U.S telecommunications giant AT&T has become the latest company to join a growing list of Fortune 100 firms that are evaluating or implementing blockchain technology.
The telecommunications conglomerate unveiled a suite of blockchain solutions for its enterprise customers last week aiming to improve accountability and transparency in supply chain. The solutions, which will work with IBM Blockchain for data recording and Microsoft Azure blockchain for testing blockchain-based applications, use Internet of Things (IoT) functionalities to provide automation and critical monitoring. The goal, AT&T says, is to help customers reduce costs and simplify business processes by creating a shared ecosystem that parties across multiple industries can use to exchange information easily and securely.
In a recent blog post, Said Andy Daudelin at AT&T said:
“Blockchain improves security and enables better management of transactions through complex processes. Utilizing our global network and IoT capabilities, AT&T enhances blockchain by providing edge-to-edge solutions that automate the tracking and that can even monitor the environmental conditions throughout the process.”
Manufacturing, Retail, and Healthcare
AT&T blockchain solutions are initially targeted to customers in manufacturing, retail, and healthcare with its supply chain applications. For manufacturers, AT&T blockchain applications can allow customers to better track information and manage goods throughout the whole process from their creation to their delivery while keeping the database up to date and secure. For retailers, the solutions can guarantee product legitimacy by tracking its movement from request to delivery, thus helping to reduce waste and excess stock. Lastly, the solutions can be adopted in the healthcare sector by providing a secure ecosystem for parties to share health records and indexes.
Tapping into IBM Blockchain and Microsoft Azure
Currently, AT&T connects more than 44 million devices and sensors on its network, with about half of them in the automotive industry. The company is merging its massive connectivity capabilities and industry-specific IoT solutions with distributed ledger technology in an effort to help its corporate clients digitize business process, reduce costs, and assure data authenticity. It will also be integrating AT&T Asset Management Operations Center with IBM Maximo Network on Blockchain and Maximo Asset Health Insights to create a secure and accountable service provider network for infrastructure asset management.
Additionally, the company noted that it will integrate its IoT platforms with Microsoft Azure blockchain technology which supports common enterprise ledger protocols such as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, Corda, and Quorum in order to bring more transparency and accountability in the complex supply chain industry.