Making Smart Cities Smarter

Announcements Nov 30, 2021

The IOTA Foundation and the Construction Blockchain Consortium collaborate to integrate digital identities, supply chain tracking, smart contracts and tokenization in the construction sector.

TL;DR:
The IOTA Foundation and the UCL Construction Blockchain Consortium are collaborating on DLT innovation in the construction sector. It involves using IOTA tools to simplify DLT integration with CBC stakeholders exploring new solutions for their industry. The results will help digitize the industry, improve worker safety and working conditions, track the movement of materials and incentivize renewable energies adoption.

According to the report Global Construction 2030, forecasts say that the volume of construction output will grow by 85% to $15.5 trillion worldwide by 2030, with three countries – China, US and India – leading the way and accounting for 57% of all global growth. Digitizing construction is the prerequisite of future smart buildings and smart cities.

The IOTA Foundation has embarked on a new strategic partnership with the Construction Blockchain Consortium (CBC), based out of University College London. This follows a number of collaborative events in March this year. And finally the tutorial on IOTA tools was presented at the CBC Conference in October.

Integrating IOTA in the construction industry

The aim of the partnership is to facilitate the adoption of scalable and green distributed ledger technology (DLT) in the construction industry. To achieve this, the IOTA Foundation and CBC will identify and support construction stakeholders willing to integrate l blockchain technologies to transform the construction sector.

The construction industry has a complex supply chain, many phases and a large number of stakeholders and regulations. Guaranteeing security while increasing transparency, reducing complexity and improving processes and sustainability requires changes and innovation that can only be built on the trusted transactional infrastructure that blockchain and DLT can provide.

The IOTA Tangle is a scalable and feeless DLT that is significantly more energy-efficient than traditional blockchains. These features, combined with its lightweight client software and data immutability, make IOTA particularly suited for highly scalable data networks (like the Internet of Things), automation and information sharing across multiple actors. Intelligent monitoring is at the core of the modern construction industry, enabling the entire life-cycle of a building to be monitored from construction to operation and decommissioning.

Specifically, the IOTA-CBC partnership will promote the integration of the IOTA frameworks and tools that can contribute to the digitization of the construction industry.

One such tool is IOTA Identities. The linking of digital twins with immutable data stored on a ledger (whose access is protected by the owner of the data),  without the need for intermediaries, increases security against cyber-physical attacks. Physical assets linked to digital twins can now be operated in a zero-trust environment, where sensors from different vendors are integrated with decentralized identities that securely authenticate and authorize sensor devices across different systems and without a central point of failure. IOTA Identities provides such a tool while guaranteeing the scalability that can cope with the volume of sensors that modern buildings and cities will need. All of these innovations can already be tested using the IOTA Integration Services, which allows the easy integration of a variety of industries with IOTA technologies and frameworks, through simple REST APIs.

The use of DLT will also innovate other parts of the construction industry: for example, by enabling the creation of digital product passports, by providing asset management, by monitoring the sourcing of parts and materials, and by tracking their correct use, recycling, and circularity (a topic in which the IOTA Foundation is already invested at the European level).

While modernizing existing industry processes will be one of the focuses, enabling new business models will be the core of future innovation.

Looking to the future, smart contracts will also enable the controlling of distribution and third party access to Building Information Modelling (BIM) data, for the optimal planning of future cities. On the other hand, tokenization will help track the production, consumption and monetization of renewable energies, which are increasingly part of new building facades and rooftops. Digital tokens will create new business models for the whole industry. Digitizing city assets (i.e., buildings, lamposts, EV charging stations) through the use of NFTs, renting them and sharing investment and revenues for their creation will open up new business models, directly involve citizens and new investors, and make cities smart and sustainable.

The underlying technical features will be available for testing and production over the coming months.

These are just a few profitable ways that the IOTA Foundation and CBC can help integrate DLT in the construction industry. Reflecting on the partnership, Michele Nati, the IOTA Foundation’s Head of Telco and Infrastructure Development, said: “In joining the CBC, IOTA hopes to bring to the construction domain the expertise gained in similar domains, derived by working in projects such as CityXchange and Dig_it as well as simplify DLT adoption through new tools IOTA Foundation developed. By simplifying access to distributed ledger technologies and protocols, we aim to promote innovation in an industry that is undergoing major digital transformation.

Abel Maciel, Founding Director of the Construction Blockchain Consortium at the University College London, said: “The strategic partnership between the IOTA Foundation and CBC aims to enable open-source DLT technology projects as catalysts of digital transformation in the construction sector. With support from the IOTA Foundation, we aim to research and develop faster, more sustainable technologies to accelerate the adoption of BIM and Digital Twins in a holistic total lifecycle management for assets and processes in the built environment.”  

The initial step of this strategic partnership is for the IOTA Foundation and CBC to identify an open-source project and pilot that will bring together IOTA technology and the IOTA network with the CBC ecosystem of stakeholders to co-innovate in the construction industry. For that IOTA Foundation will aim to involve solution providers from the IOTA ecosystem.

Additional activities will involve the creation and delivery of education materials on the topic of blockchain and DLT innovation for the construction industry and its stakeholders.

The IOTA Foundation is proud to be a partner of CBC and looks forward to helping shape the future of construction and smart cities.

If you want to discuss opportunities for new solutions, please contact the Construction Blockchain Consortium at [email protected] or the IOTA Foundation through our contact form.


About the CBC

The UCL Construction Blockchain Consortium (CBC) supports knowledge transfer, arranges commercial and academic presentations, assesses and tests commercial services and technology, conducts research, and drives policy, regulation and understanding of the radical consequences of technology and services. Where required we also develop proprietary technology and services for the consortium members; using both outside contractors, and leveraging Ph.D. and Masters students.

About IOTA

The IOTA Foundation is a global not-for-profit foundation incorporated and headquartered in Germany. The IOTA Foundation's mission is to support the research and development of new, open-source distributed ledger technologies (DLT), including the IOTA Tangle. The Foundation encourages the education and adoption of distributed ledger technologies through the creation of ecosystems and the standardization of these new protocols.

The IOTA Tangle moves beyond blockchain by providing the world's first scalable, feeless and fully-decentralized distributed ledger technology. The Tangle uses its own unique technology to solve three fundamental problems with blockchain technology: high fees, scaling and centralization. It is an open-source protocol connecting the human economy with the machine economy by facilitating novel Machine-to-Machine (M2M) interactions, including secure data transfer, feeless micropayments, and secure access control for devices.


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Michele Nati

Head of Telco & Infrastructure Development @IOTA Foundation, PhD in Computer Science, Data and Digital trust expert, Internet of Things researcher. Leader for IF engagement with TMForum. Runner.

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