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Blockchain for Industry 4.0

What role do Blockchain Technologies play in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and how can they get you closer to your business objectives? In this post, we take a look at the uses of blockchain for Industry 4.0.  Industry 4.0 is a combination of the latest technologies applied to manufacturing that helps the producers reach the desired outcomes quicker. Blockchain is one of those technologies that thanks to its unique characteristics permits building a smart, flexible and variable cyber-physical network.The total value of Blockchain for Industry 4.0 is yet to be defined. However, there are already some areas where the benefits of blockchain have interesting prospects.The initial focus of Blockchain technology was on application in the finance sector. So there’s no surprise that it’s relatively well-established for managing financial transactions where trust can be derived from the use of blockchains. Thanks to blockchain we could eliminate issues related to foreign currencies and fiat currency and a monitored continuum in supply transaction could be achieved. At the moment, the finance and payment industry remain the main users of blockchain at the enterprise level, but many other industrial sectors are also picking up the speed of implementation.Other area where blockchain may add value in Industry 4.0 could be related to the product itself and its assembly or component identifying information. This could be a guarantee of quality with a higher level of specificity. For example, for recalls where ability to specifically identify products exhibiting the defect could come in really handy. Here, blockchain could safeguard all the information about a product: its sub-assemblies, components, its distribution path to market, etc. Having insights into the set of data at every step in the supply chain can reduce the cost and disruption related to recalls.The possibility to track product information for industries that require the maximum traceability, like, for example, healthcare or military products, is very convenient. Blockchains can be constructed with the new information collected by cameras and sensors. This gives us access to more information than could possibly be collected by a human in a short amount of time. Another potential application is in using the inherent encryption of a blockchain. This could potentially protect some of the data sent over a public network from unauthorized viewing or manipulation. Although potential protections may be provided, these may not eliminate the possibility of your data transmitted over a public network being subpoenaed, and therefore exposed in that way.In the Intellectual Property space, blockchain can be used in many ways: Evidence of the rights, register and clear rights, keep record, control and track the distribution rights, establish IP contracts and also to manage the financial transactions to buy the rights. This could be especially useful to SMEs to protect their ideas as blockchain could bring greater simplicity, transparency, less intermediaries to the patent ecosystem. That would foster innovation among entities that otherwise have it harder to access the patent world.P2P grid networks are the focus of around 60% of blockchain-based projects in the power sector currently. Compared to a blockchain-based smart grid, the traditional grid network lacks security and transparency regarding the energy transactions due to the presence of the third-party entities. This would allow individuals who can produce renewable energy at home to sell their excess energy to others based on a mutually agreed-upon contract without the involvement of a third party central authority.Industry 4.0 is a number of emerging and evolving technologies with endless possibilities, and blockchain is one of them. Both large and small companies can benefit from deploying blockchain to their systems. The competitive landscape is constantly shifting when one of your competitors adopts a 4.0 enhancement. In order to not get left behind, it’s time to embrace the new capabilities brought along by the digital technologies.

Zigurat Global Institute of Technology