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Hyperledger-powered supply chain solutions in action

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

As 2020 has shown, supply chains are both vital and vulnerable, underscoring the need for trust and transparency. To meet that need, blockchain is playing an increasingly prominent role in many supply chains, and Hyperledger technologies underpin most of the biggest and best known networks, including FoodTrust and TradeLens. 

But there are many other examples of Hyperledger technologies in action in the supply chain space. Read on for details about a range of #HyperledgerSupplyChain solutions that are powering supply chains and the businesses that rely on them:

Accenture’s True Supplier Marketplace

Inaccurate supplier master data and incomplete risk assessments cost businesses an average of 15 million dollars per year. What if onboarding a vendor and managing their data could be done more effectively to ensure compliance? Imagine a solution where onboarding times drop from weeks to hours, while adherence to risk assessments improves.

With this supply chain transformation in mind, Accenture used Hyperledger Fabric to develop a double-sided procurement marketplace to source, onboard and maintain supplier relationships. By giving suppliers ownership of their own data, the solution creates a shared source of truth between parties that improves risk compliance, speeds time to onboard, and removes the manual effort required to maintain siloed systems. Accenture’s True Supplier Marketplace is live and available now. 

DL Freight™

Developed by DLT Labs, DL Freight is the national standard for freight invoice management for Walmart Canada and its national network of third party transportation companies or carriers. The system tracks deliveries, verifies transactions, and automates invoices in real time across the network of up 70 different carriers in Walmart’s supply chain.

DL Freight is built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source platform that allows Walmart to bring together the carriers within its multi-partner freight operations under one architecture to automate and implement universal workflows across the network. At the same time, through Hyperledger Fabric’s unique “channels” feature, the solution allows independent and protected relationships for each organization directly between itself and Walmart, and the information is not accessible to other members.

Within DL Freight, carriers are the peers, and the governance of the platform is controlled by the applicable contracts, as in any conventional business. The difference is that the freight, legal, and finance departments of Walmart, as well as all the carriers, have all agreed that the solution fairly and accurately represents those agreements so it processes them automatically. As a result, it has removed the guesswork and any real potential for dispute over the interpretation of agreements.

Telefónica’s e2e Supply Chains

Today’s supply chains are increasingly global and complex with hundreds of companies involved in the manufacturing and distribution of products and with logistics that expand across borders. In this context, collaboration has become key to streamline operations. To manage the complexity, Telefónica launched a project to transform the way it collaborates with third parties by blockchain-enabling its e2e Supply Chain solution to make it faster, simpler and more efficient.

Trust is at the heart of that collaboration, and, to build that trust, Telefónica selected Hyperledger Fabric as the underlying technology that serves as a secure and transparent single source of truth for all.

Telefónica started using the blockchain-based supply chain solution to support one of its core products – CPE (Customer Premise Equipment) – the routers, decos, and other devices that provide connectivity and services at home to their customers. The company manufactures over 15 million serialized devices a year that are then distributed and installed by a field force of over 30,000 technicians.

Telefónica put this blockchain platform for operations into production in 2019 in Brazil, where the program delivered ROI in under six months.Telefónica is planning to extend the use of its blockchain-enabled e2e solution to the rest of its Fixed Operations and other products in the coming months.

Trust Your Supplier

Just named as the 2020 Winner of Blockchain Revolution’s Innovative Entrepreneurship in Blockchain Award in the Supply Chain Applications category, Trust Your Supplier is an innovative solution developed in a partnership between IBM and Chainyard to address the inefficiencies and risks associated with supplier information management. 

During this time of a global pandemic, many buyers are procuring goods and services in the context of a supply constrained situation. This has resulted in substantial challenges in vetting and onboarding new suppliers.

Built on Hyperledger Fabric, Trust Your Supplier provides both a cross-industry network and a blockchain secured platform to speed onboarding and minimize risk. 

Blockchain provides cryptographic security that allows suppliers to control access to their single digital identity. Buyers are able to view profiles of their connected suppliers, as well as a timeline of all the various activities that have taken place with this supplier. Writing this information onto the blockchain allows for an immutable record of all the events that have taken place with this supplier and are fantastic for supporting auditing capabilities.

