26 Dec Blockchain of Things
Most people, when they think of blockchain, see it as some mysterious technology that is hard to understand and implement. Or they confuse it with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, and its well publicised bull and bear runs, remarks Szymon Fiedorowicz, CEO and co-founder, Smartkey.
However, smartkey has launched the first ever use case study for blockchain technology to help the emergency services respond more efficiently to incidents – connecting “on-chain” commands to “off-chain” or physical actions via smart contracts.
My background is rooted in the Internet of Things, but the struggle has always been to convince organisations to share data their own way. Often they are afraid to give up their competitive advantage and want to force people onto their own proprietary platforms or applications. Smartkey’s vision is to enable the smart city of the future, which needs to connect multiple sources of data in order to power it. This includes weather data, public transport and logistics, utilities and city services such as fire and rescue. By using blockchain as a kind of public services internet, we can connect all these sources of data safely and securely and use them to power new smart city innovation.
Our successful pilot project was in my home town of Olstyzn – one of the biggest cities in Poland. The Smartkey team was able to connect a smart contract on the Ethereum blockchain to a simple Teltonika smart device to enable the rescue services to enter any secure building or open any barriers without having to locate a keyholder or wait for access. This may be some 7,000 km away from the heat of the Middle East, but it shares some common issues faced by rescue services – gated communities and secure buildings. In an emergency situation, seconds can cost lives and our pilot in Olstyzn shows how blockchain-enabled access can drastically reduce response times, while preserving building security. There are thousands of manufacturers of gateways and access systems in the world that operate independently. When deciding to close a given estate, the developer chooses the solution that suits him best. In a larger city there may be even several thousand difference access systems creating a massive problem for emergency vehicles who need to be able to access any area quickly and easily. The Olsztyn project is just one example of how we can do this and it will be ready to roll out globally in the first quarter of 2021.
For the Middle East region, blockchain enables the managers of gated communities, car parks, malls and secure buildings to grant access to multiple users, including emergency services, without the need for multiple keys to be handed out. With blockchain, access can be granted smoothly, with the additional benefit that the key cannot be cloned, copied or easily accessed by other parties.
As Gustaw Marek Brzezin Marshall of the Warmińsko-Mazurskie Voivodeship – the province of which Olsztyn is the capital city said:
“The balance between the safety and security offered by access gates and vehicle barriers and the need for our rescue services to perform their duties without obstruction is a delicate one. The use of blockchain and SmartKey technology seems to be like the perfect solution, giving reassurance to building owners and inhabitants, but also freedom for our emergency services. Locating a keyholder or waiting to gain access to closed districts costs us valuable time; with SmartKey it is instant and we are excited to be the first city in the world to use this, and proud that Warmia and Masuria citizens will take advantage of such innovation.”
SmartKey’s mission in the future of smart cities does not begin and end with the emergency services. We are already creating other projects such as integrating into smart home devices, car-sharing services and platforms for accommodation and office rentals. The possibilities for people, businesses and Government authorities to help implement smart city technology in the Middle East region are huge. Another case being explored is triggering an emergency services lockdown of gates and windows based on weather data for high wind speeds and hurricane warnings. The key is to connect all the multiple sources of data that could be useful in a smart city infrastructure on the blockchain via smart contracts and then be able to create actions and reactions off chain, in the physical world.
We call it the Blockchain of Things.