The past decade has seen technological breakthroughs in robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented and virtual realities, and blockchain. Far from being a futuristic concept, these tools and technologies are already being successfully put to use across multiple industries.
Blockchain: evolving beyond the future of data security
Take blockchain, for example. This technology, when first explored, can be viewed as the future of data transfer. In reality, however, blockchain is already bringing significant change to our everyday lives, as consumers demand more transparency into the products they purchase.
Have you ever wondered if the Fair Trade logo on the chocolate bar or jar of coffee you purchased is authentic? With blockchain, every piece of information – from the exact GPS coordinates of the cacao tree, to the manufacturing facility, the logistics provider, and the retailer is digitized and recorded in an encrypted format, then saved in a single trusted source. Whether a consumer wants to check the ethical sourcing, sustainability, or authenticity of the product they purchased, blockchain is the technology that verifies each step in the supply chain and validates the genuineness of the information.
The future is looking dynamic, experimental, and sustainable
The success of any future technology depends on it being dynamic, experimental, and sustainable. Blockchain fulfills all three criteria; simply put, the ‘Future is Now’.
To be dynamic, industries must adapt to the environmental or technological changes. Being dynamic means being a force of change that motivates, affects development, or challenges the existing state. Blockchain matches this approach by taking information already available in multiple places, and not only making it secure, but providing access for anyone along the supply chain, including the consumer. The daily discovery of new uses and their potential to solve real-world challenges show the technology’s dynamic nature. From increasing the efficiency of disaster relief to improving consumer services, a wide range of uses are being explored. Blockchain in the global logistics and supply chain market alone is set to grow to $3.3 billion by 2026. In fact, when blockchain works with other emerging technologies, it becomes even more effective and impactful in providing users insight into details about products throughout the supply chain.
Similarly, to be experimental, the attitude of trial and error and imagination is crucial to be progressive. The simplicity offered by blockchain allows industries to experiment with its uses. This can result in the creation of new business models and more efficient processes within an organization. For example, life-saving pharmaceuticals and emergency medical supplies, including the COVID-19 vaccine, often come with specific prerequisites in terms of temperature and shelf life. The integration of blockchain and IoT can increase traceability and reliability of information regarding critical medical shipments throughout the supply chain.
Sustainability has also been a driving force behind the change of business practices, and the range of products offered. A report from Capgemini Research highlights that 60% of Indian consumers have actually reduced spending from organizations they perceive as non-sustainable. Fueled by the need to spread awareness of eco-friendly practices, many manufacturers and retailers are actively adopting steps to reduce their carbon emissions and keeping consumers informed. Here blockchain plays a critical role in creating a clear record of product history and sustainable sourcing initiatives adopted, which allow consumers to make a more informed purchase decision.
Disruptive technologies like blockchain are delivering the future…now
To be successful, technologies should be dynamic, experimental, and sustainable. Additionally, for any new or innovative technology to have a lasting impact, these technologies need to have clear real-world applications. Blockchain is a prime example of a disruptive future technology that is unfolding in the present, enabling both consumers and industries alike. The logistics industry is ready to respond.
Jack Muhs is Regional President of FedEx Express Middle East, Indian Subcontinent and Africa.
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