Blockchain technologies have been widely promoted as the solution to the many challenges currently affecting several different industries. However, besides being used for cryptocurrencies, blockchain has been long heralded as a key technology for supply chain management and logistics.
Recognizing its potential to help improve efficiency and traceability in supply chain and manufacturing, a group of 100 major Japanese manufacturers will be teaming up to share production data with each other through blockchain technology.
Japanese Manufacturers Bet on Blockchain
As reported by Nikkei, the new initiative will allow manufacturer data to be easily and securely shared between one another in a controlled manner. Initially, shared data will include product designs, equipment status updates, and quality inspection information. Participants in the project will be able to choose which data is shared and with whom, while allowing manufacturers to charge a fee for sharing information.
The project is being headed by the Industrial Value Chain Initiative (IVI), a manufacturers group launched in 2015 tasked with the promotion of Internet-of-Things (IoT) in Japan. Companies like Mitsubishi Electric, Yaskawa Electric, Brother Industries, Fuji, Kawasaki, and Yamaha are already part of the initiative, while others including DMG Mori and Makino Milling Machine Company are expected to join soon.
The new information-sharing tool will be designed to be highly secure and leak resistant, ensuring data remains secured, staying out of the hands of competitors.
The implementation of the technology is also expected to decrease industrial waste and overstock issues. This can be accomplished by reducing the production of unnecessary parts and giving the manufacturers a wealth of data related to stock levels and production rates.
Which Chain to Choose?
It is not yet known whether IVI will dedicate resources to build out an entirely new blockchain platform, purpose-built for the initiative, or if they will rely on a pre-existing solution such as IOTA or even COSMOS.
Often dubbed as the internet of blockchains, COSMOS could be a potential candidate platform for the project, since individual blockchains comprised of the production data from different manufacturers could be able to cross-interact in a secure and controlled way.
It is highly unlikely that the IVI would resort to using a third-party blockchain solution since scaling and licensing could pose problems. Whatever the choice, the platform will likely be designed to comply with the Connected Industries Open Framework (CIOF), which helps to optimize the manufacturing industry through networking and IoT integration.
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