It’s not about being a starry-eyed idealist, it’s about making processes a little smarter

In our last blog post we have shown that the use of the blockchain technology varies concerning the economic power of a country and focused on developing countries. That’s why we now want to emphasize this time the potential for blockchain technologies in first world countries, which means showing the alternative perspective. It’s not about building infrastructure it is more about optimization and automation of processes, not about reinventing the wheel or being a starry-eyed idealist. But why not make the existing world smarter?

The idea behind our developed platform is to realize an infrastructure where physical and virtual assets can communicate and interact with each other. For such a network the assets need to be smart. Let us first explain what we mean by the term “asset”. Assets can be fortune and property as well as content of data. In the economic field it’s a resource with a value. In simple terms, assets are items which can be tangible or intangible and have a certain value. The value is the point because this value can differ in the viewers’ perspective which means the value of certain assets needs to be set.

Now coming back to process optimization. A desired situation would be that any kind of asset with any value can be registered and transacted in a secure way by monitoring and tracking the current state by concerned stakeholders. It’s all about the surveillance of assets and monitoring the flow of goods and information in a secure way. This is where we use blockchain technology for developing a forward-thinking platform. is a decentralized platform for automating (business) processes via blockchain technology. Together with Piloteo we are building a framework which connects real world assets with blockchain technology. But how? The keyword is smart contract. Smart contracts are pieces of code on a blockchain. They run automatically because it is possible to implement a certain logic. This means no middleman is needed which is a very important aspect. We will shortly explain why this is a facilitation.

In traditional (business) relations there is always a client (principal) and a contractor (agent) which is susceptible for the notorious principal-agent conflict. The agent typically has an information advantage which can be abused. With smart contracts and the missing middleman this problem can be avoided because the responsibilities are clearly defined in advance. The settings automatically come into force if the set requirements are violated. Therefore the business process can be streamlined. Leaner processes mean shorter terms and less time required in turn means saving costs. But it is still very abstract. Let’s go more into detail.

With it is possible to prepare smart contracts, deploy them on a blockchain, and interact with them. This is working via Smartify Codes. A Smartify Code can be a link on a website, a NFC-Tag or a QR-Code which needs to be scanned via the mobile app for completing the smart contract.

Let’s show a practical example how works. Imagine you want to rent a car. Before you get the key you need to deposit an amount of money and you need to sign a contract with different terms of use and requirements which need to be fulfilled by bringing back the car. Some of these conditions could be a full tank or an accident-free car. Instead of signing a conventional contract with the signature it would be possible signing a smart contract with a digital signature. The car rental example is well-suited for this context because newer cars are already equipped with lots of different sensors. They just need to be read out. Stakeholders of these information could be insurance companies because they can see how drivers have accelerated. The rental company gains insight for budgeting when they see the tread pattern and the average abrasion. Even in case of the happy path there are a lot of stakeholders who might be interested in monitoring certain data.

But what happens if you did not refuel the car? The associated weight or fill level sensor sends a notice to the rental company that the car is not refuelled after you’ve returned the key. In this case, the amount of money which is needed for paying the fuel invoice will be withheld and deducted from the deposit money. The remaining money will be paid out to you after returning the key and the car.

The cool thing with this smart contract what we want to highlight are the automated payments. There is no need of an intermediary, appraiser or any other proof. If the car rental company wants more security it is possible to have an add-on like for instance pictures of proof of the car before renting it.

As you can see in the figure, the asset (in our case the car) gets a digital identity (account on a blockchain) to become a part of the network. The now smart asset can interact with a smart contract via sensors. Sensors measure specific data like for instance the number of inventories, the temperature, the extent of a shock or the fill level of a tank. You’ve seen this already in the example above. The desired attributes of a product, process or something else are set and defined in the smart contract. The app enables sharing this smart contract with stakeholders who are needed for this process. The digital identities of the stakeholders are also accounts on a blockchain.

The platform is ready for adoption to various projects. While we have only showed one possible example, there are multiple use cases where the platform can be used in a useful and supporting way. Many other scenarios would be possible like for instance at any stage of a supply chain, in the facility management or even in the situation of parcel delivery.

Do you have ideas on how to improve your processes? We would be glad to support you with the realization.

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