Trust Your Supplier is bringing speed, accuracy and most importantly trust, to supplier information management and the supply chain needs of today’s world.

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Join the conversation about solutions and applications in the supply chain market with #HyperledgerSupplyChain this month on social channels. Or get involved with the Supply Chain  Special Interest Group.

Cover image by Free-Photos from Pixabay.

Introducing the expanded 2020-2021 Hyperledger Technical Steering Committee

By Blog

This month, the Hyperledger technical community voted in the annual election for new Technical Steering Committee (TSC) members. Since the inception of Hyperledger, the number of projects, labs, members, and working groups within Hyperledger increased. The 2018-2019 TSC started the discussion of increasing the size of the TSC in order to bring representation for the full breadth of the community to the TSC. 

As a result, the 2020-2021 TSC expanded from 11 to 15 members. With this increase, seven new voices* were added to the TSC. The TSC is led by a chair and, new as of this year, a vice chair. These leaders, elected by the newly installed TSC, are Arnaud Le Hors, Senior Technical Staff Member, Blockchain & Web Open Technologies, IBM (chair), and Tracy Kuhrt, Senior Technology Architect, Accenture’s Blockchain and Multiparty Systems Group (vice chair).

As the new TSC year kicks off, we asked Arnaud and Tracy to weigh in on what’s to come as well as their views on the expanded committee and what drove them to take on their leader roles. Here’s what we learned:

Q) What are some of the challenges the TSC faces in the next year? Opportunities?

Arnaud: Over the first five years of Hyperledger we’ve made good progress in getting our house in order with well defined processes, consolidated governance documents, and a systematic way of managing issues and recording decisions. Yet, people, especially those new to Hyperledger, consistently report challenges in understanding what’s going on, what the different projects are about, how they relate to one another and where they are going. I think our biggest challenge remains finding a way to develop a better understanding of what’s going on by fostering greater exchange of pertinent information across projects so that opportunities for collaboration aren’t missed. As projects mature and development becomes less frantic, I think there is an opportunity for this to happen, which is key to building one global community.

Tracy: Arnaud discussed the challenges that we have related to understanding the different projects within the Hyperledger community. I see similar challenges with complementary projects that exist within the Linux Foundation (e.g., Open Governance Network Model, ToIP, Confidential Compute Consortium, AccordHQ). The same opportunity exists for us to exchange information and collaborate with these other communities so that we can ensure what we are building is useful in the greater ecosystem.

Q) Are there emerging technologies or challenges you see as opportunities for new projects?

Tracy: As a Lab Steward, I am among the first to see some of the interesting things that the community is thinking about and developing. We have seen a couple of our top-level projects (Ursa and Cactus) that came out of Hyperledger Labs, and I expect that we will see more in the future.

There are a number of labs specifically looking at different ways of adding privacy and confidentiality across the different blockchain platforms and at different layers in the stack. The amount of interest in this space is an indicator that we may see a project being brought forward on how enterprises can share data while maintaining privacy and confidentiality.

Q) Why did you want to take on a leadership role with the TSC?

Tracy: Prior to joining Accenture, I spent not quite two years as a Hyperledger Community Architect evangelizing the organization and all of its projects at both meetups and conferences around the world, supporting the community, and improving the collaboration tools. This experience allowed me to build relationships with many in the community and gain a deep understanding of the challenges that the technical community faces on a daily basis. When I joined Accenture, I wanted to continue to be involved with the Hyperledger community. I have been able to do that through my role as a Lab Steward, a member of the Hyperledger Speakers Bureau, a co-chair for the 2020 Hyperledger Global Forum program committee, and a member of the TSC.  As a member and vice chair of the TSC, I bring diversity and additional perspectives to the conversations, which in turn will make the community stronger.

Q) Why was it important to expand to TSC this year?

