This week I have the pleasure of representing ubloquity at the W3B World Conference and Gala Awards in Toronto.
We qualified as a finalist for the Enterprise Transformation Award in the Enterprise Ecosystems subcategory alongside Verizon and Teck Resources.
It’s an amazing achievement to be in such prestigious company so I thought I’d share the reason why we made the cut.
At ubloquity we believe the future of all global trade will be digital, and it will be carried on distributed ledger technology (DLT).
That’s why we are building federated blockchains to carry the truth between multiple actors in a supply chain – be that governments, logistics providers, food producers, wholesalers or retailers of goods.
One of the things we specialise in is reducing food fraud, enhancing food safety, tackling food waste and removing inefficiencies within supply chains.
We do this by utilising blockchain technology, digital asset identification and multifactor verification.
Sounds good in theory doesn’t it? But what’s it like in practice?
A year or so ago we were tasked with developing a blockchain platform for a major multinational food manufacturer. They wanted us to help prove the provenance of one of its high profile products back to the point of production.
Our mission was to design, build and test an end-to-end digital chain of custody.
By utilising distributed ledger technology (DLT) we set out to seamlessly connect the dots in the supply chain, to give the compliance team an accurate, high-definition view, in real-time.
Then bring the data to life via an online portal with user-friendly dashboards.
Although the organization already had the fractured ability to establish a basic trace, relevant data was held in three separate and distinct systems. Retrieving it was time-consuming and inefficient.
In cases where a safety risk was identified further upstream, it was difficult to locate and isolate a specific impacted batch of product.
Typically each entity in a food supply chain only sees the data relevant to them, but it is not shared horizontally or from end to end. There’s limited visibility of what happens beyond one level up or down the chain.
The data also isn’t immutable. Records can potentially be overwritten, altered, or even tampered with.
Therefore the goal of the project was to test whether blockchain technology could enable the truth to be carried from one end of a supply chain to the other, while being able to access that information at the touch of a button.
We set out to build a single version of the truth, an end-to-end secure chain of custody – unifying the operational silos, while creating an immutable record, hashed and timestamped.
We created APIs to extract specific and precise data from each silo such as verifiable and authentic data.
The data could then be written to the blockchain and interlinked throughout the three separate systems, allowing near real-time traceability from the start to the end of the supply chain.
Actor and asset validation and authentication was applied to ensure the integrity and security of the data that was ingested. It was stored in immutable blocks that once written to the chain couldn’t be altered or changed.
Any anomalies or broken links due to altered or missing data were instantly visible by all blockchain participants.
The data was made visible to every participant in the connected supply chain.
As new information was written to the chain, everyone was updated at once – and displayed on an operational dashboard.
So did it work and what were the benefits?
The proof of concept pilot highlighted three key benefits: more efficiency in a supply chain – eradicating manual input by switching to scan and auto input of relevant information such as lab results, which is more accurate and efficient; proof of provenance and authenticity – providing the opportunity to charge a premium price for quality products and protect a manufacturer’s reputation; and risk reduction – the immediate ability to recall a batch from supply, with the potential to save millions of dollars for each incident or issue.
Our PoC demonstrated this can be done in a matter of milliseconds, and proven with an immutable chain of custody held on a blockchain.
By creating a digital twin of each batch, we also highlighted ‘dark’ moments within the supply chain and recommended new checkpoints or processes such as the utilization of IoT devices and sensors.
With the blockchain foundations in place, multiple more applications can now be built on top of it, pointing the way toward total transparency.
Injecting new data points onto the chain via IoT and sensors to give you more actionable insights such as: humidity sensors, water usage, pesticide usage, wastage, carbon footprint, yield-quality, provenance and authenticity through Isotope Reference fingerprinting, logistical tracking when nano tags are used to identify where the products are in physical space.
We are now looking to go even deeper as we explore the use of science + blockchain.
Whether we win or not, we’re delighted to be shortlisted and I’m personally chuffed to bits to represent the company in person.