Imagine a washer that autonomously contacts suppliers and places orders when it’s low on detergent, performs self-service and maintenance, downloads new washing programs from outside sources, schedules its cycles to take advantage of electricity prices and negotiates with peer devices to optimize its environment; a connected car, smart enough to find and choose the best deal for parts and services; a manufacturing plant where the machinery knows when to order repairs for some of its parts without the need of human intervention.
All these scenarios — and many more — will be realized thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). Already, many of the industries that historically didn’t fit well with computers have been transformed by the billions of IoT devices connected to the internet; other industries will follow suit as billions more enter the fray.
The possibilities are virtually countless, especially when the power of IoT is combined with that of other technologies, such as machine learning. But some major hurdles will surface as billions of smart devices will want to interact among themselves and with their owners. While these challenges cannot be met with the current models that are supporting IoT communications, tech firms and researchers are hoping to deal with them through blockchain, the technology that constitutes the backbone of the famous bitcoin.