Research Projects

Public & consortium blockchain mechanisms are needed to integrate, secure and monetize the data produced by IoT devices

Blockchain technology (e.g., open source Enterprise Ethereum) can be used as a vendor neutral integration layer to secure IoT devices to prevent malicious attacks, enable myriad IoT devices installed at the airports to work together in concert to unlock new value creation between different parties, and reward IoT operators for the value produced by data.

Background (Describe the current situation or problem in the industry, and how your idea would address it.)

The ACRP Research Report 191: "A Primer to Prepare for the Connected Airport and the Internet of Things introduces IoT and its use in airports" paints the picture of how "smart devices" can be instrumented to capture data and take some action. As you read the report and understand the examples you can't help but to think how the airport systems and stakeholder experiences can be enhanced if the right IoT devices could coordinate with each other in a safe and secure way. Currently this is not possible without a vendor buy-in or complex and expensive centralized coordination mechanism. How can these decentralized sensors from different vendors talk and trust each other? A properly implemented blockchain system (such as open source Enterprise Ethereum) can be used as vendor neutral integration layer to orchestrate discrete devices. Why blockchain? The IoT devices should not trust each other and only release the right information to the right recipients. While it may be possible to create a whitelist of devices present in the airports, without smart contracts (business logic programmed on a turing complete blockchain) it's impossible to coordinate the actions of multiple devices to take collective action. Blockchain provides the necessary infrastructure to enable trust, accelerate data exchange, and security between IoT devices while providing cost reduction benefits.

Objective (What is the desired product or result that will help the airport industry?)

The objective of the study is to examine the integration attributes necessary to make relevant IoT devices at airports to work in concert and in a secure way. The current IoT hub (or gateway) approach, where different IoT devices connect to a centralize services, will not scale and provides a single point of attack for malicious actors. At the same time the value of IoT devices comes from collecting and sharing the information with other trusted parties. This study examines the factors, patterns, approaches, and types of blockchains necessary to connect discrete and incompatible IoT devices with each other. The focus of the study will be security and monetization of data each IoT device can provide when combined with insights from other systems and other data feeds.

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Idea No. 193