Arnaud: The number of Hyperledger projects has grown a lot since we started five years ago. Increasing the number of seats on the TSC gave us a chance to get a broader representation of the many different groups we now have. Looking at the seven new members that were elected to the TSC it is clear to me that we have indeed achieved that goal. The improved gender diversity with a greater number of female members we gained only makes that better.

Here is the full list of TSC members:

*New to the TSC for 2020-2021.

Find out more about their background here

The TSC meets weekly and the calls are open to all. See the schedule, agenda and more here.

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

Open Source Summit Europe

The opening day of Open Source Summit Europe (October 26-29) features two sessions focused on blockchain and Hyperledger technologies in action: 

More details about Open Source Summit Europe (#ossummit) are here.

Blockchain Revolution Global

Blockchain Revolution Global (#BRG2020) aims to bring together leading thinkers, builders, and pioneers to accelerate the blockchain revolution. During the week-long event (October 26-30), Hyperledger executives will help shape the discussion on two panels:

  • On Thursday, October 29, at 10:10 a.m. EDT, Daniela Barbosa will speak in a session on Consortia & Industry Working Groups.
  • On Friday, October 30, at 9:30 am EDT, Brian Behlendorf will be part of the “Luminaries” panel. 

For more details about Blockchain Revolution Global, go here.

Webinar: What is Trust Your Supplier?

Tune in on Thursday, October 29, at 10:00 AM EDT to learn more about how Trust Your Supplier solves supplier information management challenges in onboarding and lifecycle management. #HyperledgerSuppyChain

Register here.

CoinDesk Webinar – Governance, standards and interoperability: Getting past the roadblocks to peer-to-peer financial transactions – now available on demand

If you missed this webinar with experts on three different Hyperledger DLT platforms talking about roadblocks to peer-to-peer financial transactions and comparing notes about current and future token-based solutions from around the world (there were some technical difficulties), you can watch it on demand here.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here

Lessons learned from COVID: The role blockchain can play when supply chain disruptions hit

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

On April 27, 2020, IBM and Chainyard launched Rapid Supplier Connect (RSC), a blockchain-based network designed to help government agencies, hospitals and healthcare buyers to identify PPE suppliers in the United States. The participants included non-traditional suppliers who had pivoted to address the shortage of equipment, devices and PPE supplies needed for COVID-19 relief efforts with a greater efficiency.

The blockchain network, which was launched, free of fees, to help frontline healthcare organizations confidently identify and procure PPE, had unprecedented adoption. More than 500 buyers and suppliers joined in no time to quickly find each other, accelerated verification and onboarding processes, and gained near real-time insights into inventories of life-saving equipment.

Six weeks from ideation to market

During mid-March 2020, when the pandemic hit the United States with unanticipated impact and scale, hospitals found themselves struggling to procure quality and essential PPE equipment needed in the frontline battle. Availability was uncertain, quality was questionable, and trust in suppliers was eroding.  

IBM and Chainyard jumped in to help responders to battle the pandemic by launching RSC, leveraging Trust Your Supplier and IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite, within six weeks.

Trust Your Supplier, owned and operated by Chainyard, is a production blockchain network with trusted source of verified supplier information and digital identity that reduces risk while simplifying and accelerating supplier onboarding and supplier management. IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite provides inventory visibility and deep insights into supply chain activities. 

What are the reasons RSC had such quick adoption and successfully met its objectives? When looking back we identified the following five themes for how blockchain helped when the supply chain disruption hit:

1. Trust was paramount, and that trust will survive the pandemic

When the pandemic hit the supply chain, leading to shortages, price increases and quality distortions that cascaded from factories to ports to suppliers to consumers, the buyers needed a system that could be trusted.  Blockchain is known to create trust in the system without any one individual or company in the system ensuring the trust. The trust is achieved through trust in the ecosystem, which included trust on third party verifiers, immutable data, immutable logic and audit trail of supplier information. Trust Your Supplier, the foundation for creating the trust, and previously proven with thousands of suppliers, was the right choice to be quickly leveraged to build trust between buyers and suppliers during the pandemic.

