Ping to Integrate Chainlink Oracles to Provide IoT Data to Smart Contracts
We are excited to announce our upcoming integration with Chainlink, the market-leading blockchain oracle network connecting real-world data to smart contracts. Our integration involves PingNET using Chainlink’s decentralized oracle network to make IoT data available across various blockchain networks, opening up a wide variety of new use cases in supply chain, trade finance, shipping insurance, and more.
Understanding PingNET and its Need for Blockchain Oracles
According to Gartner, the next two years will see 30% of blockchain initiatives in supply chain refocus activities towards prioritizing physical product data capture through various mechanisms such as IoT sensors and devices. IoT sensors capture state data and push it to a blockchain to record it as an event. Those devices respond to physical situations such as movement, shock, temperature, however, events are only formed when several other business definable elements exist.
These events can consist of but are not limited to:
- Geo-fences & locations
- Depart & arrival zones
- Shock events
- Temperature events
- UV index
- Dwell time
- Inventory networks
- AI determined hotspots
- Business & workflow rules
- User-definable custom data
These event parameters can be used to trigger enterprise smart contracts and create new business models within supply chains. Ping has already taken a major step towards enabling this by allowing enterprises to quickly create a network of IoT nodes to track and verify connected assets at any point in the supply chain. These IoT Nodes are supported by PingNET, a Decentralised Transmission Network for the Internet of Things (IoT). PingNET’s underlying protocol is strapped with functionality from IPFS (InterPlanetary File System); whereby the stack facilitates sensing, encryption, broadcasting, and decentralised IoT data transmission.
However, there is a critical part missing in the stack, a bridge between Ping’s IoT data and blockchain-based smart contracts. Creating this capability requires an additional piece of infrastructure known as a blockchain oracle — secure middleware that retrieves data from outside the blockchain, validates it (digital signatures), aggregates it (decentralization), and delivers it to the smart contract to trigger some type of action, such as IoT sensor data triggering a settlement payment for the arrival of goods.
However, not all oracles are equal. Just as the Delphic Oracle was the most prestigious and authoritative oracle among the Greeks, Chainlink is modernity’s answer to Pythia: The Oracle of Delphi. Pythia was trusted to serve the venerated position and vessel for divine communications. We won’t go as far as saying PingNET events are engineered from scripture, but we do require the number one oracle to vessel device communications between the physical world and blockchain smart contracts.
Chainlink as Ping’s Go-To Oracle Network
After examining several oracle solutions in the market, we selected Chainlink because it has a proven, highly flexible framework to both connect to high-quality data and secure the data’s delivery. It’s oracle technology features several unique functionalities not found in other oracle models, particularly the ability to easily connect with any API, including credentialed networks, as well as being blockchain agnostic, meaning we can sell our IoT data to any blockchain through a single gateway. Additionally, it provides a large collection of secure nodes along with highly decentralized and transparent oracle networks, mitigating downtime and data manipulation concerns.
While many have hyped and promised the convergence of low-powered IoT devices and blockchain, no one has yet to build a truly viable and widely adopted solution. We believe Chainlink is the most practical solution on the market, as it is backwards compatible with existing legacy systems and IoT Networks, meaning the onus isn’t on data providers like Ping to change our existing business models. As such, we are excited to commit our resources towards using Chainlink to make our IoT data available to smart contracts, creating a pathway for enterprise supply chain solutions across different blockchains.
Ping will harness Chainlink’s oracle network for several key functions, including: relaying IoT events on-chain, digitally automating supply chain payments, confirming shipping fulfilment and contractual obligations, and most importantly, improving operational efficiencies within IoT and supply chain networks. The initial focus will be on utilizing Chainlink to enable smart contract execution based on data from IoT-enabled pallets on PingNET, leading to automated payments between stakeholders.
Ideally, PingNET captures IoT device state-data using a TEE (Trusted Execution Environment), and in parallel, notarises the data through a ‘Federated Chain of Custody’. Next, Chainlink oracles retrieve a hash of the IoT event and relay it to the necessary smart contracts. This simple, yet disruptive architecture will be the backbone for IoT and blockchain integrations, as well as legacy and emerging systems. We’re confident that this integration framework leveraging Chainlink will accelerate high-volume user adoption, scalability, and interoperability between networks of sensors and smart contracts that mandate their data.
It is important to note the distinction between raw data and IoT events. Most IoT devices and sensors do not create events themselves, but rather observe and capture the state of the environment at a given point in time. Devices or mesh networks can securely submit their state information to Chainlink, and in parallel, to a Federated Node within PingNET, which in turn invokes the various business processes and workflows to determine meta-information, which can give a more detailed analysis of the event. The meta-information, as well as the blockchain entry, can be bridged on-chain using Chainlink to connect to PingNET’s API. Each blockchain entry has a unique fingerprint that establishes the chain of custody from the device level through to the blockchain or ledger entry, whereby data integrity and query confidentiality are optimised.
“We are focused on creating real IoT solutions for the supply chain. With Ping’s IoT capabilities, tracking assets can become an automated, simplified process saving thousands of work hours across industries. When we considered how we could best connect IoT data to enterprise smart contracts, there was one clear solution and that was Chainlink,” said David Simmons, CTO and founder of Ping. “Chainlink oracles do all the heavy lifting for data delivery and connection, so we don’t have to waste time and resources reinventing the wheel. We just plug into Chainlink, and it opens up a new world of opportunity to innovate our business model. More importantly, the integration will help our enterprise customers innovate their business models through a data-marketplace that enables shared connectivity and shared revenues within the Internet of Things.”
Chainlink is the most widely used and secure way to power universal smart contracts. With Chainlink, developers can connect any blockchain with high quality data sources from other blockchains as well as real world data. Managed by a global, decentralized community of hundreds of thousands of people, Chainlink is introducing a fairer model for contracts. Its network currently secures billions of dollars in value for smart contracts across the decentralized finance (DeFi), insurance and gaming ecosystems, among others.
PingNET is a Decentralised Transmission Network for the Internet of Things. The core of the stack is a P2P protocol that enables a peer-to-peer data marketplace where anyone or any — ‘thing’ that has a network connection can get paid for sharing connectivity, and enterprises can rapidly deploy high-volume and cost-effective IoT edge networks. PingNET taps into the data reserves, bandwidth and computing power contained at the edge, to enable the flow of secure, encrypted data from edge devices to IoT platforms, blockchains and beyond. The protocol creates the building blocks for new cost savings, revenue streams and a truly scalable IoT network.
By decentralising the edge, PingNET opens the door to business model innovation, especially for device manufacturers, asset tracking companies, Industry 4.0 integration, logistics and supply chain groups as well as IoT platform vendors and organisations.