A concept that originated in cryptocurrency and is already popular in financial ledgers is now moving into new verticals. We already know blockchain is being used to track diamonds and coffee beans and but Oracle has the objective of expanding the capabilities of blockchain even further. As mentioned by Forbes at the beginning of the year, although Oracle is not the first tech company to introduce this technology, they “may be the firm to watch and even the firm to beat as the enterprise blockchain wars heat”.
What can blockchain do for my business?
Blockchain enables verifiable trust between businesses, suppliers and customers but it also provides easy-to-track history, which serves as an audit trail. It is therefore a great option for businesses and organisations that don’t have an established relationship but also for those who want to ensure or improve the quality of their product or service and build customers’ trust, as it is the case of swiss luxury watchmaker Vacheron Constantin who only last week announced they will start using blockchain to verify authenticity and protect customers from purchasing fakes.
Oracle powered blockchain applications
Oracle is already working with a number of partners to develop applications on the Oracle Blockchain platform. This includes the Global Shipping Business Network, China Distance Education Holdings, Arab Jordan Investment Bank and Nigeria Customs, but this is just the beginning as the interest for ethical practices and trusting business relationships arise.
Blockchain for consumables
In Australia, the use of blockchain is being considered to save the reputation of farmers after customers have reported fake honey and finding needles in strawberries. With blockchain, farmers are expecting to earn their customer’s trust through tighter checks which should also force the products to be compliant with regulations.
In the U.S., Alpha Acid Brewing Company, is already using the Oracle Intelligent Track and Trace Cloud Service to get its suppliers to sign off the details of the malt and yeast from the harvest to the malting, giving visibility to customers on the beer they are consuming.
Reducing risk in healthcare
The diagnose of illness, monitor symptoms and progress is not only important for patients but is also a core responsibility of the care team involved. By having accurate information, medical teams can help improve recovery processes and save lives. Healthsync, an application based in the Oracle Blockchain Platform does exactly that. Its goal is to reduce the risk of post-surgical complications and save more lives through providing correct and real-time information in regards to patient’s body weight, blood pressure and heart rate to all care team members at the same time through the use of distributed ledger technology that allows different health organisations to confirm the information. This has not only led to more effective and secure healthcare, but by reducing post-surgical complications, the additional healthcare costs have also reduced, saving billions of dollars.
The use of blockchain in healthcare is also extending to the pharmaceutical industry. In India – the world’s largest producer of generic drugs – some members of the government are considering blockchain to reduce the problem of counterfeit medical products, which currently account for 10 percent of products in the country. According to Interpol and the World Health Organization, 30 percent of the drugs worldwide could be counterfeit.
Tracking raw materials
Whilst tracking pharmaceuticals can appear a simple task, tracking raw materials can be more challenging as these are transformed through the supply chain. How can we track these when they no longer keep their original form? That is the challenge that lead to the creation of Circulor, an application based on Oracle Blockchain technology that traces raw minerals from the mine to the finished product to ensure materials are ethically sourced. This can be a challenge in places like Rwanda or Congo where raw materials could come from mines that practice slavery or child labour. The process on Circular is achieved through multiple verification methods that include the confirmation of an authorised user at the mine through facial and GPS technology, QR codes attached to a tamper proof bag containing the minerals, as well as the weight and analysis of the material at certain stages that have been carefully planned to avoid disruption along the supply chain process. This platform is already working to track cobalt, a mineral used in smartphones and electric vehicles, and is due to track other raw materials such as wood, palm oil and cotton.
Is blockchain for my business?
Blockchain is an exciting technology but it’s not for every business, it can be expensive to run and it requires operational changes that could include modifying your supplier’s processes. This can be challenging unless your suppliers are fully on board, so before implementing blockchain, every businesses should review first whether they have an actual problem to solve and if it is worth disrupting their current operations. This new technology is however, one with lots of potential to improve quality and accuracy across different industries and with Oracle’s vision of providing a tool of trust, is definitely one to keep an eye on in the years to come.