2. Blockchain provides the skeleton for trust; however, it is the ecosystem that brings it to life.

Blockchain provides the skeleton for creating the trust. However, it comes to life and offers greater value when more trusted industry players participate and contribute as validators, verifiers and solution providers working on top of the network. Each blockchain requires the creation of new industry ecosystems in which participants must work together. RSC achieved this through multiple verification agencies helping to generate trust in the ecosystem, including:

  • Dun & Bradstreet contributed its identity resolution, firmographic data, and supplier risk and viability scores to TYS network.
  • CDAX served as a third-party paymaster, securing funds on behalf of buyers in a custody and settlement account and holding goods ordered contractually from the supplier under a consignment arrangement until the buyer verifies acceptance of the order and releases funds to the seller. 
  • Project N95 served as a clearinghouse for information on COVID-related suppliers.
  • RapidRatings provided financial health data on suppliers.
  • KYC SiteScan provided “Know Your Business” due diligence report access. 
  • Thomson Reuters provided access to its CLEAR customer due diligence tool to provide buyers with access to real-time and comprehensive data to vet suppliers and identify potential fraud risks.

3. Inventory visibility and transparency accelerates on time delivery and adaptation.

When the pandemic caused a shortage of supplies, the buyers’ biggest need from suppliers were inventory visibility and transparency into delivery timetables.  The solution was expected to provide real time visibility and transparency across the key supply chain pillars of procurement, manufacturing, transportation, and distribution. In the case of a pandemic, critical supply delivery lead time misinformation could lead to significant loss including lives.

RSC integrated IBM Sterling Supply Chain Suite to provide inventory visibility and deep insights into supply chain activities. Increased real-time visibility helped buyers to pace the PPE orders. The network also helped to identify existing supplies and excess inventory going unused, allowing hospitals to make it available to others and redirect supplies where they were needed most.

4. Simple solutions to solve pain points need to be swift to the market.

Blockchain solutions for supply chain can be very complex, supporting myriad use cases with a large consortium providing the single source of truth. One cannot build these solutions overnight when a pandemic hits. In order to be swift in the market, reuse solutions that are proven and available in the market being used by suppliers over the years.  The level of integrations can be daunting and can take years. RSC adopted agility against the features, made integrations simple and was quick to market to address the critical needs.

5. Trusted Digital Identities bridge the trust gap between reality and the digital world.

Blockchain-based digital identity played a major role in creating trust . Digital Identity is about linking real world identities and the digital world. Each physical object’s digital replica (known as a digital twin) is created in a way that prevents or reveals any human interference that alters information. For a digital business transaction on supply chain, it is substantially important to prove the authenticity of one’s own identity and to verify that of the transaction partner. RSC leveraged TYS’s Digital Identity services to issue verifiable credentials associated with a company identity, digitally signed, and thus verified by a trusted party.

Additional aspects of blockchain that also contributed to supply chain resiliency during the pandemic include data privacy, confidentiality of shared data, innovative business models that glue together stakeholders in the ecosystem, and third-party solution integrations that work on top of these ecosystems. With many blockchain supply chain solutions on the rise, and interoperability actively being addressed, our society will have quicker resilience when we encounter the next pandemic.


For more on this topic, tune into a discussion on “Leveraging blockchain to drive supply chain resilience and accountability in the face of climate change and other disruptions” at Open Source Summit Europe at 13:00 GMT, Monday, October 26. The panel will include Chainyard’s Gigo Joseph along with Douglas Johnson-Poensgen of Circulor and Marta Geater-Piekarska of Hyperledger.

More details are here.

Join the conversation about solutions and applications in the supply chain market with #HyperledgerSupplyChain this month on social channels.

Cover image by MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann, CC-BY-2.0

DLT Labs Turns to Hyperledger Fabric to Resolve Freight Transportation Invoice and Payment Challenges for Walmart Canada

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric

As part of its commitment to provide the lowest everyday prices for its consumers, Walmart Canada has a sharp focus on supply chain logistics. One vital piece: the freight transportation that ensures Walmart is sufficiently stocked to service more than 1.2 million customers across 400 stores every day. 

