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IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform


Abstract and Figures

Traditional Electronic Business (E-Business) is a process of exchanging goods and services in digital form where payment is done using electronic payment system. In traditional E-Business, banks and financial institutions are used as Third Party (TP) which has many drawbacks. The proposed model is about e-business using Internet of Things (IoT), which is an advanced version of traditional E-Business model. It removes the TP and performs Peer toPeer (P2P) transactions using Blockchain (BC) technology. It contains four types of commodities: smart property (vehicle, home, flats and energy), smart share property which is also known as rented property (rented homes, rented flat and rented hotel rooms, parking spaces), shopping (clothes, domestic items) and paid data. We introduce mobile application and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to perform communication between IoT devices to control the ownership of smart property. Experiments are performed, which give comprehensive results of proposed design. Benchmark scheme did not perform any type experiments and did not give simulation results. We enhance the benchmark model, which shows the experimental results and gives comparison between proof of work and proof of authority. Due to these reasons, proposed model is better than benchmark scheme.
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IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain
Technology using Ethereum Platform
Faisal Shehzad, Nadeem Javaid, Usman Farooq, Hamza Tariq, Israr Ahmad, and
Sadia Jabeen
Abstract Traditional Electronic Business (E-Business) is a process of exchanging
goods and services in digital form where payment is done using electronic pay-
ment system. In traditional E-Business, banks and financial institutions are used
as Third Party (TP) which has many drawbacks. The proposed model is about
e-business using Internet of Things (IoT), which is an advanced version of tradi-
tional E-Business model. It removes the TP and performs Peer toPeer (P2P) trans-
actions using Blockchain (BC) technology. It contains four types of commodities:
smart property (vehicle, home, flats and energy), smart share property which is also
known as rented property (rented homes, rented flat and rented hotel rooms, park-
ing spaces), shopping (clothes, domestic items) and paid data. We introduce mobile
application and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to perform communi-
cation between IoT devices to control the ownership of smart property. Experiments
are performed, which give comprehensive results of proposed design. Benchmark
scheme did not perform any type experiments and did not give simulation results.
We enhance the benchmark model, which shows the experimental results and gives
comparison between proof of work and proof of authority. Due to these reasons,
proposed model is better than benchmark scheme.
1 Introduction
The Internet of Things (IoT) promises to change the industry [1]. The IoT devices,
which are embedded with sensors, cameras and electronic equipments. IoT refers
billion of devices which are connected to the Internet to collect and share the data.
This data is about transportation, consumption and other details of people life. This
data is used to make ecosystem better. IoT has a lot of applications from children
Faisal Shehzad, Nadeem Javaid (Corresponding Author), Usman Farooq, Hamza Tariq, Israr Ah-
mad, and Sadia Jabeen
COMSATS University Islamabad, Pakistan; e-mail:
2 Faisal et al.
toys to industrial scale. Here some real world examples of IoT devices are: smart
homes, wearable devices, connected cars, industrial devices, smart cities, energy
trading, IoT in agriculture, IoT in health care, smart retailers, etc. This trend is in-
creasing drastically. According to Forbes report, the ratio of connected devices will
reach to 1.0 trillion in 2019 as given in Table 1.
Table 1: Increasing Trend of IoT Devices
Year Number of connected devices
1990 0.3 million
1999 90.0 million
2010 5.0 billion
2013 9.0 billion
2019 1.0 trillion
The proposed model argues that these IoT devices have opened access to other
devices. However, paid data has some issues so we cannot allow all devices to
freely access the other devices data. Traditional E-Business is already implemented
on the Internet which partially solves these problems. IoT E-Business model does
not replace the traditional E-Business model which creates lot of problems. IoT
E-Business is connection of human beings and physical devices (P2M, M2P). Tra-
ditional e-business involves customers, owners and stakeholders. Win-win infor-
mation exchange mechanism is used in it. Traditional E-Business uses cost centric
approach and IoT E-business works on value focused approach [2].
