I remember a few years ago the first time I heard the word “blockchain”: one of our leadership team from North America was explaining how it was revolutionizing parts of the financial services market, and how he thought its impact would be pervasive across other industries in the near future as well.
I must admit I struggled to see how this piece of complex technology was really key to an industry like automotive and felt it was just a technology in search of an application. Many years of experience makes me skeptical about how many of the technologies on what Gartner refers to as their “hype curve” will ever become mainstream – and even if they do, how many years will it take before this happens.
Yet, blockchain seems to be the sort of technology that overcomes this conflict in the same way as the bar code, or EDI got adopted universally because they were so effective that it was worth finding applications for the technology before your competition did the same.
At Capgemini, we have been experimenting with various applications, mainly around the traceability of parts and vehicles. Both passenger and commercial vehicles are increasingly unique when they are produced, and then become even more unique after years in the field being serviced and modified to the point where it is often extremely difficult to know what exactly a particular VIN represents.
Not only does blockchain gives us this indisputable “bill of record” throughout the lifetime of a vehicle, but it also helps us to identify where problems are occurring, and either remedy a problem or prevent the problem from becoming a major incident.
I predict that it won’t be too long before we start to see applications for blockchain popping up all over the place, and the technology becoming almost as ubiquitous as the barcode.
At the Paris Motor Show, my colleagues Damien de Chillaz, and Michel Guiga will present ‘Trusted Car’, a blockchain-based platform that brings together all the stakeholders in the automotive value chain. Join us for the session on Oct 4, 1.30 pm CET at the Mondial Tech – Le Ring.