This is the second of a two part interview with Prasen Palvankar, the Senior Director of Product Management for IoT Applications Cloud & Blockchain Applications Cloud, to continue our discussion around blockchain in the consumer markets industries.
Q. In the first part of our interview, we spoke about blockchain in general and the benefits in connecting blockchain to IoT. In this discussion, you used the cold chain as an area where connecting blockchain to IoT makes total sense. Establishing trust between trading partners in such an extended supply chain is critical, and blockchain certainly can play a crucial role in enabling that. When thinking about the application of blockchain in the retail and consumer goods industries, which use cases come to mind for you?
Permissioned blockchains have several use cases in the consumer markets industries. Supply Chain Management is definitely an obvious one. Blockchain can help in providing visibility across the supply chain. It can help with increasing efficiencies by automating transaction exchange in a distributed, secure manner as opposed to typical B2B transaction exchange today that are centrally orchestrated through exchanges, hubs, and value-added networks. Visibility is one thing but having full trust in the data you get from third-parties is critical, and blockchain enables that trust.
People management is another area where blockchain can have a real impact. Today there is an automated way to vet a candidate for a job. Every certification, degree that the candidate claims have to be verified with each institution that supposedly issued them. Similarly, the experience claimed on a resume requires manual verification with each company. If the individual candidates, educational institutions, hiring organizations, recruiting agencies and so on were to be part of a blockchain network then all these verifications are easily automated. For example, if a candidate claims to have received professional certification from an institution, that update to her resume would have to be endorsed by the appropriate institution. This also gives the owner of the information full control their respective data
Q. That’s great! Can we switch gears just a little bit and talk about the different deployment models which are being discussed, as well as where you see all of this going?
It is a little early to say how the enterprise blockchain landscape will look like. Many large consortia have been announced, some have even been established and are in operation. The big challenge with any consortium is getting the all the key players in that particular market to participate, and in most cases, these parties may have competing and conflicting interests. Prior experience with large B2B exchanges hasn’t been all that stellar.
Domain-specific, open networks for healthcare, insurance, food safety, etc. are likely to become prevalent as the technology matures and standardization takes place.
At the enterprise level, companies are looking to form their own networks to collaborate across the supply chain. These independent networks eventually may have to interconnect with other supply chain networks.
Q. Makes a lot of sense. All tremendously exciting developments. Oracle, of course, is not sitting on the sidelines with all this. In fact, Oracle has a blockchain platform offering, and your team is taking this to the next level. Can you talk a little more about this?
Oracle’s strategy has been to use the latest, greatest technology to solve business problems in the most efficient and in new and innovative ways. Take IoT, instead of just developing an enterprise-grade, IoT platform, Oracle has built purpose-specific software-as-a-service applications that use the IoT platform, apply machine learning, AI and provide an end-user application that requires little to no technical expertise.
These applications help customers quickly leverage these new emerging technologies and start deriving business benefits such as reduction in maintenance costs, increased overall equipment efficiency, better utilization of assets, and better management of their production lines.
Similarly, Oracle is leveraging blockchain and the IoT platform to provide purpose-specific applications that customers can use to setup up their own business networks for their supply chain to enable visibility and tracing across the supply chain, enhance tracking and tracing of goods and products in a trusted and secure manner, and help with regulatory compliance.
I like the approach a lot. Like you said – how can we leverage new technologies to enable existing business processes, and to enhance these processes? Be it by allowing the process to function differently, or by making it smarter, faster and more self-executing. No one technology in itself will solve today’s seismic shifts enterprises are experiencing. But purposefully orchestrating them, with business outcomes at the forefront, will allow organizations to not only succeed but also create sustainable, competitive advantages. Thank you very much for this talk, Prasen. Most informative!
To learn more about blockchain technology for supply chain, retail and consumer markets, visit Oracle on the web. To learn more about the recently released Oracle Intelligent Track and Trace app, watch a video demonstration online.
Mario Vollbracht is Oracle's Global Director of Consumer Markets, and an industry veteran with 25 years in the retail and consumer goods space.