Powering the Blockchain with Location is Revolutionizing these Industries
Bitcoin’s bull run and bust in recent years have made sure that the technology platform the cryptocurrency is based on – blockchain – becomes a household name. Put simply, blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of transactions which are securely spread across a peer-to-peer network.
These transactions need not be financial in nature. They could be anything – just as long they are something of value. The nature of the technology is such that the record of the transactions is not owned by any single entity. Each entry or block is a part of a decentralized database and connected to the entry before and after it, thereby forming an irreversible and immutable chain of events.
As such, this technology is not only resilient to hacking, but it also promotes transparency and accountability. The very nature of blockchain has tech giant IBM convinced that this technology will do for business what the internet did for communication. And we are convinced that location awareness and visualization are all set to play a big role in the blockchain ecosystem.
Adding proof of location to blockchain
As a keeper of records, a regular blockchain tells the users ‘what’ transaction has happened. But if an immutable proof of location is also associated with the blockchain, it is empowered to reveal ‘where’ that transaction has happened. Bring sensors to the mix and you will be able to understand the circumstances also under which the transaction took place.
Spatially-enabled blockchains enable highly-accurate spatiotemporal mapping of physical world events. And several industries stand to benefit from these geo-blockchains.
In the global supply chain, products travel through many hands. And while these transactions may be getting recorded digitally, each supply chain partner could have a different system for recording them. However, by allowing real-time location and status tracking of products, a spatially-enabled blockchain eliminates the chance for frauds and errors and helps to achieve new levels of trust and transparency.
A top-to-bottom visibility into the supply chain also ensures that in case of product recalls affected batches can be quickly traced and corrective measures taken before brand reputation takes a hit. With immutable data, businesses can also develop more accurate demand and supply forecasting models and gain a competitive advantage over rivals.
In developing countries, issues like spurious transactions and corruption are rampant within the land administration system, especially because there is heavy involvement of middlemen. A blockchain-powered system, by design, eliminates the need for any third-parties or brokers and makes land ownership both transparent and tamper-proof. This is why countries like Sweden, Estonia, Honduras, Georgia, and Ghana are already exploring ways to incorporate blockchain into their land registry systems.
Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt the way the public sector functions and government agencies across the world are openly embracing the possibilities. In the Middle East, Dubai has launched a number of blockchain projects with an aim to become the world’s first fully digitized government by 2021. Seoul is investing $108 million to become a smart city powered by blockchain. In the European Union, $334 million have been earmarked for investment blockchain projects for public welfare by 2020.
By combining the blockchain with a robust location visualization platform, municipalities and government bodies can see every transaction on the map, including the tracking of election votes and public vehicles.
Energy and utilities:
A blockchain-integrated asset maintenance system can provide energy and utility companies with constantly updated location data as well as verified history and status of each piece of equipment, pipeline or transmission line. With a clear view of the consumption, organizations can also balance the demand and supply networks efficiently.
The technology can also facilitate the peer-to-peer sale and purchase of locally-produced renewable energy. In the same vein, blockchain stands to benefit the highly-fragmented market of electric vehicle charging by showing the drivers the locations of charging stations and allowing for secure payments.
Internet of Things:
Connecting physical assets to a spatially-powered blockchain remove the inherent data security risks which are normally associated with the Internet of Things (IoT). The additional layer of protection provided by the location component assures that the asset is being used at the right place at the right time.
In public transportation, this system would enable automatic fare deduction from a smart spatial wallet, while in facilities management, visualizing IoT-monitored assets on a map would allow service managers to assign tasks to technicians more efficiently – and even preemptively – in a bid to bring down risks of failures and save costs.
Blockchain and location data: A mutually beneficial relationship
Blockchain allows data to be shared in a secure, verified, and transparent manner, and this stands true for location data as well. When location records are transferred over a blockchain, it is a confirmation that people and assets are where they say they are. In the case of crowdsourced spatial data, which is no stranger to problems like vandalism, the blockchain acts as a proof of location. Whereas for companies that provide commercial geospatial data, sharing the information using blockchain protocol helps to ensure that the data is going to authorized customers only.
When professional services firm Deloitte interviewed more than a hundred C-level executives in Canada as part of its 2018 global survey on blockchain, it found that more than 80% of the executives had an excellent understanding of the technology. More than 70% of the Canadian firms which were surveyed had already invested more than $1 million in blockchain, while 74% had earmarked over $1 million to invest in the technology in 2019.
As a future game-changer, blockchain is evolving fast. If your organization is also looking to provide trust-as-a-service using this technology, talk to our experts today to explore why location awareness needs to be an integral part of your blockchain.