ITM and Microsoft collaborate on blockchain for IoT

  • February 17, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Taiwanese blockchain provider International Trust Machines (ITM) has collaborated with Microsoft to create out-of-the-box ways for enterprises to use blockchain for IoT technology.

ITM, established in January 2019, offers blockchain solutions to three common problems – scalability, privacy and cost. By empowering IoT devices with blockchain capabilities, ITM makes large amounts of data generated by connected devices more tamper-proof, ensuring trust in data for enterprises and their clients.

ITM core team: From the right R&D director Swanky Hsiao, chief scientist Gwan-Hwan Hwang, CEO Julian Chen and director Cooper Lai.

ITM has joined the MediaTek AIoT ecosystem and, together with Microsoft, has developed technology for TaiPower, Taiwan’s largest energy provider, to record solar power data generated by smart meters.

The project, using MediaTek chipsets certified for Microsoft Azure Sphere, has been deployed in TaiPower’s power fields. Data collected by the smart meter will be sealed on blockchain, and automatically connected to Azure Sphere security cloud services, establishing trusted renewable energy data while retaining hardware-level security.

This project comes when the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted virtually all businesses.

“The pandemic has caused increased disruption in the mobility and communication of office personnel,” said Julian Chen, CEO of ITM. “ITM uses blockchain technology to ensure the accountability of your data and reduce the need of third-party verifications. The audit process is automatically done by the machine, which speeds up data exchange between supply chain participants.”

Traditional efforts to check and verify data usually involve a third party and can be time consuming and expensive. By sending data generated by IoT devices to an immutable blockchain ledger, ITM creates an automatic audit mechanism that verifies and validates data in a cost and time effective way.

Apart from data compliance, ITM’s cryptographic security algorithm solves common problems of scalability, privacy and cost highlighted in current blockchain for IoT systems; it also plays a pivotal role in accelerating post-crisis digital transformation initiatives.

“Scalability, privacy and cost are the common issues enterprises face,” said Chen. “Most public chains face the difficulty of processing a large amount of data generated by IoT devices and that affects the scaling up of a company. Meanwhile, it costs companies an exorbitant amount of money to have miners turn raw data into useful information. Concerns about data stored on a blockchain have also been raised owing to the lack of a mechanism to erase information after it’s been input.”

Nicole Denil, Microsoft general manager for IoT in Asia, added: “By designing their new solutions with Microsoft Azure Sphere, ITM is building products on a foundation of security. ITM’s edge computing makes connected devices more secure and reliable. It enables them to register millions of data transactions, sealed in a single fingerprint on a blockchain. ITM’s technology is specific to IoT devices, which makes it possible to process large amounts of data without causing latency problems.”

Since its establishment, ITM has been working with local and international organisations to promote blockchain innovations. Its clients and strategic partners include Qualcomm, Microsoft, MediaTek, Acer and Kneron.