At this year’s Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit, the focus of the event was a concentration on Internet of Things (IoT) solutions and standards.
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During the event, a Dutch IT consultant named Benedikt Herudek gave a presentation to the audience called “IoT Consensus — A Solution Suggestion to the ‘Baskets of Remote’ Problem.” Herudek believes some of the attributes that power Bitcoin can enable IoT messaging. But his approach operates in a different way by partially disabling the protocols.
Babelchain’s IoT ‘Proof of Understanding’
Imagine if machines could talk to each other in such a fashion where your smartphone or even sunglasses unlock all the doors of your home.
Slowly, but surely, we are seeing technological advances like this come to life, bringing the very phenomenon of singularity and the Internet of Things to the world.
The concept of IoT is a complete network of physical objects that speak to each other through embedded microchips and computer operating systems using software to control it all.
Benedikt Herudek believes all of this can happen without depending on a central source of the network.
During Herudek’s presentation, he discusses his vision, called “IoT Babelchain: Proof of Understanding,” to attendees at the Linux event.
Herudek has come up with a different idea when applying Bitcoin-like protocols to the IoT world, with what he calls “Proof of Understanding.” The system has similar aspects to the IBM’s Adept protocol and Bitcoin’s consensus, but instead of miners, the “distributed Network can ’translate’ messages from one to another protocol with the help of Machine Learning Algorithms.”
Proof of Understanding works with three foundations that include the format handshake, content handshake, and the action handshake. All of these protocols rely on communication between each other, rather than being dependent on what is called “middleware.”
“Middleware“ is a centralized version of how IoT can also be managed by a third-party handling all the messages between devices.
Benedikt Herudek explains in his recent Babelchain Machine Communication paper:
“With the rise of the Internet of Things, the problem sometimes takes often the form, that devices have different message formats but need to be able to communicate, e.g. the iPhone needs to be able to take over from remote controls and talk to all TV’s. The scenario is sometimes referred to as the ‘Baskets of Remotes Problem’ describing the situation we find in many households, where there will be one remote for any device like television or sound machine, but none of those remotes is able to speak to any other device than the one it was initially designed for. There are at least two reasons, why the question of machine communication will be even more prominent in the Internet of Things.”
As great as the Bitcoin consensus is, Herudek says that because of the vast size of IoT use cases, the “one-sided transaction data the cryptocurrency’s system uses, will not be enough.”
Smart contract solutions like Ethereum, which offer an awarded payout, are ideal for testing and prototypes, says Herudek, but the idea is not very scalable.
With Proof of Understanding, it wastes little energy in comparison to proof-of-work and smart contracts. Machines within the Babelchain offer work that is used for productive tasks and its “effort for translation will decrease with the learning effect.”
Alongside this, the protocol could have higher scalability with the use of the machines’ work, covering two goals: “translation and immutability.” This means that while it performs the functions of blockchain irreversibility, it presents a learning curve and decreased work.
Herudek details Proof-of-Understanding within his white paper:
“One of bitcoins unique approaches lies in dispatching work to specialized ‘workers’ (e.g. Miners or Translators) that get paid for their services in a cryptocurrency. In return, they will create an Infrastructure independent of any dominating entity, support immutable Transactions and depending on the ‘Proof of useful X’ chosen can deliver other valuable services. The specific problem of Machine Communication we suggest to solve has a unique position within such algorithms, because any Transaction System like a Blockchain always has to create a common terminology to support transactions. Solving this problem in a decentralized way has the potential to unite data islands and strip data monopolists of the main advantage they offer for members of their network.”
Cryptocurrency has shown that society’s transactions can be handled safely without middlemen, says Herudek, and that blockchains “promise economic advantages for large volume, long living, low margin devices over centralized cloud solutions.”
With Proof of Understanding, machine work can be more efficient by “partially” replacing proof-of-work.
Herudek’s approach is different than the schemes we are used to, and the smart contract scenarios we all understand. His vision covers Bitcoin’s immutability and security all by tying the machines together in a network pattern, which could power his vision of vast cities of interoperable devices and software.
Below is a video of Benedikt Herudek’s Embedded Linux Conference presentation.
What do you think about Herudek’s Babelchain? Let us know in the comments below.
Images courtesy of the Embedded Linux Conference and OpenIoT Summit, and Pixabay.