Walmart partners with third party transportation companies, referred to as carriers, that work around the clock, and through all seasons, to deliver goods. These carriers are a vital link in Walmart’s supply chain. However, there is a high level of complexity to managing the information flow and invoice payments with the carriers, which is a big deal as shipping is a capital-intensive business with a high degree of cost volatility (fuel prices, delays, unexpected events). 

It is not uncommon to have invoice disputes in the range of 70% or more for every load a carrier delivers (one invoice per load). Despite various service providers trying to solve this puzzle using the full spectrum of existing technologies, disputes continue to plague the industry with high administrative costs and lengthy payment delays, and invoice reconciliation often simply means one side or the other capitulated.

For Walmart, the complexity is multiplied by working with up to 70 different carriers in its supply chain, each of which has its own respective process for calculating shipping costs based on individual contracts that outline varying rates for fuel, line haul and other charges.

Walmart Canada enlisted the help of DLT Labs™, a global leader in the development and deployment of an innovative enterprise-level platform using distributed ledger technology, to develop a solution that would solve the perennial dispute problem once and for all.

In early 2019, DLT Labs rolled out the world’s largest full production blockchain solution for any industrial application: DL Freight™. Remarkably, because the platform is fully configurable, DL Freight was configured for the demanding needs of Walmart in just 60 days. The new system tracks deliveries, verifies transactions, and automates invoices in real time. Reconciliation between Walmart and its fleet of carriers is no longer even necessary because they are all working off the same information and calculations by way of smart contracts.

DL Freight is built on Hyperledger Fabric, an open source platform that allows Walmart to bring together all the carriers within its multi-partner freight operations under one architecture to automate and implement universal workflows across the network. At the same time, through Hyperledger Fabric’s unique “channels” feature, the solution allows independent and protected relationships for each organization directly between itself and Walmart, and the information is not accessible to other members.

Within DL Freight, carriers are the peers, and the governance of the platform is controlled by the applicable contracts, as in any conventional business. The difference is that the freight, legal, and finance departments of Walmart, as well as all the carriers, have all agreed that the solution fairly and accurately represents those agreements so it processes them automatically. As a result, it has removed the guesswork and any real potential for dispute over the interpretation of agreements. 

Hyperledger teamed up with DLT Labs and Walmart Canada on a case study about the creation and adoption of DL Freight, the national standard for freight invoice management for Walmart Canada and its national network of carriers. It delves into key design decisions and outcomes as well as security safeguards and the roadmap for DL Freight as an industry platform.

Read the full case study here.

Join the conversation about solutions and applications in the supply chain market with #HyperledgerSupplyChain this month on social channels.

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

CoinDesk Webinar: Governance, standards and interoperability – Getting past the roadblocks to peer-to-peer financial transactions   

Whether you are eyeing retail or wholesale CBDC opportunities or are looking at digital wallets, loyalty programs or other implementations of token-based transactions, you’ve no doubt realized that the technology infrastructure is just one part of the puzzle. It’s well documented that distributed ledger technologies can deliver on the mechanics of peer-to-peer transactions. The roadblocks are creating an ecosystem with a level of transparency and security that consumers, regulators and companies trust. The closer you move to central banks and fiat currencies, the higher the barriers to buy-in and deployment.

In this panel discussion, taking place Tuesday, October 20, at 11:00 am EDT, experts on three different Hyperledger DLT platforms will address these issues and compare notes about current and future token-based solutions from around the world. Get more details here.

Hyperledger Climate Action and Accounting Special Interest Group Guest Speaker: Jürg Füssler, Climate Ledger Initiative

Dial into the Climate Action and Accounting SIG meeting to learn more about how the Climate Ledger Initiative is addressing the pressing challenge of climate change with one of the world’s most promising technological innovations: blockchain and distributed ledger technology combined with other innovative information technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and the use of remote sensing.

For more information on the meeting, which is Tuesday, October 20, 2020, at 8 AM PDT, go here.

