Enterprise Blockchain in 2019
Filament’s outlook on what’s ahead for enterprise blockchain.
2018 was an important year for enterprise blockchain. While there was a lot of distracting noise, there was also some very important progress across the industry.
At Filament, we made big strides in product development and customer projects. We introduced our groundbreaking Blocklet™ technology in a variety of formats to deliver the trusted hardware and software required for corporations wishing to leverage distributed ledger technology (DLT) for Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) equipment, machines, and devices. To support those efforts further, we created the Blocklet Kit which includes not only the technology, but resources and support to help organizations get started. All of this work laid a critical foundation for making enterprise blockchain pilots and proofs of concept a reality this past year. It set the stage for the next level of deployment.
Despite escalating hype and lingering confusion around the broader topic of blockchain in 2018, we saw many real use cases being put into action, ranging from Walmart’s use of the technology for improved food safety, to State Farms’ initiative to streamline auto insurance claims, to the public launch of IBM and Maersk’s TradeLens, and more.
Filament worked on several enterprise and IIoT blockchain pilots and proofs of concept. We were pleased to be able to publicly showcase our partnership with Daimler Trucks North America as the company is establishing a peer-to-peer platform for remanufactured components using our blockchain technology to automate and streamline its aftermarket remanufacturing operations.
2018 was also a year of advancement in legislation pertaining to financial, government, and commercial applications of blockchain, with 25 states submitting bills for review. Wyoming passed three bills relating to securities, taxation, and trade. In the early part of the year, Filament supported the efforts put forth by Colorado, the home of our second largest office, to pass legislation that promotes the use of blockchain or other distributed ledger technologies for a variety of purposes, including to improve the state government’s operations and cybersecurity. The bipartisan Senate Bill 86 made Colorado the first state to enact laws around the use of blockchain technology for the purpose of protecting confidential data in state records.
So, with some solid groundwork laid in 2018, what comes next?
In 2019, we expect to hear less talk and instead see more action. There will be valuable lessons learned as the results of early deployments emerge and give way to new opportunities for progress. I’ve often said that one of the most fascinating things about a time like this is that we can’t yet know everywhere this type of technology could lead us.
Market education will continue to be important, but we believe the distinction between cryptocurrency applications and business applications will become increasingly clear as the general public learns more about the technology through new enterprise examples.
There are many reasons why enterprise blockchain makes sense for certain businesses including the near term efficiencies and added security; and the longer term ability to create new business models that will transform corporations’ ability to generate new revenue, provide better service, and stay relevant in the digital future.
Our top three enterprise blockchain predictions for 2019:
1. Blockchain + IoT will take center stage
We’re seeing it already. It’s rising to the top because blockchain technology is a natural extension of the Internet of Things that allows corporations to extend the value of their connected devices by adding the capability to transact and participate in the machine economy. In a permissioned ledger environment, companies can securely streamline and automate data or payment transactions in the form of smart contracts that enforce agreements among the ledger’s participants. Additionally, blockchain supports the security of IoT with a secure and scalable framework among devices. Gartner surveys continue to show that security is the biggest area of technical concern for organizations deploying IoT systems. And a year ago, IDC reported that nearly 20 percent of IoT deployments will enable blockchain services by 2019.
2. Early results are operational, paving the way for business transformation
We’re enamored with the endless possibilities that distributed ledger technology can enable, however many large corporations are being faced with multiple simultaneous disruptors to their business. They have both near-term issues and long-term challenges to deal with. We advise our clients who are early on the blockchain learning curve to start with a single use case, learn from it, and expand from there. This means that next year a lot of the results we will see will be operational in nature – namely process efficiencies, cost savings, and customer service improvements. We’ll have to be patient and wait a little longer for evidence of the truly transformational results that are on the horizon.
3. Interoperability and integration will be key
As the enterprise blockchain and distributed ledger ecosystem grows and more companies put solutions into production, it becomes increasingly important for vendors and integrators to work together to deliver real-world deployments at scale. Next year we expect to see new vendor partnerships emerge and consortiums to expand, moving toward industry-centric solutions and standards. At Filament we are proud to be a member of Hyperledger, Blockchain in Transportation Alliance (BiTA), and Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) where many invested organizations are coming together to work towards the advancement of the industry. In 2019 we’ll join other key organizations pursuing this mission and work with complementary vendors to deliver customer solutions that solve challenges, make a difference, and deliver important results.
We’re looking forward to the year ahead. Whatever it may bring, there is no doubt that it will be fascinating and fast moving. Happy New Year to all!