Combining IoT with blockchain for efficient asset tracking

Combining IoT with blockchain for efficient asset tracking

In the last 5 years the Internet of Things (IoT) has changed the face of small businesses that are not afraid to leverage new and rapidly developing technology. Some of the biggest advantages that IoT offers include significantly lower costs and operational efficiency. Here, an IoT asset tracking app comes into play, providing the desired user experiences. Before we delve into how best this app can be developed using blockchain, however, let’s take a quick look at what IoT itself does.
Getting started with.

Smart technology like the IoT is radically changing the way we do business. It is a network of devices that contain electronics and software that facilitates data exchange. Controlled remotely over the Internet, these devices can be easily monitored.


Next, let’s talk about blockchain. An invention that is nothing short of genius, Blockchain works as a digital ledger that allows the user to maintain an exhaustive and incorruptible log of economic transactions, whether of monetary value or otherwise. With records that are public, information that is held on a Blockchain is easily accessible to any individual using the Internet. As robust as this technology is, what makes it even more appealing is the fact that it is both transparent and incorruptible, thus offering immense value to businesses.


The use case for asset tracking systems.

For any business, however big or small, it is important to track not just inventory but also the company’s assets. Irrespective of the nature of the asset, all required information needs to be monitored on a regular basis to ensure efficacy and productivity. Any assets that require maintenance or replacement can be quickly located using such apps. When there are multiple participants involved in a business, such as manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retail outlets, a Hyperledger blockchain can be deployed to track each shipment at every stage of its journey from the start point until it reaches the end user.

Developing an IoT Asset Tracking App.

Asset tracking apps can be used to track the environmental conditions under which a shipment is progressing. In the case of delivery, the app can be used to effectively ensure that the shipment is delivered not just on time, but also safely. Combining the use of sensors and tracking shipment location via GPS, an IoT asset tracking app can prove to be a significant cog in the business life cycle.

Building an IoT asset tracking app requires sound technology. The capabilities provided by IBM’s Blockchain technology comes with an interface that adds to the blockchain and helps retrieve blocks from a chain. Further, building integration into the IBM Blockchain can be performed using mappers and related functionality.

Process description.

Now that we have established that an IoT asset tracking app can transform any business, let’s take a look at some of the industries wherein it can bring about a significant change. Typically, while physical assets such as machinery and other equipment are managed and tracked via an app, organisations have started to acknowledge that physical assets extend to the human population or their employees as well. This can include employees both at an office and off-site, such as field sales executives.

Industries that are actively looking for asset tracking solutions to enhance their functioning include manufacturing and engineering setups, transportation and logistics companies, and construction firms, among others.

Process flow.

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1. In the Node-RED Control Panel Dashboard, select the Asset Tracker device, and turn on geolocation reporting and make a call to

2. calls the Asset Tracker device over the cellular network to activate it.

3. Geolocation data is transmitted periodically (interval is set in the Node-RED Control Panel dashboard) to

4. calls the Google Geolocation Triangulation service and turns cell tower identifier & signal strengths into geolocation latitude/longitude info.

5. transmits the latitude/longitude coordinates back down to the Asset Tracker device.

6. The Asset Tracker device queries the temperature data and then queries the vibration data.

7. The Asset Tracker device sends all of the collected sensor data to

8. Node-RED listens for the temperature and vibration data that is arriving at

9. Node-RED writes the temperature and vibration data to the Hyperledger Fabric

Transaction History.

10. The Node-RED Dashboard queries the Blockchain Hyperledger Fabric for transaction histories and plots the latitude/longitude, time, and sensor data on a map.

Process overview.

Let’s take a quick look at how the IoT asset tracking app can be created. Here is an overview to the process:

Configure the hardware

o Configure the Particle Electron Asset Tracker board.

o Set up the Particle Electron toolchain.

o Set up the Watson IoT Asset Tracker program.

Implementation of the IBM Blockchain technology

o Build a basic IBM Blockchain Hyperledger network.

Create an IoT app to visualize and analyze the IoT data

o Create an IoT starter app in IBM Cloud.

o Open Node-RED and install additional nodes.

o Import a pre-build flow.

o Initialize the flow.

o Control and receive events from

o Write events to the perishable business network blockchain.

o Load blockchain transaction history.

o Build the asset tracking dashboard

Once the app is up and running, the company can access a storehouse of information. The final solution would enable users to access the asset tracking dashboard that will help them to monitor company assets.

What’s more.

An IoT asset tracking app can prove to be invaluable to a business. Blockchain is the key to developing such models. The IBM-based blockchain solution can be deployed to ensure that IoT asset tracking apps and related projects are built seamlessly for organisations. With an end-to- end solution available through IBM, businesses can rest easy knowing that the safe passage and delivery of goods is ensured.

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