How could wireless networks be scaled to meet IoT demand?

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We hear a lot about the value of the Internet of Things (IoT) in use cases like sustainable smart cities, manufacturing, and agriculture.

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Sensors and automation can use energy and other resources more efficiently, reduce reliance on human intervention, and deliver valuable data and information while doing so.

In light of the urgent need to tackle climate change and enhance food and water security, it is worth asking why the current pace of development appears to be slowing, even when the technology is available and relatively cheap.

We spoke with Nodle co-founder Micha Benoliel about this and other aspect of IoT and the hurdles this technology has to overcome.

Despite the growing adoption of IoT, why aren’t we seeing more smart cities, smart factories, and smart farms?

The problem is simple. The existing infrastructure simply cannot meet the growing demand for connectivity. 5G networks are touted as the solution to our insatiable demand for high-speed internet, but even older, slower cellular services offer spotty coverage at best.

Even in the richest countries, people in small villages or remote areas often struggle to connect.

Nodle has designed a network that offers permanent connectivity via Bluetooth Low Energy. What can you share about this project?

Nodle provides constant connectivity to nearly 30 million IoT devices worldwide. It can provide coverage even in the most remote areas where other cellular or WiFi connections are not available.

It is important to say that Nodle is not a WiFi network in the traditional sense. Rather, it is a global network infrastructure that leverages the Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) standard to connect any BLE device to the Internet.

Today, more than 50% of all IoT devices on the market have a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) wireless interface. Using the Standard Generic Attribute Protocol (GATT), any of these devices can interact with any Nodle edge node.

Clearly, this means that any Bluetooth compatible smartphone can be transformed into a node on the Nodle network. The network itself is 100% software and leverages everyone’s smartphones through a simple app or SDK to turn them into an edge node.

What is the role of blockchain in the development of IoT in this type of technology?

Blockchain provides the necessary incentives for people to join the network. To increase the adoption and growth of the network using smartphones, we needed an incentive mechanism and a way to secure communications.

With blockchain, people can earn token-based rewards based on transactions recorded on the chain. In addition to recording all the transactions that occur on the network, the chain offers a way to create IoT applications and smart contracts to automate the invoicing process.

Thus, effectively, an IoT device can remain “offline” until it comes within range of a connected smartphone. Once within range, the IoT device can send its data to the network using the Bluetooth connection. It sounds deceptively simple, but such a network has compelling use cases.

Could these blockchain-based incentives be a basis for Web3?

Web3 is a significant revolution in the way applications and services are built. In Web3, everything is built with a decentralized approach. This means systems with more privacy, more resilient infrastructures, and less censorship.

Web3 services have a native blockchain-based payment layer. It allows the creation of stand-alone, unauthorized, untrustworthy and verifiable systems.

This is a big improvement over Web 2.0 where the primary business model was to scale up and then monetize an audience. Web3 enables new ecosystems with for example the possibility of providing incentives to all parties involved.

In terms of Web3 and the future of services such as connectivity, cloud storage or computing capacity, is it likely that eventually all networks will be decentralized?

I think we have seen the limits of centralized networks and services. This is very visible when it comes to protecting people’s privacy. However, it is much more difficult to scale decentralized networks than to operate a centralized network from a technological point of view. It will take time, but decentralization is the way to go.

It will allow a great change for our society. It means building a whole new infrastructure to enable abundance. It is helping to change the state of mind of scarcity that has so far guided our economies towards the state of mind of abundance.

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