Currently, exchange of paid data involves Third Party (TP) which has many draw-
backs. TP increases the operational cost and reduces the efficiency of system. For
example, a buyer wants to purchase a book from Amazon website. First, he goes to
website and searches the required book. After finding the book, he pays cost of book
using TP (Banks, any financial institution). After confirmation of payment, Amazon
sends the book to buyer. This is time consuming process and increases the opera-
tional cost. Besides the exchange paid data, ownership of smart property and rental
property cannot be transfered using online payment mechanism which involves TP.
The emergence of bitcoin makes possible to perform P2P transactions. Bitcoin is a
cryptocurrency, a digital electronic cash. It has decentralized nature and is operated
without central bank or single administrator. It can be sent Peer to Peer (P2P) with-
out any intermediary party. Bitcoin cannot be exchanged with digital currency [3].
The proposed IoT E-Business model uses bitcoin currency and Blockchain (BC)
technology to digitally perform the transactions. The proposed model introduces
four types of commodities: smart property, smart share property (rented property),
shopping and paid data. To transfer the ownership of smart property and smart share
property, we use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology. NFC is a wireless
technology. It is an emerging technology and many big companies are working on
this domain. Big companies introduce NFC enabled IoT devices. Google and Ap-
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 3
ple introduce Google wallet and Apple pay. Google wallet and Apple pay use NFC
technology for contactless payment [4, 5]. With the help of BC, NFC and mobile
application, we can control the ownership of smart property. BC and NFC technol-
ogy will be explained later. The proposed model performs well than the traditional
E-Business model due to following features.
The proposed model uses BC technology. In BC, once a transaction is validated
through consensus mechanism then it is committed in distributer ledger. The ledger
is a distributed database which stores the information about transactions. Once trans-
action is stored in ledger then it cannot be modified or deleted. So, every node has
ability to view the ledger and verify the transactions [6].
In [2], authors used Proof of Work (PoW) consensus mechanism to validate the
transactions. it consumes much computation power for transaction verification and
validation. The proposed model uses Proof of Authority (PoA) consensus mecha-
nism to verify the transactions. PoA consumes less computation power then PoW
Proposed model uses private BC network because it is more secure than public
and consortium BC network. To make it more secure, we install safe-net software
at every node to protect user private key and other data from hackers. SafeNet’s
Hardware Security Modules helps to secure the BC in following areas [7].
Provide strong authentication and identities to access the BC network.
Secure the BC network.
Secure the communication across BC network.
NFC emulation card is employed at each gas station, shopping mall and petrol pump.
User purchases things from shopping mall and pay bitcoin through NFC enabled
mobile application that is connected with BC network. NFC tags and NFC devices
are also deployed at rented and smart property. So, user has ability to control the
ownership of these properties and to transfer the ownership to other person.
4 Faisal et al.
1.1 Motivation
The main purpose of IoT is to share the data of entities including transportation,
manufacturing, consumption and other detail of people life. Using this informa-
tion, we can make our life better and save the resources in better way [8]. There
are many organizations, industries and research communities working on BC tech-
nology. These companies give ideas how to implement BC in different scenarios.
Authors introduced how to use BC technology in robotic swarm to control robotic
network [9, 10]. It is very difficult to build trust relationship between IoT devices.
Manufacturers want to accelerate the adaptation of IoT products. However, security
and trust are main hurdle. Nowadays, mobile phones, tablets, laptops are becoming
the essential gadgets of one’s life. Authors introduced the BC technology to build
the trust between IoT devices [11]. All of these inspire us to use BC technology in
IoT E-Business to remove the TP and build a secure system.
1.2 Problem Statement
In [11], the authors introduce the P2P IoT E-Business using BC technology which
has two types of commodities: paid data and smart property. For payment mecha-
nism, they remove the TP like banks and financial institution and use bitcoin digital
currency. However, their proposed scheme has some limitations.
For smart property (home, car, energy), they did not give any mechanism to con-
trol and transfer the ownership.
Although in public BC, anyone is able to join the network and these transactions
are validated and processed by these participants. How can we say that these
transactions are secured? So existing systems have some security and trust issues.
Authors did not give any mechanism that how to make system secure.
They did not give any type of data categorization.
They used PoW consensus mechanism having many drawbacks, like it reduced
the efficiency of system while consuming much computational power.
