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What is the I.O.T. (Internet Of Things)? - Mance Harmon, CEO Swirlds (Hashgraph)

FEB 13, 2018

What is the Internet Of Things and what promises does it hold? In this bonus feature from Hidden Secrets of Money Episode 8, Mance Harmon of Swirlds Inc explains what IoT is and where it is likely to go.

What is the Internet of Things?

Many of the appliances and devices that previously weren’t computerized like light bulbs, baby monitors, and washing machines have become computerized. The computerization of these things and connection to modern communications networks has given rise to the ability to create networks that didn’t previously exist and take advantage of the opportunity to realize value from these ‘things’.

IoT is Split into Two Halves

  1. Consumer Items; what most people think of: FitBit, Apple Watch, Washing Machine, Doorbell with Camera App, etc.

  2. Industrial IoT: Computers and ‘things’ that are collecting telemetry information and providing data that makes it possible to optimize processes that have been difficult to optimize in the past.

IoT and DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology)

In order for the most interesting use cases associated with the use of things to be realized, you have to have a global public distributed ledger that makes it possible for things to find other things and engage in commerce with them.

For example, it would be nice to drive Tesla in downtown San Francisco, push a button, and have the car figure out where all the charging stations might be within a given geography, based on some requirements that were preset, and then propose a charging station to go to. It would be even better to perhaps include filter options for certain amenities at the charging station.

Wouldn’t it be desirable to be able to do this in a more general way? To create arbitrary queries that make it possible to find things that provide services that I want to consume, and then engage in commerce with them. 

Therefore it might be the case that humans will be discovering things and engaging in commerce and using cryptocurrency for payment for the services provided by these things in the near future. It might also be that things are discovering other things to engage in the same commerce.

To achieve that, it is going to be necessary to have a system that allows for discovery of the services. This bleeds over into world of identity.

Most of the time when logging into a website you give them an email address which is an identifier of you. The website then takes that email address, looks it up in its identity directory and sees what attributes are associated with that identifier.

What does it know about me that is meaningful to my experience on the website?

  • Purchase history through eBay

  • Preferences for searching for videos on Netflix

In today’s world of identity, you start with the identifier. In the world of identity as it relates to things, many cases don’t start with the identifiers, they start with the services desired: lighting on a college campus for example. It would be a tremendous opportunity to be able to know which lights are toward the end of their useful life and bid on the replacement of those bulbs as a merchant. This makes it necessary for a ‘thing services directory’ that is:

  • Public

  • Not controlled by a single third party: too big for that

  • Global

  • Distributed

  • Providing the capability of discovering services provided by things that enable those things, humans, and organizations to engage in this commerce

This is a necessary component of the world of IoT maturing and realizing its full potential.

It all depends on a fair and distributed marketplace, which is what the most modern distributed ledger technologies including HashGraph provide:

  • The ability to match humans and things, machines with machines, machines with things etc. in this distributed marketplace.

For more info, watch the rest of Mance Harmon's HSOM 8 bonus features.