Trailblazing blockchain innovation

31 May, 2017
Oliver Gahr

With the advent of blockchain and distributed ledger technology, businesses are drawn to the promise of reducing time and cost and increasing trust in payments and transactions. Financial institutions in particular have been taking a serious look at blockchain. Organizations ranging from banks to the London Stock Exchange are taking innovative approaches to blockchain solutions that help manage risk and enhance transparency in financial markets.

And now, trailblazing enterprises in other industries — from healthcare and insurance to government, logistics and transportation — are taking the lead with blockchain implementations of their own. CTOs and IT leaders in organizations outside of the financial industry recognize the potential of the blockchain distributed ledger technology to drive substantial efficiencies, cost savings and fraud prevention.

A healthy outlook on healthcare

In a recent study, the IBM Institute for Business Value indicated that 16 percent of healthcare institutions expect to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale in 2017. 200 forward-looking executives took part in the study, which shows providers and payers are using blockchain in different ways. Providers look to reduce information friction and better secure electronic medical records (EMRs). Payers are also focused on tackling security threats and easing regulatory challenges.

Blockchain helps eliminate data silos and aggregates clinical data from EMRs, driving seamless interoperability among healthcare systems. Records can be made cryptographically secure, without the possibility of bad actors threatening data integrity. At the same time, outside auditing is easier. Blockchain also benefits clinical trials because transparently recording data can enhance trust between patients and doctors and build confidence in the potential efficacy of treatments.

Real-time supply chain visibility

The ocean shipping industry transports 90 percent of goods in global trade annually. And because the modern supply chain can be long on data and short on trust, blockchain distributed ledgers can be used to create an unbroken chain of trust. Recognizing this potential, Maersk, a global transport company, has announced a transformational solution that uses blockchain technology to digitize the supply chain process of tracking paper trails for millions of shipping containers worldwide. The solution provides a fast, security-rich process that enhances transparency and secure sharing of the documentation needed to move goods around the world.

Given the vast amount of goods carried by the ocean shipping industry each year, shippers and their international trading participants require both improved workflow and better visibility. Transport remains highly dependent on a flood of paper that is never digitized. Just one shipment can require signoff from 30 different organizations. This blockchain solution, based on The Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric™, will be made available to the shipping and logistics industry. At scale, the solution has the potential to save the industry billions of dollars.

the journey of a water bottle - supply chain illustration

Insurance industry transformation

Within the insurance business network, a wide variety of assets and processes can benefit from blockchain technology. For example, smart contracts based on blockchain can streamline processing and reduce operational cost. Blockchain also strengthens the trust among participants and insurers by serving as an immutable digital repository for insurance contract documents.

Blockchain provides a clean audit trail for claims that enables advanced analytics, fraud reduction and compliance validation while helping eliminate errors. Using blockchain to maintain financial ledgers with embedded accounting rules can save time and money, as well as streamline cash flows. And consider the effect on identity theft: blockchain only permits a single, verified client identity; any changes need to be permissioned, resulting in reduced identity theft risk and lower damaged reputation costs.

Value creation for any industry

The distributed ledger can assist with cost-efficient commercial relationships, in which virtually anything of value can be tracked and traded without the requirement of a central point of control. As these industry examples show, a variety of uses are already in play, and the technology is still being explored. Expect blockchain to continue spreading into other industries ripe for breakthroughs in visibility, optimization and trust.

Is now the time to reimagine your industry with blockchain? Take the next step and learn how blockchain technology can help your business innovate.

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