2 Literature Review
Data sharing is becoming an integral part in modern research area because it encour-
ages the scientific community to check the quality of their work by comparing with
shared data. Previous studies show that data sharing research does not achieved sig-
nificant results. Apart from technical preparing or storing data, it has many risks like
misuse, misinterpretation of data and fear to loss publication. Authors used a mech-
anism using BC technology and overcame these risks. So, data sharing scheme gets
attraction from academic institution and research community. Researchers publish
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 5
their data without any problem. They make two type of accounts: One for author,
second for re-user. Authors publish the data on BC network. They use smart con-
tracts for communication between authors and re-users [12].
BC Technology in E-Business
Interoperability (ability of software to exchange and make the information useful)
in health care centers uses traditional approach to exchange the data between busi-
ness entities. Now, people are using patient centered approach. This approach has
many security and privacy issues. Patient driven and institution driven techniques
have been introduced to share health care data using centralized database. World
is moving towards the patient driven approach to solve these issues that relate to
patients’ privacy. For this purpose, Authors introduced BC technology which has
distributed and decentralized database. They used smart contracts for communica-
tion between patient and health institutions [13]. In [11], Authors introduce the P2P
IoT E-Business model using BC technology which has two types of commodities:
paid data, Smart property. They introduced IoT-Token (IoT-T) to control the own-
ership of smart property. For payment mechanism, they remove the TP like banks
and financial institutions and used bitcoin digital currency. To change ownership of
smart property,Buyer sends bitcoins to seller and seller sends IoT-T to buyer. Af-
ter transaction’s verification, data is saved in BC network. In [14], Authors discuss
about the Product Grading Scheme (PGS) for reliable e-commerce business. For on-
line shopping, it is difficult task to find a reliable supplier. Merchants and customers
have different perception about product quality that leads to dispute. Merchants and
suppliers claim about their products’ quality by showing photos’ of product. Cus-
tomers and merchants buy products from e-commerce website. These e-commerce
companies do not have good grading policies even like Alibaba and Amazon. If the
e-commerce companies and trusted organizations build an alliance and make PGS
then online shoppers may get genuine product at fair price. Authors introduced the
BC based PBS (BPGS) using BC technology. In proposed BPGS, 51% computation
power is required to hack the BC network. This 51% computation power cannot
be completed until 51% e-commerce companies and trusted organization takes part
in this alliance. In [15], green house is earlier technique that is used for vegetable
farming. In this technique, all operations are controlled manually that is time con-
suming process and does not give good results. Authors handle this issue by using
BC based IoT E-Business model to intelligently control the management operation
issues. They use IoT to collect information, process the capital, and control flow of
products. Similar studies are also available in [16]-[20].
6 Faisal et al.
3 BC Technology
BC is a distributed database which holds the information or any kind of data. BC
originally developed to support bitcoin digital currency. Bitcoin is a digital cur-
rency which performs the transactions in P2P mode without involvement of central
party [3]. With the success of bitcoin currency, underlying BC technology gets more
attraction from research community. Now, BC technology has many applications
in financial and non-financial institutions. The main purpose of BC technology is
to make systems completely distributed and performs P2P transactions without in-
volvement of central party. The fundamental part of BC network is blocks. Blocks
are small database which are used to save the record of transactions. Block is just
like individual bank statement. These blocks are connected to each other in chron-
icled order using hashes. The network becomes more stronger if more blocks are
attached to it. No one can change or temper the blocks’ data. If a hacker wants
to change or modify the blocks data then he has to control over 51 % blocks of
BC network. This is practically impossible for anyone to get much computation
power. Decentralized nature of BC network makes it more powerful than traditional
database or systems. This distributed nature of BC creates many problems such as
data submitted by any participant must be verified by all participants before saving
into database. BC network uses consensus mechanism to verify the data coming
from participants. Each participant takes part in consensus mechanism to verify the
data using PoW algorithm. If transaction is verified then it is saved into database;
otherwise, it will be disappeared from network forever [3].
4 NFC Technology
In proposed system, we introduce the NFC technology to control and transfer the
ownership of smart property and rental property. NFC is an emerging technology.
