exponential technologies fueling the next wave of digital transformation. They have the potential to improve current business processes, creating new business models, and disrupting various industry sectors. They bring ‘feeling, thinking, and remembering’ – three of the most wonderful possibilities of human endeavor to the digital world – feeling through IOT sensing, thinking with AI algorithms and remembering through blockchain registers.
While AI, IoT and blockchain might have developed independently, the convergence of these technologies in today’s scenario cannot be overlooked. It can not only enhance development of new business models but is revolutionizing the way humans interact with the world.
Together they unlock each other’s potential
Traditional IT systems have evolved in terms of interactions, information processing and computation, making it ideal for AI, IoT and blockchain to work in cohesion. IoT provides a touchpoint for data exchange and real-world interactions, blockchain provides the infrastructure while AI optimizes processes and enables intelligent decision making. They complement each other in many ways and if combined can create several opportunities for businesses.
Convergence of blockchain & IoT: Growth of IoT-based applications has provided layer for interaction between technology and the real world; however, it comes with a set of key challenges such as security, privacy, scalability, and maintainability. IoT devices need to operate on a high-performance architecture even for performing trivial tasks such as capturing, processing, and communicating. Blockchain technology when used along with IoT can help perform these tasks by providing features such as decentralization, persistency, anonymity, and auditability, thereby creating trust in the system. Blockchain facilitates IoT applications to store and access data remotely from any location and ensure privacy of the data stored in the network.
Convergence of blockchain & AI: The developments in AI and blockchain has propelled new developments in the digital journey of enterprises. While blockchain offers explainability, privacy, and trust to AI-based applications, AI can enhance scalability and security while resolving the personalization and governance issues for blockchain-based technologies. Authenticity is one of the major plus points of using blockchain technology, which along with AI can ensure trust in data integrity and improve recommendations. AI can also help businesses in understanding and recognizing business challenges and enable decision making.
Convergence of AI and IoT: IoT networks comprise a myriad of connected devices exposing it to numerous vulnerabilities in the network including data theft. AI-powered systems can defend against these malwares and hacking attempts. AI can also enhance the functional capability of the IoT network by making it smarter and autonomous. Blockchain can further enhance the security of the network by limiting data access on the network.
Possibilities of these technological cross junction
Convergence of AI, IoT and blockchain have opened opportunities to explore use cases across several industries such as healthcare, finance, accounting, and even personal spaces.
Healthcare: Wearable devices equipped with sensors to monitor the health condition of a person in real-time and predict adversities well in advance is one of the many use cases. Connected devices and virtual assistants can notify any adversities to the patient, cross-reference their calendar with their doctor’s, and schedule doctor’s appointment automatically. Blockchain can ensure a secure, accurate, digital medical history for the doctor’s reference and can enable secure payments.
Manufacturing: By using various IoT-powered production monitoring solutions, manufacturing professionals can gain a remote, digital status of every machine that is operating in the factory and forecast production capacity. Using AI can ensure proactive fault identification, predictive maintenance, and right resource and capacity planning. It can also ensure proactive and secure purchase of raw materials and machinery parts through blockchain in a secure manner.
Automation: When empowered with these transformational technologies, technologies such as virtual assistants and chatbots can become much more proactive in carrying out automation tasks in home space, driving cars, making secure payments and more.
While AI, IoT and blockchain are potentially transformative on their own in silos, they can be more powerful when combined. Together, these three transformational technologies can make the world a better place by driving the development of new business models, products, and services across various applications.
(The author is Prashanth Kaddi, Partner, Consulting, Deloitte India, and Naveen K, Manager, Consulting – Analytics & Cognitive, Deloitte India and the views expressed in this article are their own)