Webinar: Unsolicited Commercial Communication (UCC) 

Hear from Rajesh Dhudda of Tech Mahindra about a Plug-n-Play solution, built on Hyperledger Fabric, to tackle the large-scale UCC (Unsolicited Commercial Communication) or spam call problem in India. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) acknowledges UCC these calls are a major nuisance to telecom subscribers across the country and is a growing menace that needs to be tackled with immediate effect. Learn more details about the blockchain solution that has been successfully deployed across three major telcos in India, reaching >50% market, as well as the steps Tech Mahindra is taking towards bringing the solution to the U.S. market.

Tune on Wednesday, October 21, at 10:00 am EDT. For more information and to register, go here.

Blockchain Pulse Webcast: Blockchain State of the Union for Developers and Technical Leaders

Hyperleger’s Brian Behlendorf will be part of a discussion led by Mark Parzygnat of IBM on what developers should understand and know about blockchain. The conversation will focus on how blockchain, and specifically Hyperledger Fabric, is being used successfully in many industries. Additional speakers will include Steve O’Grady, founder of RedMonk, and Russell Schwartz, part of the Payments Product Management team at TIAA, who will share his experience creating a blockchain solution working with the IBM Blockchain platform. 

To get more information or register for the webcast, which is Wednesday, October 21, 2020, at 11:00 AM EDT, go here.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

Webinar: Optimizing supplier onboarding assessment processes through SSI

In this presentation, Luigi Riva, head of product for Swisscom Blockchain, will show a solution for supplier assessment and onboarding. This process can be optimized using Self-Sovereign Identity capabilities. In the course of supplier assessment processes, suppliers need to disclose their audits, policies and operative processes, so that their customers are capable to analyze and assess the supplier risk through a validation of the supplier compliance data. Through the standardization of supplier onboarding processes and using SSI, the Swisscom solution allows suppliers to transport data and their customers can easily validate and trust the authenticity of it.

Tune on Wednesday, October 14, at 10:00 am EDT. For more information and to register, go here.

Hyperledger Identity Working Group guest speaker: Lal Chandran from iGrant.io on MyData operators

This talk will be an explanation of MyData operators, which are actors that provide infrastructure for human-centric personal data management and governance. There were 16 organisations awarded the inaugural status of a MyData operator, including iGrant.io. The MyData Operator 2020 Award recognises operators of human-centric infrastructure for personal data management and sharing. 

The meeting is on Wednesday, October 14, at 12 noon EDT (16:00 UTC). Find more details here.

Hyperledger Developer Newsletter

Hyperledger now has a technical newsletter aimed at developers and engineers. To get the latest on Hyperledger project updates, features and milestones, sign up here.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here

How Hyperledger Fabric is impacting the Telco, Media and Entertainment industry

By Blog, Hyperledger Fabric, Telecom

The rise of blockchain

Blockchain is already a reality in the Telecommunication, Media and Entertainment (TME) industry. In fact, many companies, both established and start-ups, have implemented blockchain-based solutions to automize, digitize and re-invent some of their processes.

Like other industries, TME is characterized by the lack of visibility, transparency and auditability of some of its processes, making asset transactions less efficient, thus generating both extra costs and revenue leakage. In telecommunication, a good example of such a process is wholesale voice settlements. Carriers around the world exchange large amounts of money for interconnection costs, but there are no industry standards to ensure consistency and transparency. Each report is subject to dispute and reconciliation. In the media industry, we all know how difficult it is for artists and music labels to track the revenues that are due to them from streaming and video platforms.

Hyperledger helps in bringing efficiency to TME operations

The stakeholders in the TME industry are pioneers in the application of blockchain to solve some of the critical industry issues. In particular, they recognize that a platform designed for the enterprise like Hyperledger Fabric provides tangible value-adds such as  privacy, transparency, trust and security. Leveraging these key characteristics, telco and media companies have started building consortia and projects to validate the value of the technology. These consortia can be categorized into three categories: operations-focused, customer experience and full revenue generating ecosystems.

