Cisco files blockchain system patent for IoT device tracking

October 23, 2017 //By Rich Pell
Networking giant Cisco Systems (San Jose, CA) has filed a patent application that proposes a blockchain system to track Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

The application – titled "Block Chain Based IoT Device Identity Verification and Anomaly Detection" – describes a blockchain platform that identifies different connected devices, monitors their activity, and evaluates their trustworthiness when connected to a network. It also automatically registers and assesses new devices that are added to a network.

The application discusses "low-power and lossy networks" (LLNs), which are typically sensor networks, and lists both smart grids and smart cities as examples. Various challenges related to LLNs are mentioned, including lossy links, low bandwidth, battery operation, low memory and/or processing capability of a device, as well as changing environmental conditions.

In the context of the IoT and similar networks, says the filing, "device identity and management is a key building block for a viable end-to-end solution. Depending on the particular use case, a "thing" (e.g., a node) may have to register or authenticate its identity with different service enablers that may use various service-specific procedures."

The proposed solution offers techniques providing for the use of a blockchain-based mechanism that conveys information regarding the identity of nodes – and/or other metadata regarding the nodes – to control the behavior of the nodes in the networks: