The latest Innovators’ Club event at the Innovation Center in Darmstadt focused on one of the most talked about digital technologies of the last few years – blockchain. Keynote speaker Andreas Schindler and a panel of renowned experts explored the potential of this exciting technology and the challenges facing those who want to leverage it.
Until now, most of the hype around blockchain technology has focused on Cryptocurrencies. However, blockchain has applications that go far beyond finance. So, the question arises: What can blockchain really do for us? This was the focus of the most recent Innovators’ Club at our Innovation Center.
In his keynote, Andreas Schindler, Business Intelligence & Innovation Scouting at IT Healthcare, provided a quick start guide to the fundamentals of blockchain, explaining how the technology creates blocks of data that are strung together in a chain and given a unique signature or digital fingerprint that cannot be changed. As such, blockchain acts as a fundamental source of trust in relation to data, with the potential to power a wider range of new business models. Concluding, he raised some questions to inspire the audience: “What does it mean for us as a company, if trust is established at a digital level? We used to talk about the information age in the past, now we are entering the age of digital trust. Which processes will change? Which new business models can be created? Where and how can we grow thanks to digital trust?”
The keynote fed into the next part of the session, a discussion among an expert panel with Thomas Endress from New Business Builder, Simone Giehl from Business Lead Blockchain at Zühlke Group, Ain Aaviksoo from Guardtime, Andreas Schindler and moderator Natali Melgarejo, Head of Digital Infrastructure Anticounterfeiting Ecosystem.
These are our Top 5 learnings of the panel discussion:
- Blockchain reassigns trust from individuals to technology, simultaneously simplifying the process of trust and increasing the traceability of processes, making them easier to audit.
- Blockchain works best when it is integrated with other technologies to establish clear proof of data ownership, integrity and existence.
- Blockchain can be helpful in improving data traceability and reliability within the increasing volume of machine-to-machine communications.
- Blockchain has big potential to help drying out the counterfeit markets (esp. medications) currently estimated to be around 30% of total revenue.
- The successful use of blockchain will require a paradigm shift in the way people think and feel about data security, and a greater level of understanding about the implications of blockchain for the future across politics, academia and the economy.
In conclusion, blockchain is the enabling technology to ensure full transparency of a business supply chain. Sharing data about a common business between different stakeholders becomes an important advantage to gain a comprehensive understanding of that business. As Ain from Guardtime outlined: “Transparency and visibility of the supply chain is key in most business heterogenous environments. It is about to receive an understanding of the whole levels and learn to combine it with other technologies.”
As always, the event ended with a networking session over drinks and food, during which the discussion continued with the usual high level of animation and engagement. We had the chance to talk backstage to Thomas, Natali and Ain about the event. See what they say about using blockchain technology!