It is time to integrate this technology in electronic devices to make the people life
easier. Benefits of this technology are explained below. Many companies like Nokia,
Google and Apple introduce NFC based mobile phones. Google and Apple intro-
duce Google wallet and Apple pay that use NFC technology for mobile payment.
NFC technology will be part of mobile devices in future. It has many application in
daily lives. We do not need to carry credit and debit cards because identity of these
cards in cell phone. Simply, mobile phones are touched side by side with payment
terminal and share the money. Distance between devices is not more than few cen-
timeters. NFC provides the facility to people who want technology that easily con-
nect the devices without any hardware configuration. Lets take an example, person
A has cell phone and laptop, he wants to download pictures from Internet. A touches
the mobile phone with laptop and mobile phone automatically connects with laptop.
Now, he can download the pictures from the Internet. If A wants to show these pic-
ture on large screen (TV) then he will simply touches his phone with TV and sees
pictures on TV screen. Suppose A wants to share the file from one laptop to another
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 7
laptop then A does not require any type of manual configuration like Bluetooth and
Wi-Fi. A simply touches laptops and transfers the data. NFC provides two way com-
munication between electronic devices. It has capability to read and write data on
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags. Therefore, bio-directional communi-
cation between NFC enabled devices and NFC readers make possible to develop
complex applications like identity authentication, payment and secure data sharing.
Touching is an attractive method for human beings that makes possible to learn and
use NFC technology. NFC technology is an enhanced version of RFID. In RFID,
chips are known as tags that are marked on items and RFID reader is used to read
and write these tags. RFID is only used for tracking and identification purpose [4,
5 Proposed System Model
Fig.1 shows the detailed view of proposed model. It shows that all entities are con-
nected to each other using BC network. All of these are able to perform P2P trans-
actions using BC technology. Fig.1 also gives the detail description of proposed
system and shows the categorization of IoT commodities. In purposed model, we in-
troduce four types of commodities: smart property, smart share property, shopping
centers and paid data (data of cameras, sensors that contains useful information).
NFC enabled mobile application is introduced that is connected with BC network.
This application digitally controls the IoT commodities.
NFC enabled Devices
Smart property
Home Car
NFC card emulation mode
Parking space
Rented property
Gas Station Shopping mall
NFC enabled tag places
Paid data
Fig. 1: Proposed System Model
8 Faisal et al.
5.1 The Operating Modes of IoT E-business Model and
Explanation of Traditional E-business Model
There are four different stages in traditional E-Business model: pre-transaction
stage, negotiation stage, contract signup stage and contract fulfillment stage.
Pre-Transaction Stage
This stage includes all participants: buyers, sellers and stakeholders. Buyers make
plan to purchase something. So, he will visit the market, get comprehensive detail
of different types of goods, compare the prices and analyze the market again and
again. Sellers prepare the goods according to buyers need and advertise in market.
TP (banks and financial institutions, paypal) visits the market and understand the
needs of sellers and buyers. In this way, they will get attraction of buyers and sellers.
There is no TP in IoT E-Business model. Buyers and sellers perform transactions
P2P without involvement of TP. Seller prepares the goods, gives detailed description
of these goods on IoT network. Buyer visits the IoT network and filters the goods
according to his requirements and checks the price, type and then compares it with
similar goods.
Negotiation Stage
The negotiation stage starts when buyers and sellers understand their needs. In tra-
ditional E-Business, electronic form is used to write down detail of goods like good
information (price, type), rights and obligations. Traditional E-Business model is
not fit for IoT E-Business model because negotiation cannot happen between hu-
man beings and physical entities. We take an example of shopping center which
is a part of BC network. NFC enabled payment terminals are deployed at shop-
ping center. Buyer purchases goods from shopping center, for payment, buyer does
not perform any type of negotiation with NFC terminal. Buyer just touches mobile
phone with NFC terminal and transfers balance to seller’s account. In case of paid
data, buyer has two choices either negotiates with seller or purchases data without
negotiation. If buyer negotiates with seller then this transaction mode is just likes
traditional E-Business model.
Contract Signup Stage
This stage starts after completing above two steps. In traditional E-Business model,
seller prepares the goods and sends to transport company for packing, shipping and
transportation. Buyer sends money to seller through bank or any financial institu-
tion. Seller confirms that money is received then the transaction will be completed.
