Even if you haven’t watched Doc Brown and Marty McFly’s adventures in the sci-fi movie, Back to the Future II, you may have at least heard about them. The duo travel to the year 2015 through a time travel machine. In their version of 2015, we see smart homes, fingerprint-scanning door locks and voice control assistants, all of which are a reality today. While there may be no flying cars or hoverboards as shown in the movie, they too may soon become a reality, looking at the pace at which technology is advancing.
Whatever the case, we are moving towards highly digitalized, technology-dependent and advanced city development and management. These advanced, innovative and tech-dependent cities are called smart cities. Advanced technologies play a significant part in developing and managing these cities.
Blockchain is one such technology essential to create more secure, transparent, efficient and resilient cities. The use of blockchain for smart cities can play a crucial role in city development and management, solving these societal issues and improving day-to-day operations. Here is a look at how the use of blockchain for smart cities makes them even smarter.
How Blockchain for Smart Cities Makes Them Smarter
Blockchain, as initially conceptualized by Satoshi Nakamoto, has come a long way. It is no longer associated with only cryptocurrencies. Today, blockchain technology can be applied anywhere, particularly where a chain of trust is needed. Thus, it proves particularly useful for smart cities. Here’s a look at how.
Cybercrimes are increasing by the day. A report suggests that cybercrimes will cost companies an estimated USD 10 trillion by 2025. Blockchain can prove helpful in reducing the risk of cyberattacks. The following are some of the use cases of using blockchain for smart cities that help in improving cybersecurity:
● IoT security: End-to-end encryption, secure communication and authentication made possible due to blockchain can help improve cybersecurity with AI and IoT devices.
● Software downloads: The integrity of the updates can be verified using blockchain to prevent malicious software from being installed.
● Identity protection: Blockchain validation techniques, like cryptography, can be used to curb identity thefts like driver’s license identity theft or mail identity theft, to name a few.
Blockchain sees a wide range of applications in the healthcare sector and is already transforming in many ways. Blockchain is being used to create a distributed system for patient health records and transparent supply chains for medicines as well as manage the outbreak of harmful diseases. As the adoption of blockchain increases, the entire diagnosis and treatment process, including financial transactions, can happen over a blockchain.
Moreover, blockchain for smart cities can be combined with other advanced technologies like AI to further improve the healthcare sector. For instance, the combination of AI and blockchain can diagnose a patient through wearable diagnostic tools. The diagnosis is then shared with a medical professional securely on a blockchain. Then, the patient and the doctor can initiate a smart contract for further treatment. Similarly, the smart contract can be used for insurance claims. Lastly, telemedicine can treat patients without the need for an in-person visit.
Better Waste Management
Blockchain can help maintain a clean environment and high hygiene in smart cities. It can provide real-time tracking of various aspects related to waste management. For instance, it can provide transparent, immutable information regarding the amount of waste collected, who collected it and how the waste is being recycled or disposed of.
Moreover, governments can also incentivize waste management to promote cleanliness with the help of blockchain. This will result in active participation from the citizens and further contribute to better waste management.
For instance, an entrepreneur has created a cryptocurrency built on blockchain that is awarded to individuals that help with waste management. There are similar projects worldwide that fuse blockchain and waste management and hope to bring a much-required change to human behavior.
One of the best use cases of blockchain for smart cities is simplifying the education processes. Educational institutes have to deal with a tremendous amount of student data. Similarly, transferring the data between multiple institutes becomes tedious and time-consuming.
Blockchain can help solve the problems by creating a centralized, immutable database. Different academic institutions can easily access and share information across the blockchain network. This will help ease the administrative tasks involved.
Moreover, it will also help reduce fraud instances, such as creating fake mark sheets, as student data cannot be changed due to the immutable nature of blockchain.
Increased Energy Savings
We are all striving towards a greener and cleaner planet by minimizing our use of resources. Resource conservation is a primary focus while developing future smart cities with blockchain technology.
There are various ways through which blockchain can be used to increase energy savings in smart cities. For example, a blockchain-based network can be used to monitor citizens’ energy consumption. Citizens can also trade surplus electricity with other members in exchange for incentives.
Blockchain can help give a boost to transportation services in smart cities. It can help create a point-to-point vehicular network. Such a network can enable efficient vehicle tracking, provide a secure platform for vehicle and driver registration and notify owners about essential updates. For example, using blockchain for smart cities can help create secure vehicle owner data tracking to prevent instances of vehicle thefts and enhance the vehicle sale and resale process.
Multiple countries across the globe are implementing blockchain for smart cities. Initiatives like Blockchain4cities are accelerating the adoption of blockchain for smart cities. We have already seen the adoption of blockchain in enhancing security, improving healthcare, and simplifying education processes, among others. Sooner or later, blockchain will be used in every area of functioning in smart cities.