The collaborative role of blockchain, artificial intelligence, and industrial internet of things in digitalization of small and medium-size enterprises

Sci Rep. 2023 Jan 30;13(1):1656. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-28707-9.


Due to digitalization, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have significantly enhanced their efficiency and productivity in the past few years. The process to automate SME transaction execution is getting highly multifaceted as the number of stakeholders of SMEs is connecting, accessing, exchanging, adding, and changing the transactional executions. The balanced lifecycle of SMEs requires partnership exchanges, financial management, manufacturing, and productivity stabilities, along with privacy and security. Interoperability platform issue is another critical challenging aspect while designing and managing a secure distributed Peer-to-Peer industrial development environment for SMEs. However, till now, it is hard to maintain operations of SMEs' integrity, transparency, reliability, provenance, availability, and trustworthiness between two different enterprises due to the current nature of centralized server-based infrastructure. This paper bridges these problems and proposes a novel and secure framework with a standardized process hierarchy/lifecycle for distributed SMEs using collaborative techniques of blockchain, the internet of things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI) with machine learning (ML). A blockchain with IoT-enabled permissionless network structure is designed called "B-SMEs" that provides solutions to cross-chain platforms. In this, B-SMEs address the lightweight stakeholder authentication problems as well. For that purpose, three different chain codes are deployed. It handles participating SMEs' registration, day-to-day information management and exchange between nodes, and analysis of partnership exchange-related transaction details before being preserved on the blockchain immutable storage. Whereas AI-enabled ML-based artificial neural networks are utilized, the aim is to handle and optimize day-to-day numbers of SME transactions; so that the proposed B-SMEs consume fewer resources in terms of computational power, network bandwidth, and preservation-related issues during the complete process of SMEs service deliverance. The simulation results present highlight the benefits of B-SMEs, increases the rate of ledger management and optimization while exchanging information between different chains, which is up to 17.3%, and reduces the consumption of the system's computational resources down to 9.13%. Thus, only 14.11% and 7.9% of B-SME's transactions use network bandwidth and storage capabilities compared to the current mechanism of SMEs, respectively.