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 9
This transaction is broad-casted into network. After verification process, transaction
is saved into distributed ledger. IoT-business model contains four modules: Entities,
commodities, operation mode and transaction mode [11]. Entities and commodities
are infrastructure of IoT E-Business model. Entities are human beings or machines
and commodities are smart property, smart shared property, shopping centers and
paid data. Transaction mode uses bitcoin digital currency and IoT-T. Bitcoin is digi-
tal currency which is operated on advanced cryptography rules. IoT-T is digital cer-
tificate of smart property. Smart property is controlled by NFC devices. Each IoT-T
has unique code and publicly broadcasted into BC network. Every node knows about
ownership of this token [2]. For operation mode, IoT E-Business model uses smart
contracts. Smart contracts are computer protocols that are used to digitally save and
verifies the transactions. Smart contracts are executed in P2P mode using BC tech-
nology. In proposed model, smart contracts are used to save the transactions that are
happened between buyer and seller [11].
5.2 Detail Description of Commodities
Smart Property
Smart property contains homes, flats, bikes, vehicles, etc. We introduce IoT-T to
control and transfer the ownership of smart property from one person to another
person. NFC enabled devices are deployed at smart homes to digitally control the
ownership of smart homes. These NFC devices are connected with BC network.
Each NFC device has unique identity number. Buyer visits the IoT network to pur-
chase home, he selects the home and then sends request to owner. Owner receives
message and starts negotiation with buyer, if both parties agree, then buyer sends the
bitcoin to owner and owner sends IoT-T (Unique identity number of NFC device)
to buyer. Then, miners mine the transaction; after mining, transaction is saved into
distributed database.
Smart Share Property
Smart share property is controlled by NFC tags. These tags are controlled by NFC
enabled devices. Smart share property contains rented homes, rented hotel rooms,
rented flats and rented parking spaces.
For example, Person A visits Dubai and books a hotel room for one month. Due
to some reasons, he has to leave the room after some days. He wants to give room
on rent for remaining days. He makes a smart contract and writes information about
room (location and hotel name, room specifications, price) and broadcasts it on BC
network. Another person B visits Dubai and also wants to book room. He visits the
BC network and searches to find hotel room. If he finds the room then contacts with
renter of room. Both negotiate with each other. If both are agree on one point then
10 Faisal et al.
A sends room tag number, B sends bitcoin and broadcasts this transaction on BC
network. After validation, information of new smart contract saves into BC network.
Shopping Center, Gas Station and Petrol Pump
Shopping centers, gas stations and petrol pumps are part of BC network and NFC
enabled payment terminal are deployed at them. Buyer purchases things from shop-
ping center, fills car tank from petrol pump or gas station. He touches mobile phone
with NFC enabled payment terminal then mobile automatically opens the applica-
tion that is connected with BC network. Buyer sends the bitcoin to owner of shop-
ping center. Fig. 2 shows NFC terminal deployed at shopping center, gas station and
petrol station. Paid data is about sensor, camera or any type of web API that provide
some useful information.
NFC payment terminal NFC enabled mobile User
Shopping mall
Transferring things to holder
Transferring bitcoin to shopping mall account
Gas Station Shopping mall
Smart contract
Fig. 2: Check Information about Smart Property
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 11
6 Simulations Results and Discussion
The simulations are performed and discussed on basis of various parameters. All ex-
periments are simulated on Intel(R) Core (TM) i5-5300 CPU 2.30 GHz with 16 GB
memory running on windows 10. We design private Ethereum network and install
Meta Mask to unable the browser’s distributed property. Ethereum is a giant network
of interconnected computers. These interconnected computers are called Ethereum
Virtual Machine (EVM). It is global network of computers where transactions are
occurred, validated and stored on each computer. EVM is designed to implement
the BC technology. Ether (ETH) is a fuel that is used to run the BC network on
EVM. User has to pay fee for each action, i.e, sending token, interacting with smart
contract, etc. In BC network for both cases, either transaction is successful or not.
This fee is paid for remote minors that are responsible to maintain the BC network,
validate and add the transactions in BC database. Users calculate the transaction fee
using this formula [21]. The formula is given below.
