Cisco & Blockchain: Group Chats & IoT

In our latest story involving giant companies and blockchain we take a look at Cisco’s plans regarding decentralized computing.

Cisco building

Cisco doesn’t want to be left out from the blockchain race. The networking giant has been exploring the “whole decentralized computing space” and has even started filing for related patents. This article will talk about two of those patents; so without further ado, here’s what we’ve got…

Group messaging in a blockchain

Cisco envisions secure group messaging in a decentralized manner. The company’s patent, filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), describes how blockchain could enable people to form groups to exchange information and files, while keeping track of membership.

According to Cisco, the blockchain-based system would be able to solve such common problems as “how group membership is established, communicated, updated, and secured from unauthorized tampering” in “dynamic, decentralized, and self-organizing groups.”

The company proposes using cryptographic keys shared among group participants to establish a peer-to-peer network, with only authorized members being able to join in.

The genesis block for the ledger is created by the first participant’s device, and that block could also define the initial set of group members. From there, subsequent communications would generate their own blocks as each member of the conversation adds on.

From the patent filing, describing applications of this technology:

One such application is enabling end-to-end encryption of instant messaging, content sharing, and streamed media. This is useful in developing a protocol or application designed to enable confidential group communications.

IoT device tracking with blockchain

Another Cisco patent proposes a blockchain system to track Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

In a filing, the company describes a blockchain platform that can identify and automatically register different devices, monitor their activity, and evaluate/assess how trustworthy the device is when connected to a network.

The filing refers to “low-power and lossy networks” (LLNs), which typically run smart grid-type systems that may include some sensors and are increasingly connected to the internet. So Cisco’s platform aims to streamline and automate this process.

From the filing:

Particularly in the context of the IoT and similar networks, device identity and management is a key building block for a viable end-to-end solution. Depending on the particular use case, a ‘thing’ may have to register or authenticate its identity with different service enablers that may use various service-specific procedures.

And more…

For what it matters, Cisco was also one of several companies to announce an IoT protocol that registers devices using a blockchain-compatible API. And chances are it is just getting started.

On our end, we will be getting back to you as soon as we catch something newsworthy from Cisco or any other important player. Stay tuned in the meantime…

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