SAP is working with over two dozen manufacturing, pharmaceutical, technology and shipping companies on an automated blockchain supply chain monitoring system that believes it will enhance visibility and ensure the authenticity of goods such as food and drugs.
The software giant is piloting its SAP Cloud Platform block block with 16 vendors of farm-to-consumer products such as Maple Leaf Foods, Johnsonville, Naturipe Farms, Tate & Lyle and Natura. The service allows companies to create and extend business applications with the SAP MultiChain blockchain service, which was built using the Linux Foundation's open source Hyperledger Fabric platform.
SAP customers who use their cloud platform can opt for piloting the blockchain ledger that runs on it, according to Hala Zeine, president of the SAP Supply Chain and Manufacturing group. From there, customers will soon be able to use the APIs to connect the blockchain network to other applications, such as SAP HANA, a system for managing relational database in memory, according to the company.
"SAP customers connect for the first time [cloud-based] and then link these applications to its blockchain platform as an option they can activate," Zeine said.
The company recently created a partner consortium consisting of seven companies, including Intel, Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (HPE), UPS and A3 of Airbus SE, to help it develop a global supply chain platform.
SAP looked at cloud customers using the ledger blockchain and found that 92% consider it a potential business opportunity and, in particular, 63% viewed as a supply chain – with the IoT as the most promising application for it, Zeine said.
A lot of companies are interested in blockchain for the creation of workfl Ows, but supply chain management is one of the "big app killers", according to Vipul Goyal, associate professor at the Computer Department of Carnegie Mellon University (CMU).
While SAP Cloud Platform Blockchain has been in production for several months, applications that will allow data entry from various specific sectors remain in development. Next month, SAP will meet consortium members to develop a road map for developing these applications with its partners.
Overall, about 65 companies participate in the SAP co-innovation blockchain initiative. The goal: to help customers use production and supply chain products – increased by the blockchain – to improve transparency, security and collaboration in areas such as transport, food and pharmaceuticals.
SAP is not the only one to develop a system supply chain tracking. In January, Maersk and IBM announced a joint venture to implement a blockchain-based electronic mailing system that will digitize supply chains and track the international cargo in real time. This month, companies announced that 94 partners signed to pilot the system.
Customer SAP Modum, a sensor and starter detection software provider, worked with SAP's Co-Innovation Lab to bring together sensor data with the SAP cloud blockchain service.
Modum sensors can monitor pack conditions in transit by temperature, humidity, vibration and light exposure to help customers comply with safety regulations or quality requirements. The sensors of a package can be synchronized via NFC or Bluetooth with an app on a mobile device and the data can be uploaded to a blockchain ledger in which the smart contract technology automatically sets the parameters on the IoT device necessary for safe shipment.
For example, a shipped drug may need to be kept within a temperature range of 20 degrees. Once a package is delivered, the sensor data can be loaded back into the immutable master book blockchain to allow authorized parties to read.
"All time data is read and uploaded to the cloud and evaluated in a smart contract in the blockchain … [by] the sender, the receiver and the logic company", said Marc Degen, the co-founder of Modum.
Modum was already using Ethereum's blockerein technology, but through SAP it is now also able to offer a block-based based on Hyperledger.
Modum is also testing beta the SAP HANA relational database service in combination with its blockchain ledger, allowing data transmission between two.
"We work a lot with the start-up community in an incubation ator.So, we started SAP IoT Accelerator, a co-innovation program for B2B startups for supply chains," said Zeine
. The total number of connected IoT sensors and devices will jump from 21 billion this year to 50 billion by 2022, according to recent Juniper Research data.
Through its intelligent contracted business automation software, blockchain offers a way to automatically connect and transmit data from such IoT devices to an electronic ledger via a peer-to-peer network that eliminates the need for a central server .
The killer app
Paul Brody, Ernst & Young (EY) Global Innovation Leader for Blockchain Technology, in a previous interview the blockchain market in the last 18 months has gone through a "explain this phase (PowerPoint) in "Try it for me" stage (working conference room pilots).
"Now we are in the" Ok, build for me "phase," Brody said via email. "Let's see this in our business: customers are mo ving projects towards production and … we have similar conversations with others in the industry. "
Deloitte CTO Bill Briggs agreed:" You can go to industry by industry and you see the concepts demonstrated, the pilots are now moving towards production. Things like supply chain validation, food safety verification, consumer product companies and potentially industrial societies and even life sciences are starting to surround it. "
Recently, Walmart announced that it had completed a blockchain-proof concept with IBM called FoodTrust to trace the origins of its products, from farmer to store, the Food Trust pilot group also included Dole Food Co., Driscoll & # 39; s Inc., Golden State Foods, Kroger Co., McCormick and Co., McLane Co., Tyson Foods Inc. and Unilever NV, according to IBM.
The state of Arkansas, where Walmart is based , has also just held a "Blockchain for Arkansas" summit that launches a state initiative to use the blockchain for food safety by monitoring it in real time.
the world's leading jewelry and gem companies are distributing book blockchains electronics that will verify the origins of their products, from mines to sales cases
Ensure the authenticity and safety of medicines  9029] The "Advance Track and Trace" application of SAP is already experimenting with technology blockchain with pharmaceutical companies, although Zeine has not been able to provide the names of those companies.
"Many of the best pharmaceutical companies use our systems as described – all the way since the ingredients were produced to move it … and then eventually they were combined," Zeine said. "So, the shape of the material is changing as it is produced and finally being transported.It is necessary to make sure it is transported and stored appropriately.
" The collaboration [with modum.io] is just starting but in the end it's where we'll go with them, "he added, referring to the use of IoT devices to track not only the shipments of end products but the ingredients that enter the drugs automatically.
Why the IoT? the tracking portion of the blockchain network sensors is not yet fully implemented, the packets must have their scanned barcodes in the SAP blockchain tracker. "We can not move the human being completely out of the supply chain, but we can at least ensuring data integrity – and the ability to track it between multiple collaborators while moving upstream to the patient is s something that makes friction easier, "said Zeine.
The pharmaceutical industry, in particular, has been scutiny to ensure that it can trace the drugs it produces and sells from the consumer to the consumer.
Last month, the Chinese pharmaceutical company Changchun Changsheng Life Sciences Ltd. was investigated for alleged false documents relating to the production and shipping of an anti-rabies vaccine. Changsheng admitted his guilt and agreed to cooperate with state drug regulators in an internal investigation, according to a report.
The Changchun controversy prompted China's blockchain enthusiasts to use the blogphere to ask the entire pharmaceutical industry to adopt the anti-tampering blockchain test logs to track the production and shipment of drugs. Others replied by writing that blockchain can not prevent fraudulent behavior, that is, if incorrect data are entered, no matter how carefully it is traced along the supply chain.
There's also the problem of knock-off companies that produce mass-generic drugs and flood the market with products that may not yet be approved by regulators, Zeine said. Having a certified product as a track from the production to the store shelf would guarantee authenticity.
In addition, some drugs must be transported and stored at specific temperatures. The IoT sensors would allow you to monitor it, as well as control the amount of vibrations experienced during the shipping process, which could alert management to the fact that the damage may have occurred.
"I think blockchain is in itself a technology that is there, that part is not in development," Zeine said. "The part that is really under development is to explore how to take such a technology … [and use it to] remove the friction from business processes and create more transparency and authenticity and collaboration among different network providers.
"Magic is becoming [that] process defined and making [it] as simple as possible. You have to trace some of the mandatory audits and you have to define what the different materials involved in the process are, "Zeine said.