Applications and Use Cases

Navigating the Disruptions is Key to Implementing Blockchain Technology

February 13, 2020

Blockchain is here to stay. In 2020, expect adjacent technologies to continue merging with blockchain to create new business opportunities.

That’s the message delivered at the Blockchain Event, part of the annual ITExpo in Fort Lauderdale, FL, on Feb. 12.Sharon LaDay, IBM blockchain ecosystem leader, presented “Trends to Shape Blockchain in 2020” to an overflow audience on the opening day of the annual conference.

“Blockchain is not implemented in isolation,” she told the assembled crowd.

Her discussion focused on dealing with the disruption caused by blockchain adoption. “Are we investing in growth, or are we completely upsetting the apple cart?” Delay asked. It’s a question the IBM team answers each time they meet with a new client.

Deborah Kestin Schildkraut, IBM blockchain ecosystem marketing leader, joined in to delineate the main pain points that companies experience when adding blockchain technology to their inventory. Issues that businesses face as they consider blockchain include:

  1. Gaining access to real-time information.
  2. Promoting interactions that increase efficiency and lower cost.
  3. Innovating while acceding to regulatory standards.

“Getting people to trust the process is the key,” Kestin-Schildkraut says. She says increased access to metrics and greater data visibility counter those concerns.

To date, IBM has implemented blockchain in more than 150 networks. The company has worked with more than 2,000 blockchain partners over nearly 800 client engagements. IBM has more than 1 million blocks on its chain, Delay says.

The first wave of industries to adopt blockchain included banking, finance, healthcare, government and electronics. The current second wave features consumer companies, life sciences firms and transportation concerns, she says.

For 2020, Delay sees technologies such as IoT, AI and 5G blending with blockchain to facilitate emergent business models.  To bolster her views, Delay cited three cases where implementing blockchain technology helped businesses succeed.

Golden State Foods, a supplier of hamburger patties to fast-food restaurants, uses blockchain to track product movement and product temperatures. The goal is to reduce spoilage by making sure the beef is refrigerated properly during delivery. “It’s a bottom-line issue for them,” Delay says.

Another client, Chateaux Software, employs blockchain to track oil and gas assets. The company works with IoT technology to track and manage liquid energy assets as they flow through the system. “Visibility is very important, and it impacts the bottom line,” Delay says.

A third example comes from Everledger, which deploys blockchain ledgers to store digital certificates for diamonds and other valuables. The ability to track assets across the supply chain reduces fraud and theft, and helps fight the problems of conflict diamonds and synthetic diamonds.

Edited by Maurice Nagle



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