In the first category, companies collaborate to improve back end processes that take place between them, with the goal of eliminating redundant costs and activities. This helps improve productivity and efficiency in the value chain. In a nutshell, this is an efficiency play. Some processes touch all players in the industry. Examples include roaming settlements for telecommunications or digital advertising supply chains for the media industry. (Recently, Syniverse and IBM went live with the first blockchain-based roaming solution compliant with the new GSMA billing standard.) Alternatively, some processes may interest only a major player and its closest suppliers. 

Reinventing customer experience with Hyperledger 

The second category, customer experience-focused consortia, revolves around improving the engagement of the customer rather than the efficiency of the processes. The main financial goal is not cost cutting but revenue generation, either through new services or new business models.

In this context, the sky is the limit: use cases are several and very different. When the goal is to provide a better customer experience, Hyperledger technologies can be used to improve customer engagement and make client-facing activities easier and less redundant. For example: IBM uses Hyperledger Fabric to simplify the dispute resolution process for commercial financing. Fabric is also used to automatically enforce warranties or reduce the time needed to port your mobile number from one carrier to another, thus improving the customer experience. 

On the other side, blockchain can be used to create new services for telecommunication and media companies. For decades, telcos have harbored an ambition to get into the mobile payment business. Now, with blockchain, they have an easy and secure way to implement digital wallets, create tokens and exchange them in their own network or with other networks. The same can apply to the gaming industry, where the concept of credits and digital token has been popular in the last few years but was hard to monetize.

Carriers can also now provide digital identity services. Blockchain is the ideal platform for creating a trusted identity, and carriers are in the perfect position to enable subscribers with digital identity and to develop an ecosystem of applications. IBM’s Verify Credentials creates a decentralized approach to identity management – enabled by blockchain – building on top of open standards in combination with Decentralized Identity Foundation (DIF), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and other standards groups

Hyperledger Fabric is the foundation of new industry ecosystems

Finally, the third category, the ecosystems, comprises consortia that cover the entire industry. Consortia turn into ecosystems over time, when an initial application becomes an industry-wide platform, setting the standards for the whole industry and allowing for flexible, modular and open participation, in a “network of networks” fashion. The founder of the ecosystem can extract high value from the platform and become a winner.

The application of Hyperledger Fabric in the TME industry has not achieved the level of maturity necessary for the establishment of a real ecosystem, but a few companies and industry organizations are already laying the foundations for the future ecosystems.

There are several organizations that are creating consortia and implementing blockchain networks.

  • Companies that interact frequently are getting together to form small groups of three  or four participants to streamline existing processes. They can either be telecom carriers that need to facilitate settlements among themselves or music streaming services that want to remunerate music labels faster and more accurately.
  • Regulators are playing a big role: in India, the local telecom regulatory agency (TRAI) mandated the use of blockchain to prevent unsolicited commercial communication. Indian mobile subscribers can opt out of telemarketing calls and a blockchain distributed ledger will manage this information for carriers, content providers and the regulators.  IBM is working with TRAI and Bharti Airtel on the commercial deployment that will initially help the operator curb unwanted calls and messages from advertisers. It will also help the operator in Mobile Number Portability, interconnect settlements, supply chain streamlining and content partner settlement.
  • The European Union, through the Horizon 2020 fund, is financing several blockchain projects to improve the way information and infrastructure is shared within telecom companies.
  • Service providers are very active organizations that are leveraging their neutrality to build industry-wide ecosystems. They can be either established platform providers that already serve the majority of their market or new start-ups trying to disrupt the competition. In the first case, service providers are improving their value proposition through blockchain. In the second case, start-ups are rethinking the way the industry works.
  • Finally, industry standard organizations are gathering their members to define how blockchain can transform their industry. This is happening both in telco and media. In telco, organizations such as the GSMA, TWI GLF and the Bridge Alliance are advocating for blockchain with the goal of establishing common standards for the most immediate blockchain use cases (e.g., wholesale and roaming settlements). In the media space, AdLedger is leveraging blockchain to re-shape the digital advertising industry.

