We think of the Industrial Revolution as happening in Europe and North America right around the time the United States gained its independence at the end of the 18th century. Another is associated with the early 20th century, but we since experienced two more that the average person didn’t even notice.
Our third and fourth Industrial Revolutions are the introduction of electronics, automation, and virtual twins. These data-backed virtual representations of physical commodities, equipment, and more are essential to predictive maintenance that will keep the entire supply chain moving much more efficiently.
And blockchain’s digital ledgers are quickly building the backbone for this whole new way of doing business. These 10 projects are at the forefront of that movement.
VeChain Thor was initially developed specifically for supply chain management. The project since expanded to include all enterprise-level business operations in hopes of securing major partnerships. It did manage to get listed on Amazon’s Web Services marketplace, so it’s being deployed as part of AWS’s Software as a Service (SaaS) packages.
With Amazon deeply entrenched in logistics warfare with everyone from Fedex to the US government, it’ll be interesting to see how this listing plays out. Perhaps it’ll get acquired by Amazon and actually used (a rarity for blockchains).
IOTA is a blockchain designed to support the Internet of Things (IoT). This gives the projects different growth potential than VeChain. Instead of expanding into other enterprise operations, it can expand to municipal, even federal or global, logistical challenges. IoT is fueling smart cities and automation across the board. If blockchain makes this experience more efficient and secure, it won’t be long before IOTA starts gaining speed.
While it doesn’t have a supply chain solution on the market yet, Eximchain’s development team is promising one in hopes of a contract. It may seem like lack of development puts them in a bad position, but a strong sales team can overcome this challenge. All they need is a long-term enterprise contract in place to be successful.
TE-Food wants to bring transparency to the food industry with a farm-to-table solution. This is a goal shared by retailers, farmers, and customers alike. With any luck, they’ll make progress and gain enterprise buy-in.
Provenence is another blockchain project bringing transparency to retailers and customers by giving the option to trace a product straight through the supply chain to the producers of the raw materials used.
Waltonchain (no relation to Walmart) is built specifically for virtual twins. It combines IoT capabilities of tracking RFID, QR, and NFC, making it easy to scan data in and track products throughout the supply chain. The inclusion of tokenized transactions makes this a difficult sell for pre-existing logistics companies, but you never know what will pop up as the next disruptive company. And this is a powerful tool for anyone to use.
Walmart is spearheading several initiatives to track its products through the entire supply chain. Blockchain is integral to its initiatives in both food and drug safety. If this year’s pilots are successful, expect this retail giant to implement it on a widespread scale. These are the types of business moves that keep the company nimble in the face of competition from Amazon.
IBM is deeply involved in blockchain, and it partnered with Maersk to create a shipping blockchain that already acquired two major customers, and Maersk rivals. This is a great sign of the blockchain actually resolving pain points in this process.
Amazon has a well-documented history of taking over and changing the entire supply chain. We have a massive Amazon presence in both Phoenix and Tucson, AZ, and the company is now competing with its old delivery contracts to control products from its warehouses to your door. With the Ring partnership and Alexa-enabled devices everywhere in our homes and cars, Bezos and company have a lot of reach.
Expect Amazon to continue allowing solid blockchains like those above (and many others) to list on its BaaS marketplace so it can join Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and other tech giants in watching this burgeoning industry. If it smells profit anywhere, Amazon will surely be the first to buy a blockchain instead of creating one.
Blockchain in Transport Alliance
This organization includes major members like UPS, Target, JD Logistics, Schneider, Home Depot, and more. Look for the partnership to agree on blockchain standards for the transport of goods. The mere formation of BiTA is a sign of things to come.
We’re only at the beginning stages of blockchain’s implementation into businesses. This is no fad, my friends. It’s cloud computing with style.