Blockchain in industrial automation: Myth or reality?

BlockchainBlockchain, often referred in the context of digital currency transactions, is now set to revolutionize industrial automation segment.

Recent research reveals that blockchain interest is growing among industrial players, especially around supply chain logistics and manufacturing. Blockchain can integrate several digital ledgers which are stored in different locations and process them in blocks, leading to better transaction governance.

Blockchain technology is gaining popularity because of its ability to automate the processes and bring transparency across the network. However, organizations adopting blockchain in their workflow must first integrate their systems and automate their business process effectively.

Leading blockchain integrator IBM has piloted a project with shipping container firm Maersk. The primary purpose of this pilot was to use blockchain to track the location and status of the goods. However, both companies are exploring automation capabilities including paperless trade via smart contracts, says ABI Research.

Other emerging players in industrial blockchain include Asturex, Compacer, and Faizod.

Asturex has developed an application to improve the efficiency of elevators by storing and sharing information about safety, breakdowns, servicing, guarantees, and maintenance. The company is also developing an automotive application to improve the logistics and operations at a leading secondhand car dealer network in the U.S.

Compacer, on the other hand, is developing application around pharmaceutical supply chain tracking and monitoring. Each block in the chain contains a secure hash of the previous block, a time stamp and its own transaction data, which means that data cannot be controlled by a single entity. The peer-to-peer nature also makes it forgery proof because any and all subsequent transactions are built on the previous ones and must be correct to be validated, says Compacer.

Meanwhile Faizod has developed Reactive Ledger platform that claims to provide transparency, flexibility, and automation for supply chain and logistics processes in manufacturing. The platform is tailored for for asset management, creating virtual data rooms where participants can share documents, files and records. The company recently partnered with Siemens to supply its blockchain platform.

As pointed out by experts, the most important advantage of blockchain in industrial segment is that the distributed ledger system brings transparency across the supply chain network. With a distributed ledger participants can get shared read and write permissions, with the option to synchronize the data into the network.

The potential for industrial blockchain is growing rapidly as indicated by the rising number of pilot projects in this segment.

Rajani Baburajan

editor@infotechlead.com