How can the decentralized ledger technology be taken a step further to enable decentralized computing, also known as grid computing? 21 Inc., the Bitcoin technology company has come up with a solution which can very well become the backbone of the Internet of Things revolution.
In a recent blog post, 21 Inc. describes the use of its software to collect data and monetize it. The application in question here is known as Sensor21, which is built over 21 Inc.’s micropayment channel infrastructure. According to the blog, the sensor21 application will allow people to buy or sell environmental data (for example) collected by hardware sensors running the company’s software placed anywhere across the world.
The real use case of such an arrangement will be a life saver to not only students and amateurs but also to researchers, governments, and other data collection agencies. Those looking for accurate, real-time data for any particular place will be able to readily access the data by spending a small amount of bitcoin. What makes it even more practical and exciting is the fact that the sensors do not have to be high-end expensive setups with lots of antennae pointed towards the sky or down into the earth. Any DIY device like Raspberry Pi or Arduino with the sensors, or even the onboard sensors available on smartphones can be used for data collection.
Buying and Selling Sensor Data with Sensor21
Buying sensor information involves writing a small sequence of code. But before that, one has to ensure that they have a 21 client installed on their device and some bitcoin to pay for the data. Once the client is set up, users can search for the type of data, a number of sensors from which they want to purchase data, and the region for which they need the data. Once the selection is made, they can go ahead and buy it with bitcoin. The 21 client allows users to request data from any sensor across the world which is connected to the 21 Inc. Bitcoin Computer network.
While buying sensor data is a simple straight forward task, those who are interested in selling the data need to go through a couple of more steps in order to have the whole set up running. According to 21 Inc., the sensor deployment (in this case, an atmospheric pressure sensor) and its configuration to the Sensor21 network will require a 21 Bitcoin computer or a DIY 21 Bitcoin computer running the required software from 21 Inc. along with a MPL3115A2 barometer/Altimeter Breakout Board, four female-to-female jumper wires and a 3D printable protective enclosure.
The sensors will be connected to the 21 Bitcoin computer using the connector wires and then covered with the protective enclosure to create a sensor. Then comes the programming part which will involve downloading and installing the Sensor21 scripts that will allow the newly created sensor to communicate over the 21 Inc. network through blockchain. As the sensor starts collecting data, an endpoint needs to be created, which will act as an access point to which bitcoin payments will be made, in order to retrieve the collected data. The endpoint has to be published on the 21 marketplace to enable users to purchase the data.
The same mechanism can be used in IoT-enabled devices where all devices have an endpoint providing access to data from various sensors in the devices. A smart contract can be created to automatically make transactions to the endpoint, collecting status update for each equipment at regular intervals. Any changes in the device status deviating from the normal operational behavior can be flagged and remedial measures initiated with the help of suitable smart contracts programmed that are programmed for various possible scenarios.
21 Inc, with its Sensor21 application, has brought the world a step closer to efficient IoT devices by using the blockchain technology. Now we just have to sit back and wait for the adoption to happen.