“Disruption is Coming…” Before I start talking about how our future is going to change, let’s take a look at how things function currently. The maj
“Disruption is Coming…”
Before I start talking about how our future is going to change, let’s take a look at how things function currently. The major business platforms we see around us are controlled or operated from a central hub or a decision hierarchy. All the information that is worth value flows through channels or some sort of supply chain or simply said, middlemen. This “channel” is not entirely secure in the current technology; every fortnight we come across an incident of security breach. These security breaches are creating valleys between opportunities and the existing problems. The information channel being central or hierarchical is somewhere behind it where middlemen take some cut out of the value that is being passed to the next level, making the services costlier to the end user.
In another context, the technology which is presently helping us share information via a central infrastructure are media (images and videos), documents, etc. for “Information Exchange”. Hence, we cannot control the data piracy and although the pirate’s identity is traceable, their numbers make it impossible to catch all of them. There is no such trust for exchange of “value” on the internet. Yes, the internet banking in current days is secure thanks to the encryption algorithms, but they are still slow for the billions of transactions and they charge significantly too!
Blockchain in simple words is the technology, where data and information is owned by everyone and also verified by everyone. Everything you do is “ledgered” and it is irrevocable provided that it is valid. So, every device with blockchain has information on any transaction, location, identity, licences/ IP, in short, a foot print which is connected with its own previous value with the relevant stakeholder’s foot print; and that too in a lightning fast speed, way faster than the current cloud servers. Now that’s magic! Its applications are beyond belief how it can create the “Trust” in the ecosystem of the businesses. Handling of healthcare, title records, ownership, intellectual property and voting can be possible through blockchain. Blockchain environments are available as public and private as per requirements.
Let’s have a helicopter view of the possible disruptions in the current businesses. Starting with Banking & Finance, a blockchain based platform will avail services like KYC verification, no counterfeit accounts or transactions, fast and secure trading platforms, proliferation of the digital currencies. These will boost businesses and ensure seamless customer experience. Crowd-funding, a decentralized and an effective way where each person investing money will get to know his returns in the diversified portfolio of investments, will bring in new opportunities. Looking into Transportation & Logistics sector, the perils of inventory management can be eased, asset tracking can be possible beyond expectations which will lead to trust transaction in the material supply chain. Moving ahead to the Automotive sector, road safety will be enhanced so largely that automatic tollbooths will save thousands of litres of fuel that people burn uselessly waiting in the queue. Additionally, eliminating the parts fraud and implementing automotive data exchange, vehicle provenance, smart prognostic, and insurance payments, the supply chain traceability will be done with just one IoT device in the car! Shared Economy will be a reality: after reaching the office, one can share his car for the day and earn money, the secure payments and tracking systems will make it possible to reduce the number of cars on the road and hence the air pollution. In the Manufacturing sector, asset tracking, identification of the counterfeit products, fast payment invoice process, machine diagnosis, and preventive maintenance will be done at a wonderfully fast speed, ensuring accuracy. It will be a grand marriage between blockchain and the Industry 4.0 applications catering to the manufacturing and customer needs through accuracy and faster speed. Following with Retail sector, blockchain will be handy to sort out counterfeit products from among the pile of legitimate ones, locate the stolen merchandise, and thereby improve supply chain management. Ha-ha, that’s harsh for the pickers!
Moving ahead to Energy & Utilities, we can achieve peer-to-peer energy generation, grid management to reduce the power shading, and tokenized incentives for renewable generation. Simply put, everyone will be able to invest in a power project that will generate revenues for its lifetime and provide good returns to investors. Healthcare sector will also have smart medical and insurance solutions, population health management, etc. Internet & Cloud Technology will be enhanced by blockchain for every solution. The decentralized cloud storage will reduce the heavy data usage and IP management, fraud detection will increase the trust in the stakeholders to engage more in the business. As the decentralization will engage all the stakeholders directly with each other, the middlemen would be eliminated and reduction in the transaction cost will be achieved.
My opinion on decentralization of the above sectors is quite optimistic, but, adopting this technology will require a strong will power by the government. Multiple companies in the US, Europe, and Asia are trying to harness its potential with industry collaborations and with government support. India has good potential in terms of technical knowledge to implement this technology to solve issues. There is a bright future for the entrepreneurs in such applications. While, the current jobs will be taken over by machines, new jobs will be created too. Jobs for creating the digital infrastructure, installing and maintaining the systems will be some of the new job opportunities. Sooner or later, decentralization will disrupt the businesses but it will ease the way of doing business! With mega trends such as 5G, Industry 4.0, and micro-grids set to become prominent over the next 5 to 10 years, adoption and revenue could see extensive growth.