Before widespread adoption can take place, enterprises need to understand how blockchain can deliver value to both organizations and their customers in these three ways
In an age of rapid digitalization, many companies today are paying attention to how they can leverage new technologies to bring about innovations with the greatest impact. One emerging digital tool that is gaining traction in the business world is blockchain and distributed ledger technology. While the technology first achieved recognition as the infrastructure behind cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, it is playing a bigger role in a growing number of business applications in different industries. It can be found in supply chains, financial transactions, trade settlements, smart contracts, and decentralized digital identities.
Decentralization, transparency and immutability are key characteristics of blockchain. This makes business processes more efficient, and even fuels new business models by processing and sharing the same immutable data to all parties in real-time. Thus, companies are using blockchain technology in various sectors of their businesses without a need for intermediaries. However, adoption of blockchain by enterprises still remains in the early stage, as companies continue to test its technical feasibility and resiliency to external attacks. In order for blockchain to proliferate, enterprises should understand how to demonstrate its value across industries, networks, and technologies through Convergence, Connectivity, and Cloud.
Convergence: Blockchain can span multiple parties, processes and types of data, building trust.
In a real-world environment, business flows and processes are very complex, with various stakeholders and verification requirements involved. In the insurance industry, claims can cover events that range from death benefits on life insurance to routine medical examinations and advanced procedures. In the insurance claims process, there is often a formal request by a policyholder to an insurance company for compensation or reimbursement on a covered loss or policy event. The insurance company will validate the claim and, if approved, issue payment to the insured party. But this can be a slow and insecure process that requires multiple verifications of identities, processes, and data.
Samsung SDS, the digital arm of Samsung, recently announced a blockchain network called “Automatic Insurance Claim Service,” which allows users to receive fast and secure claims with a simple authentication process.
Blockchain enables insurance providers to securely verify a claim and the identity of the policyholder, as immutable records are shared to all parties, so they can be processed quickly and patients can be reimbursed. Insurers can provide payment and settlement functions using a customer’s authenticated information by combining digital identity and digital payment on the blockchain. Consumers benefit from a faster reimbursement and insurers can know that the right parties are being paid. Convergence reaches across parties through the industry value chain, establishing a reliable and trusted network.
Connectivity : Blockchain can connect otherwise closed ecosystems to build better exchanges.
As enterprises begin to build their blockchain networks, they have many choices available to them on which technologies to use and how to organize these networks. While Hyperledger Fabric and Ethereum are examples of leading blockchain core technologies used in the industry, other customized blockchain technologies are beginning to emerge. This can lead to issues of interoperability. Countries can decide to build blockchain networks, but they lose transparency if those networks only reside within their own borders. In the case of international trade or logistics, problems may arise when trying to exchange trade data between networks. Building connectivity in a “network of networks” is key.
Samsung SDS recently connected the two blockchain platforms between China’s Tianjin Airport and Korea’s Incheon Airport to exchange air cargo data.
This project enabled customs agencies in both countries to clear their imports and exports more precisely, making it easier to detect and prevent the forgery of imported products. Through the connected system, various stakeholders from different countries or industries can also share and acquire trade data. For consumers, this means fewer fake goods will reach their shores. For enterprises, connecting two platforms on previously isolated networks enables better visibility for all participants in a blockchain-centric marketplace.
For these and other implemented use cases, Samsung SDS was named as one of the top 50 blockchain companies by Forbes. (Article; Blockchain 50: Billion Dollar Babies)
Blockchain can be used to create convergence and connectivity, but not all organizations have the resources and the wherewithal to build dedicated infrastructure for these distributed ledgers from scratch. They need an easier way to get started as they learn to scale their blockchain networks.
Cloud: Modular building blocks can be used to test and deploy enterprise blockchain in the cloud.
Digital identity, integrated authentication, digital stamping, data traceability and digital payments are all examples of blockchain DApps (Decentralized Applications) that are offered as modular, scalable service offerings in the cloud. Businesses can become more familiar with these applications and modules on platforms such as the AWS Marketplace or Azure Marketplace. This reduces the initial cost outlay for enterprises, but more importantly brings them up the blockchain learning curve much faster. SAMSUNG SDS Nexledger, Enterprise Blockchain platform, is available as platform as a service (PaaS) in Microsoft’s Azure marketplace.
The cloud has also enabled blockchain technology to move into a more mature stage of development by lowering the barriers to entry and allowing for enterprise grade scale to be tested. For ecosystems to thrive, developers need a place to build the applications that drive adoption of platform technologies. If developers would like to design and test blockchain services in a public sandbox without expensive charges, there is Nexledger Test-Net.
Delivering Enterprise Value for Blockchain in Three Ways
It is clear, new technologies like blockchain introduce innovation that is essential to advancing industries and moving us forward. But for the market to grow and for businesses and organizations to apply it in the mainstream, enterprises need to prove its value as feasible and mature. Convergence can help do that by demonstrating immutable trust across many parties and through complex processes with confidence. Connectivity can open closed networks and increase the flow of information sharing, making data decentralized and more transparent for all involved. And the Cloud makes it easier to get started for developers and for enterprises to test scale and production deployment for blockchain.