Blockchain is a technology that allows a totally immutable data record service to be maintained in a fully distributed manner. What does this mean? That millions of computers keep a copy of all the information and agree on the operations that are made on that information. The main difference is that there is no computer in charge of directing operations.
Information transactions are stored in blocks, and each block is linked to the previous one with cryptographic methods. This cryptographic link unequivocally proves that the predecessor of a block has not been modified. Therefore, as we move forward in the chain, we are securing all the previous blocks, since this property is hooked like a chain. Hence the name “blockchain”.
What advantages does Blockchain offer us?
Blockchain is a way of implementing information registration systems with fully guaranteed traceability, with high availability and an unbeatable degree of security. Blockchain networks are governed by all the computers participating in the network, and therefore, in order to hack the information, more than half of the computers on the network have to be hacked, which is practically impossible. Therefore, the immutability of the stored information is guaranteed.
What is a smart contract?
A smart contract consists of a program and a status book. These two things are immutably stored in a block on a blockchain. When someone invokes that program what they do is change the state of the state book and publish a new state in the next block. What do you get with this? Being able to agree on audited programs that can never be changed without us detecting it. Programs that could encode, for example, economic transactions between two companies in the event that a security is published with a certain condition. For example, when the delivery person registers the delivery of the package at my house, the amount of the transport service will automatically be deducted from my balance and it will be delivered to the transport agency.
What is the added value of Blockchain for Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 aims to connect Industry to the Internet in order to give intelligence through data collection. Aiming at the “intelligent factory”, it is intended to introduce techniques such as artificial intelligence or computer vision into this world. All this data is collected directly from the plants, which makes it necessary to introduce a layer of security for the data that is collected. It would be useless to do predictive analysis with data of unknown origin.
This is the reason why Blockchain is going to be one of the enabling technologies. Thanks to its secure and traceable storage properties of information and the safe operations offered by smart contracts, we can ensure that the actions taken with this data will not be the product of a cyber attack. This gives greater security when it comes to trusting automatisms that have an impact on operations.
Likewise, this type of program, and the collection of truthful and immutable information from industrial machines, open up an immense range of new business models. From the payment for use of an industrial machine to new models of machinery maintenance contracts, based on smart contracts that model how and how long the maintained machine has to be used.
Where does Blockchain fit in my organization?
Within the world of Blockchain there are different implementations aimed at offering different extra properties. There are Blockchains aimed at identity management, private and permissioned Blockchains that allow to maintain the privacy of the data entered and other Blockchains that are aimed at offering a high registration speed to work in high demand scenarios (that is, in scenarios where requires servicing a large number of transactions per second).
Following the ISA 95 scheme as a reference, there are different Blockchain alternatives for the different layers of the scheme. At WimbiTek we analyze what your needs are and transfer them to a suitable Blockchain proposal for your organization.
Contact us if you want to know how we could improve your business.