Earlier this year in March, IBM announced that they would be creating the world’s smallest computer that will be used with blockchain technology to monitor fraud on global supply chains. The device chip has the same power as that of a 1990 x86 chip. While it has modest computing power compared to today’s performance standards, the computer is so small that you need a microscope to see it. IBM’s move marks an attempt to situate the brand at the forefront of digital disruption by creating technological components that will be used to drive the blockchain revolution of the next decade.
At this stage a release date hasn’t been decided, but IBM suggests there are many more ideas ready for this technology in the pipeline. The firm has stated that they expect ‘cryptographic anchors’ to be ‘embedded in everyday objects and devices’ within the next five years. This will have massive implications for blockchain.
Each microchip has been designed with the supply chain in mind. An individual will have the capacity to monitor and sort data whilst identifying suspicious activity and unauthorized transactions. This will eliminate the need for workers to manually monitor and carry out transactions.
In addition to its microcomputer for blockchain initiative, IBM has also been collaborating with logistics leader, Maersk, to develop a blockchain solution using its own blockchain platform, Hyperledger Fabric, to help reshape the supply chain industry.
Most current shipping technology and processes are hopelessly outdated compared to the demands of the industry. The use of blockchain technology and IBM’s new microchip will serve to increase automation and will have a marked effect on productivity. Data transactions will occur automatically rather than having to be monitored manually.
It is not only inefficient processes that will be redefined, but also the ones with cybersecurity vulnerabilities. Under the current model of shipping standards, fraud is rampant throughout the industry. There are so many entities that have access to one shipped package that it can be very difficult to verify the integrity of goods passed through the multiple nodes of the supply chain.
Leveraging blockchain will provide suppliers and shippers with more transparency over the supply chain. This will help to prevent fraudulent activity and to minimize the risk of theft. Embracing digital disruption through blockchain is the industry’s biggest chance to address this issue.
Over the next ten years we can expect to see the supply chain undergo a massive digital transformation due to blockchain technology. It will take some time before there is unanimous adoption of blockchain throughout the supply chain industry, but there is certainly a growing trend of companies considering it.
An increasing number of companies like IBM are recognizing that inefficient technical processes are in dire need of digital disruption. More companies than ever before are starting to embrace blockchain as a viable path to cut costs and improve operational efficiency.