(In the following, 'bitcoin' has been used as the payment process used in this implementation. This should be understood as being generic, as any block-chain based transaction system would be suitable. Bitcoin itself may prove to be problematic due to the transaction fees which need to be included.)
A funding mechanism is required which promotes a self sustaining business model. A suitable model would:
- Reflect the true costs of running the business
- Provide effective and efficient remuneration
- Support the ongoing development of the IoT ecosystem
- Allow effective community involvement
The suggested business model may also be disruptive, new and novel.
A micropayment system for sensor data based on Bitcoin is proposed. When data is transmitted from sensors a bitcoin address is associated with the data. Bitcoin is paid to this address once data is received expected sensor time of life, recovery and recycling costs.
By attaching micropayments to sensor network operation there is an incentive for the operator to keep up with sensor maintenance.
Sensors are registered with data consumers to supply data at a particular bitcoin rate.
- Receive data and pay bitcoin.
- Collect sensor data and pay bitcoin to associated account as data is received.
Data Brokers / Gateways
- Acts as data consumer, and paying bitcoin to data sources.
- Sell data to other data consumers
Data Producer/Sensor data
- As data points are measured/produced by a sensor, they are associated with a Bitcoin address, which is transmitted along with the data to the network.
- Data may be stored for later transmission, when opportunistic networking is used.
- Bitcoin addresses can be allocated per sensor or to a group of sensors. (Individual sensor bitcoin addresses would be preferred.)
- The amount of bitcoin charged per data-point is determined by the cost of the sensor, May strip and reissue bitcoin address for data consumers.
- Can aggregate data and create value added data collections.
Deployment of the sensor data requires an upfront investment in equipment, infrastructure, (some) R&D and deployment. Funds also need to be allocated to recovery and recycling. This investment can be recouped over a particular period, determined by the sensors (battery life) in the network.
Additional sensor network deployments by other organisations can be incorporated into the aggregated data and also made available via Bitcoin payments.
The sensor network can be monitored via bitcoin transactions.