2020 is going to be a KEY year for blockchain in the TME industry: we are going to see the outcome of the work done in the last couple years and the move to production of many consortia.

Cover image by pisauikan from Pixabay

Developer Showcase Series: Sushma Varadaiah, Coding Bootcamps

By Blog, Developer Showcase, Hyperledger Fabric

Back to our Developer Showcase Series to learn what developers in the real world are doing with Hyperledger technologies. Next up is Sushma Varadaiah from Coding Bootcamps.

What advice would you offer other technologists or developers interested in getting started working on blockchain?

I personally feel that it’s the right time to get into blockchain as it holds a lot of potential in the very near future. Blockchain will be the way that we are going to establish trust and transparency in the world as we move forward. Along with other technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things, the use of blockchain multiply.

Give a bit of background on what you’re working on, and let us know what was it that made you want to get into blockchain?

I have 6+ years of experience as a software developer. I am currently working on blockchain systems (Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric). I got into blockchain because I studied cryptography and security while getting a Master degree in Computer Science and Information Security. It was easy for me to pick up blockchain’s underlying technologies because of my Master’s studies. I recognized the technology’s potential and got into blockchain.

What project in Hyperledger are you working on? Any new developments to share? Can you sum up your experience with Hyperledger?

I am working on Hyperledger Fabric. My journey with Hyperledger Fabric started when I got my first blockchain certification from the Linux Foundation followed by a Master’s degree certification in blockchain from International Institute of Information Technology Bangalore. I have developed Hyperledger Fabric Proofs of Concept for a range of use cases including  pharmaceutical drug supply chain, certificate verification and property registration network. You can find source code for all these in my GitHub page.

What are the main differences between teaching Hyperledger to students and developing Hyperledger applications?

While teaching at Coding Bootcamps, the main challenge is to explain blockchain concepts to a student who is new to the technology. Troubleshooting the issues that are faced by students who are learning to develop blockchain applications is a very rewarding feeling. On the other hand, developing Hyperledger applications for a business involves different complexities like deploying and scaling the application according to user growth.

What do you think is most important for Hyperledger to focus on in the next year?

Devtools for easy smart contract development and deployment.

As Hyperledger’s incubated projects start maturing and hit 1.0s and beyond, what are the most interesting technologies, apps, or use cases coming out as a result from your perspective?

I personally feel Hyperledger Fabric has a lot of potential to bring transparency to supply chain management use cases. 

What’s the one issue or problem you hope blockchain can solve?

Increasing transparency and trust among users.

Where do you hope to see Hyperledger and/or blockchain in five years?

I hope to see applications moving towards decentralization and industry maturing towards adoption of blockchain with other technologies like Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things.

What is the best piece of developer advice you’ve ever received?

Never stop learning.

What technology could you not live without?

Internet!

Weekend Update: This Week’s Round-up of Remote Blockchain Learning Resources

By Blog, Weekend Update

Welcome to the Weekend Update. Our goal with this weekly post is to share quick updates about online education, networking and collaboration opportunities and resources for the open source enterprise blockchain community. 

If you have suggestions for resources or events that we should spotlight in a future Weekend Update, let us know here using #HLWeekendUpdate. 

Webinar: Tackling Scalability and Moving into Production

While DLTs are no longer a mystery to most enterprises, we still have not yet figured out how to build and scale production grade projects. It is easy to build a POC, but moving to the real world with real customers is a whole different issue. Moreover, the young age of the DLT space shows in lack of tooling. In this webinar, experts from Simbachain will explain how to use SIMBA, a smart contract as a service and blockchain innovation platform to rapidly design, build and scale production DLT applications using Hyperledger Fabric. The centerpiece of the presentation will be a live demo.

Tune on Wednesday, October 7, at 10:00 am EDT. For more information and to register, go here.

Case Study: American Association of Insurance Services’ regulatory data solution, openIDL  

Learn more about how AAIS aligned insurers and regulators with the Hyperledger Fabric-based openIDL data reporting network in this new case study.

Virtual Meetups

See the full Virtual Meetup schedule here