Potential uses incorporating international standards (Part 4)



Practical application

In the UK when we move house, we currently have to individually inform many different public and private organisations, including subsidiaries of parent organisations we may already have contacted.

This is not only a waste of time for all parties, it inevitably leads to errors in adding these records into the multiple databases, hence why there is a major industry sector involved with updating name and address records in the customer relation management databases of both public and private sector organisations.

Current process

Address updating following a house move

Trust is a risk judgement between two or more people, organizations or nations. In cyberspace, trust is based on two key requirements:

  • Water
  • Gas
  • Electricity
  • Internet
  • Landline
  • Mobile
  • TV Licensing
  • Local Authority
  • Vehicle licensing
  • Bank
  • Employer
  • Post

Future process

Address updating following a house move

A hyperledger application could allow the creation of golden records so that users can choose who they share their data with, ensuring all records are current and verified.

Application of Blockchain

Businesses often find ‘permissioned’ block chains far more appealing than Bitcoin’s unpermissioned model, because specific parties are authorized to verify transactions. This allows the businesses to create secured, shared, private networks involving mutually trusting firms and individuals.

Public authorities are likely to adopt permissioned, public, shared systems

A permissioned, public, shared system based on Hyperledger technology would enable users to upload their personal address data to a single site, and decide who to share it with. As the data exchange would be digital, the number of errors in organisation databases would be vastly reduced, as would the time and cost of updating all these disparate databases.

The details would have the provenance of the individual, and verification built into the system so that multiple documents are not required as evidence.

An e-government scheme could easily be extended to cover this use case.

The private sector however, is predicted to adopt permissioned, private, shared systems.

Smart contracts

Smart contracts are being considered for a wide variety of uses, particularly for regulatory compliance, product traceability and service management, and also to defeat counterfeit products and fraud in the following sectors:

  • Food
  • Financial Services
  • Energy
  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Health
  • Aerospace
  • Aviation
  • Telecommunications
  • IT and communications
  • Transport
  • Utilities
  • Agriculture
  • Oil and gas

A lot of sectors are examining how they can benefit from blockchain technology.

I chair a working group looking at master data management practices in blockchain solutions. This working group was set up as a result of a UK Government report.

The working group consists of representatives from industry, academia, and government who are working together to look at where this technology can help with regulatory compliance.

You saw in the earlier IBM video, that traceability of foodstuffs, known as the farm to fork solution, is a potential use case for blockchain.

I am delighted to announce that today, my company, KOIOS Master Data has been awarded a UK Government innovation grant to examine the use of artificial intelligence and distributed ledger technology incorporating international standards.

The use case is smart borders based on the World Trade Organization facilitation of trade agreement, that agreement is designed to lead to intelligence led, computerised pre-clearance of consignments.

The adoption of blockchain in this area, along with the ISO 8000 identifiers will enable customs authorities to identify irregular trends in shipping patterns, or supply chain irregularities, well before it is possible currently using existing systems.

The system will also allow for the automated mapping of tariff codes to the product specification, as the adoption of ISO 8000 will make all this data machine readable, so enabling the power of artificial intelligence to automate what is currently a very manual and subjective process.

So, it is not only the big organisations who can influence the future. Smaller organisations with a high level of subject matter expertise can be far more knowledgeable and agile than large organisations.

Scalability of these solutions is far less of an issue for small companies with distributed ledger technology than it is with large, monolithic, single instance, central databases.

KOIOS has been working on developing the potential for this solution for a number of months.

We are not blockchain experts, so we worked with the University of Southampton computer sciences and machine learning centres to employ two interns, one for the artificial intelligence element, and one for the blockchain element.

The work that Callum and Marcin did over the summer got us to a position to launch our bid for the funds.

The combination of our interns, our young team of developers and operations staff combined with our experienced directors and our domain knowledge created a compelling use case.

You may be aware that smart borders and international trade are hot topics in the UK at present, so the timing of the grant is very opportune.

We will continue our engagement with the University of Southampton to develop a working solution, probably using Hyperledger Fabric

Supply chain and
 Smart Borders

Using Artificial Intelligence and Distributed Ledger Technology with ISO 8000 Authoritative Identifiers and product data to address international trade and counterfeiting challenges.
This type of system is the basis for smart borders. The WTO facilitation agreement, and the Technical Barriers to Trade Agreement, commit countries to moving towards intelligence led, computerized pre-clearances.

    Let us reflect for a moment on what we have discussed so far. Let us reflect for a moment on what we have discussed so far. 

    The advantages of such a smart contract solution for international consignments include: provenance of the data records through the use of authoritative identifiers; quality, machine readable, data to international standards; known and identified trusted parties in the contract; ability to track the chain of custody through immutable records.

    We also believe that this solution will play a part in reducing the problems caused by counterfeiting.
    I have detailed here some of the steps we have included in our outline proposal for smart borders. 

    We will also work with parties in the supply chain from manufacturers of items, through third party logistics companies, to freight forwarders and shipping companies, and also with customs authorities. 

    If you are one of those parties and wish to join us on our journey please speak with me later this evening


    There are many sources of information on the internet, some of them more reliable than others. I have used the following resources to create the content for this talk.

    As we have discussed, small businesses are much more responsive to customer needs than large businesses, and as small businesses adopt new strategies and technology they force larger incumbents to adapt and improve.

    Disruption is inevitable.

    To finish, I would like to share with you one more video that sums up some of what I have highlighted in this post.

    Distributed Ledger Technology: beyond block chain
    A report by the UK Government Chief Scientific Adviser

    ISO – The International Organization for Standardization
    UK Government Office for Science
    The intern programme from the University of Southampton

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