Transaction cost = Gas limit * Gas price
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Average Trancations/hour
Fig. 3: Comparison between PoW and PoA
Gas limit
Gas limit is necessary to show how much gas unit user spends on each transaction.
This avoids the situation where is an error in smart contract and user spends 1 ETH,
2 ETH and whole ETH. In BC network, users are unable to terminate these trans-
12 Faisal et al.
Gas Pump Hotel Parking place Shopping Smart car Smart home
Smart Contracts Deployment Cost
Gas Cost
Fig. 4: Contracts Deployment Gas Cost
actions that’s why user cannot get back these ETH. If user sets up low gas limit
then gas out of error occurs during the transaction processing time. A standard ETH
transfer fee is 21000 gas per transaction. Complex operation has more transaction
fee than the standard transaction fee. So, gas limit is safety mechanism to save funds
from buggy codes and smart contract errors [21].
Gas Price
Gas price refers to amount of ETH that is used to pay fee for every transaction. In
proposed architecture, comparison is performed between PoA and PoW. Rinkeby
Test Network uses PoA consensus mechanism and Local Ethereum Test Network
uses PoW consensus mechanism. PoW and PoA is crucial module of the BC net-
work. These consensus mechanisms take too much computation power and time to
solve the mathematical puzzle, validate and save the transactions in database. Ex-
periments are performed to measure the relationship between concurrent process
and average transactions throughput. Fig.1 shows the comparative analysis between
PoW and PoA. When number of transactions are 8 per seconds then curve starts to
leverage. This point shows best performance of PoW consensus mechanism. PoW
performs maximum 54000 transactions per hour and 8 transactions per second. PoA
performs 68000 transactions per hour and 14 transaction per second which is high
and stable throughput to serve large industry. So, simulation results prove that per-
formance of PoA is better than PoW. If we compare the throughput of proposed
model with centralized systems like Visa Card and PayPal. Visa Card and PayPal
IoT Enabled E-business via Blockchain Technology using Ethereum Platform 13
perform 24000 and 193 transaction per second respectively which is more than PoA
and PoW [22]. Fig.2 shows the comparison between PoA and PoW and show the
gas cost that occurs during the contract deployment. PoA uses too much computa-
tion power to solve the mathematical puzzle and mines the block. PoA is similar
to PoW. However, PoA uses trusted members to validate the transactions, so its gas
cost is less than the PoA. Gas cost also depends on number of payable function and
number of function parameters. According to simulation results, if the number of
payable functions and function parameters are increased then gas consumption is
also increased. Developers must use less number of payable functions and number
of function parameters to decrease the gas cost. Non payable functions do not in-
crease or decrease the gas cost. At the end, we conclude that company and enterprise
must hire a good BC architecture and developer to design and develop the BC net-
work and smart contracts. If users perform any kind of action on BC network then
they must pay fee for that action. In case of financial transactions, small error in
smart contract creates huge loss for enterprise or company. BC users must consider
all these things during the implementation of BC network.
7 Conclusion and Future Work
In this research article, IoT enabled E-Business scheme is proposed using NFC and
BC technology. We give brief introduction of NFC and BC technology. Later, they
explain how can we use this technology in IoT E-Business. BC technology removes
the TP and saves the transactions’ data in a distributed ledger. This ledger cannot
be modified or altered. NFC technology is utilized to digitally control the owner-
ship of smart property. Private BC network is made to control the IoT devices that
is more secure than public BC network while installing Safe-Net software at each
node to provide advanced security features. The proposed model contains four types
of commodities: smart property, rental property, shopping and paid data. To make
E-Business model decentralized, BC technology is introduced to perform the P2P
transactions. To transfer and control smart property ownership, special methods are
designed based on the smart contracts and IoT-T. Experiments are performed to
verify the performance of proposed model. To make the system successful, incen-
tive mechanism is introduced. Benchmark scheme does not perform any type of
experiments and does not provide any type of simulation results. Due to all of these
reasons, proposed scheme is better than benchmark scheme. Data storage problem
is occurred because number of participants and IoT devices are increasing drasti-
cally. In future, we tackle data storage problem which will increase the throughput
of proposed model.
14 Faisal et al.
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