By Sherree DeCovny, Co-Founder and Research Principal
One of the big promises of blockchain is to store and share data gathered from IoT devices. Putting sensors on equipment enhances track and trace capabilities, and enables actors along the supply chain to monitor conditions while goods are in transit, thus lowering risk. Storing the data on a blockchain not only provides a single view of the truth, but also prevents data from being falsified.
This is of great interest to those involved in cold chains. A cold chain or cool chain is a temperature-controlled supply chain. An unbroken cold chain is an uninterrupted series of refrigerated production, storage and distribution activities along with associated equipment and logistics, which maintain a desired low-temperature range.
Consider the pharmaceutical cold chain as an example. Many vaccines can lose potency if exposed too long to temperatures outside the recommended range of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius. In a literature review of 45 studies that assess temperature monitoring of vaccines in various regions of the world, UNICEF found that 33.3% of storage units in wealthier countries and 37.1% in lower-income countries contained vaccines that had been exposed to temperatures below recommended ranges. The proportion of vaccine shipments found below recommended temperatures was 38% in wealthier countries compared to 19.3% in lower-income countries. That means a huge amount of product is wasted, and large patient populations aren’t getting inoculated, which may result in a health hazard.
By Ken Cottrill, Co-Founder and Research Principal
Few images can be as incongruent as that of refugees in the Azraq camp, Jordan, staring into an iris scanner to confirm their identities before purchasing food in the camp supermarket.
This is how 10,000 refugees in the camp can get food relief, courtesy of a payment system developed by the United Nations World Food Programme’s (WFP) Innovation Accelerator in Munich, Germany. The biometric identity check system affords the camp’s refugees access to a food stipend from the WFP.
Unbeknown to the shoppers, sitting behind the scanner is a blockchain-based management system that delivers aid supplies faster, cheaper and, crucially, more secure in a supply chain rife with corruption, according to the WFP.
Welcome to the brave new world of food aid programs.
Blockchain-inspired innovation could not have come too soon to this world. An estimated 30% of all the development funds that support international relief programs fail to reach the intended recipients owing to third-party theft or mismanagement. A host of fees and costs syphon off funds flowing to the needy.
By Pete Harris, Co-Founder and Research Principal
Welcome to the first Chain Business Insights vendor update of 2018. A lot is happening in the blockchain meets supply chain world, and we’ll highlight some key developments below. Usually, this update is a pay-per-view post (or free for our clients of course), but since we’re still in beta mode and would like early feedback, we’re making it free to all one final time. We’re keen to receive comments, and if you’re working on something that you feel merits inclusion, please contact us.
In this roundup, we have news regarding IBM and Maersk, Viant, Provenance, Chronicled, OriginTrail and Streamr.
IBM and Maersk
IBM and Maersk announced that they’re forming a joint venture company to develop and commercially operate a set of blockchain applications to “accelerate the digitalization” of global trade processes. The IT and shipping giants first began collaborating in June 2016.
The as-yet-unnamed JV expects to launch products within six months of receiving required regulatory approvals, and these will initially focus on:
- providing end-to-end supply chain visibility, allowing all players to exchange shipment event information in real time; and
- digitizing paper trade documents and automating processes using smart contracts, to reduce the time and cost for cargo clearance.