Industry 4.0 brings us an ecosystem fully connected up to a digital world in which innovation is one of the mainstays. This new paradigm is based on a totally digitalized environment that we now need to take onboard as a driving force behind the transformation of today’s business model based on game-changing ideas.
The change towards Industry 4.0 has spawned a wealth of new technology, with Blockchain to the fore. This enabling technology ensures that the cyber-physical systems making up the so-called smart factories can safely and autonomously order a necessary spare part, pinpoint upcoming faults in the supply chain before they happen and streamline their production processes to cut down energy consumption, among other advantages. Blockchain’s potential enables us to adapt ourselves to a new, more efficient, flexible and optimized business model based on security and trust of all stakeholders. This makes Blockchain a staunch ally in the development associated with Industry 4.0.
A chance to continue evolving?
The products in any industrial output, from factory to end consumer, offer priceless information that may prove vital to all concerned. End consumers are aware of this; hence the growing interest in finding out the exact traceability of the products they buy, receiving revealing information on the contribution of each member of the value chain. In any industrial environment, moreover, it is crucial for companies to keep track of how parts are operating or what temperatures they have been exposed to, in order to take decisions accordingly. Blockchain can be used in both these scenarios, offering traceability of any company’s activities and actions; this is of particular interest to the end user. Companies can also optimize end-to-end supply-chain management, including more commercial logic and tapping into data obtained from IoT (Internet of Things) sensors, guaranteeing the trustworthiness of this data and minimizing fraud (since the data cannot be modified or deleted).
A Blockchain-based supply chain differs from a current one in that a consensus can be reached among all stakeholders. If a user says that something has changed and the other two parties disagree, no modification is made (on the grounds that no consensus was reached).
In this new management of industrial processes data becomes one of the most important assets, without the need for any external certifying agents and thus encouraging trust among consumers and partners. Mechanisms are now at hand for guaranteeing that transactions are authenticated in a network of (authorized) participants with distributed databases, even allowing the setting up of cooperation mechanisms between different factories. Blockchain-based smart contracts are yet another opportunity, coordinating logistics, effecting payments immediately upon receiving the order or even industrial platforms for selling products from different businesses, brands, companies or users (marketplaces).
There are many other areas where Blockchain could come into its own, such as smart metering for more efficient electricity consumption or to guarantee a building’s energy efficiency certificate in a tamper-proof way. It is crucial to bear in mind here that its working principle is based on security, on recording any event and making it immutable.
In short Blockchain technology in Industry 4.0 serves as an intelligent platform offering us a whole host of opportunities. Blockchain transactions ensure a higher level of automation, cutting out interparty friction, thus slashing costs and speeding up processes with the net result of greater system flexibility and fleet-footedness. It can be configured in different ways to suit different value-chain processes, inputting huge benefits for all concerned: users enjoy a high degree of autonomy and industry can become more efficient by striking the right balance between supply and demand in real time. Witness the efficiency achieved in the business processes by applying its trademark features of immutability, traceability, security, robustness and transparency. Machines will thus be able to negotiate between themselves, making payments or ordering supplies off their own bat. Welcome to the industry of the future.
For anyone interested in the world of Blockchain I’d like to share this additional offer of a brief, 5-minute run-through of what Blockchain is, drawn up by PlayGround, especially for anyone wondering exactly how this technology works: https://bit.ly/2HdlSpl
Author: Eric Polvorosa Pascal
Las opiniones vertidas por el autor son enteramente suyas y no siempre representan la opinión de GMV
The author’s views are entirely his own and may not reflect the views of GMV