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Blockchain is more than a technology, it’s a movement that can help all industries redefine their most important relationships through trust, transparency and collaboration. Progressive executives are already exploring industry blockchain applications and realizing the value that removing friction, building trust and unlocking new value across their business can provide.
In the supply chain area, real world blockchain applications are already demonstrating new levels of transparency, efficiency and opportunity. Across the healthcare industry, companies are improving patient care by enabling their ecosystem with blockchain to ensure trust, data provenance and efficiency. And from boardrooms to kitchens around the world, the pent-up demand for a smarter, safer food supply chain is already driving companies to focus on blockchain applications that drive digital transformations that connect participants across the food supply through a permissioned, permanent and shared record.
Here are three examples of how blockchain is already being used to reinvent industries.
Blockchain applications for the supply chain industry
“To establish the Kingdom (of Saudi Arabia) as one of the world’s premier logistics hub we needed to create a paradigm shift in the way we handle our shipping processes and explore futuristic approaches with our peer-to-peer business ecosystem worldwide.” — H.E. Mr. Ahmed Al-Hakbani, Governor of Saudi Customs.
Data lives at the heart of all supply chains, but it’s not always visible, available or trusted. This matters more than ever as today’s consumers seek out brands that can guarantee product authenticity while supply chain partners demand responsible sourcing and better visibility to minimize disputes. Forward thinking leaders are already learning about blockchain applications in their industry that help them share trusted data with supply chain participants.
In 2019, the first TradeLens pilot project in the Middle East highlighted the capabilities of blockchain technology as an alternative to the traditional paper document flows in international trade when Saudi Customs approved their first blockchain shipment to Rotterdam. The pilot replicated digital documents across multiple supply chain participants with the goal of identifying improvements to the import and export processes.
This blockchain application kept track of a shipping container gated in Dammam Terminal on March 27, 2019. The invoice and packing list were uploaded by the customer to the TradeLens platform. It was done with the customer’s export customs broker using data within the documents to submit an export declaration to Saudi Customs. The shipment’s information was then accessed and used by Saudi Customs to register the clearance.
The container was then loaded and shipped in the Port of Tangier and went to the Port of Rotterdam, where Dutch Port Community System Portbase provided the Dutch customs release messages and gate-out information directly to the TradeLens platform after which, it went through to its final destination.
Blockchain applications for the healthcare industry
“One of the main problems the clinicians, scientists and researchers studying the data behind the (Covid-19) crisis say they are facing as they try to map and contain the crisis, is lack of integration of verified data sources that can be used with confidence. While there are lots of reputable sources researchers can turn to like the figures from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, and others, much of the data being communicated among hospitals and government agencies or public/private partnerships is inconsistent, or it can’t easily be shared.” — Gari Singh, CTO, IBM Blockchain and Jonathan Levi, CEO, HACERA and The Unbounded Network.
Blockchain will transform healthcare enterprises and increase quality of care by enabling digital transformation. Healthcare information stored on a blockchain can change the way you store clinical information as well as how you share information within your organization, with healthcare partners, payers and with patients. Blockchain applications decentralize healthcare information, but to see its advantages, it also requires careful planning to make the most of the technology.
One of the most relevant blockchain applications during the current Covid-19 outbreak is MiPasa, a global-scale control and communication system that enables a swift and more precise early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots through seamless and fully private information-sharing between individuals, state authorities and health institutions such as hospitals and HMOs, utilizing advanced technological tools and a dedicated user application.
MiPasa sources its information from the World Health Organization, The Center of Disease Control and other similar agencies and then utilizes data analytics and privacy tools for the public health analysis of the outbreak. Interested and qualified researchers, data providers, developers or anyone else interested in collaborating can learn more at MiPasa.org.
Blockchain applications for the food industry
“According to research by the environmental advocacy group Oceana, as many as one in five of the fish samples tested were mislabeled. The troubling implication of that finding is that if you’ve eaten seafood 10 times this summer, as many as two of your meals were not what you thought they were.” — Dan McQuade, VP, Marketing, Raw Seafoods, Inc.
Some blockchain networks, such as Bitcoin, are open to all and anonymous. Anyone can join and see any transaction that happens on those networks. These networks typically require resource-intensive computations to help prevent fraudulent transactions.
Blockchain applications for the food supply chain, on the other hand, can be permissioned so invited members know exactly with whom they are transacting, similar to what happens between business partners today. Participants also determine what data is seen by whom, thereby providing information on a need-to-know basis. Smart contracts also run on our blockchain, allowing business logic to help solve disputes, automatically execute contracts, and build trust.
In October of 2019, a fleet of New Bedford, Massachusetts-based scallopers began uploading data about their catch onto the IBM Food Trust platform, enabling distributors and retailers to identify exactly when and where a given lot of scallops was harvested. The technology addresses the issue that few consumers know where their seafood actually comes from. And from a sustainability standpoint, the data gathered and stored on blockchain can help fishing boats source more strategically, providing boat owners a direct connection to the “last mile” in the distribution channels.
Working with Raw Seafoods, there are plans for a consumer-facing application connected directly to the Food Trust platform, which will allow consumers to access information about their scallops directly from the menu or point of sale in the retail locations by scanning a QR code.
Innovators everywhere are transforming their businesses with blockchain technology, from the goods you buy, to your healthcare experience to the food you eat, each blockchain application is a step towards entire industries being transformed with this shared record of truth.