The Internet of Things technology possesses the potential of compensating for the underdevelopment of Africa that has gone on for decades. This will be especially so when combined with the blockchain technology as it is capable of serving as a springboard and foundation of a new developmental infrastructure.
Blockchain’s that support Ethereum’s (ETH) distributed application development platform offer ways to develop applications that enable communication across the blockchain. This is because the distributed applications serve the role of ?autonomous agents? by receiving and processing information, making decisions and taking actions. When linked to virtual currencies via smart contracts these new capabilities will have various widespread implications.
By their nature distributed applications offer an affordable and practical way of making devices ?intelligent? and therefore giving them the ability for interaction with other devices. For instance they can be programmed in such a way that they can take actions informed by data without requiring human intervention.
Such innovations have the potential of bringing various benefits throughout Africa especially since economic growth is enabled and underpinned by financial services. In Africa a lot of small and medium enterprises do not have access to standard loan financing from traditional banks. Part of the reason is that they are considered risky and financial institutions will not lend to them if they do not possess collateral.
Ledger of everything
Blockchain technology promises to become the ledger of everything and solve some of the present-day challenges. A home could for instance get registered using distributed ledger technology as well as be equipped with Internet of Things devices making it intelligent. And by being tagged with sensors as well as geospatial reference its continued existence can be monitored. This will allow the owner of the house to get a loan using the asset as collateral. And instead of a regular loan agreement it could be done through a smart contract that is based on Ethereum (ETH). This way intermediary arrangements will be rendered unnecessary.
Besides property and financing water and energy are other areas where IoT could be applied in Africa in order to enhance development. In the case of water for instance autonomous agents can be placed in water delivery systems and report damages and leakages and thus help in reducing waste.
It would also contribute to public health since smart devices can also be installed to check the quality of water and thereby detect potential health hazards. Additionally smart devices can be used in regulating and charging for water consumption.
With regards to energy smart devices which can be deployed in power grids in order to detect potential problems, say a power transmission pole that is rotting and likely to go down soon leading to power outages. Additionally digital technologies can be deployed at the household level to ensure sustainable and efficient use of power. Also using peer-to-peer technology built on blockchain households generating their own electricity either from solar panels or simple windmills would be able to supply the power to neighboring homes for a profit.
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