Since the inception of the OriginTrail Protocol in 2017, GS1 standards have assumed a central role in its design to deliver a profoundly new way of building transparency in global supply chains. Built on blockchain technology, OriginTrail provides a necessary foundation to build new value. The key elements of this foundation are enhanced trust, increased supply chain efficiencies, automated compliance, and enhanced quality assurance processes. Now, the Trace Labs team — the core developers of OriginTrail — is joining the GS1 Global organization and its industry stakeholders in the EPCIS & Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) 2.0 Mission-Specific Working Group to help advance critical data standards required for interoperability between permissioned and public systems alike.
Trace Labs has been one of the pioneers in applying the GS1 EPCIS standard for product visibility. This standard helps to answer the questions “What?” “When?” “Where?” and “Why?” to meet consumer and regulatory demands for accurate and detailed product information. Utilizing the GS1 EPCIS standard, we delivered interoperable data exchange amongst disparate applications. By using the OriginTrail Decentralized Network, we protect data, ensuring the highest levels of trust enabled by a public blockchain.
Our contribution to the GS1 position paper shows the importance of global standards for maintaining the global language of business and facilitating interoperability for blockchain-enabled solutions. The report titled “Bridging Blockchains: Interoperability is essential to the future of data sharing” describes the interplay between blockchain technology, the rise of industry ecosystems, and challenges in bringing the industry together to begin the dialogue around governance, interoperability, and future solutions.
“Implementing blockchain technology in an inter-organisational environment with legacy systems needs to be based on standards. GS1 standards are the best example of this needed common, global business language for collaboration. At OriginTrail, we exploit the relational nature of data beyond the “one step back, one step forward” approach to achieve visibility across the supply chain. GS1 standards help us share relevant and accurate data while the blockchain technology provides accountability and additional integrity,” Žiga Drev, co-founder of OriginTrail, pointed out.
Several other distinguished global experts and leaders were invited to share their views for the position paper on how to bridge blockchains and deliver the necessary interoperability. One contribution, however, is exceptionally relevant to fully understand the importance of GS1 standards for improving the way businesses operate in modern supply chains to achieve greater consumer safety.
Frank Yiannas, then Vice President of Food Safety at Walmart, now Deputy Commissioner for Food Policy and Response of the US FDA, shared similar views, saying: “At Walmart, we believe the one-step-up and one-step-back model of food traceability is outdated for the 21st century. That’s why we launched the Walmart Food Traceability Initiative. Leveraging blockchain as the enabling technology and GS1 standards as the universal language, we believe we can create a more digital and transparent food system that will benefit people and the planet.”
The GS1 global standards were also given a prominent spot in the FDA’s recent New Era for Smarter Food Safety Blueprint, pointing towards its foundational value for interoperability between disparate legacy IT systems to build resilient, trustworthy, and safer food supply chains.
OriginTrail — Connecting Supply Chain Data the Google Way, Using GS1 Standards
In his recent blogpost, Branimir Rakic, OriginTrail co-founder, maintains that the mechanisms within the OriginTrail protocol today closely resemble the way Google utilizes hyperlinks between web pages and manages to understand their data contents, as both technologies harness the power of their respective connection-first data structures, also known as knowledge graphs. However, important differences in the nature of the supply chain IT landscape and the World Wide Web require a more tailored approach in building the global supply chain knowledge graph than the one Google has taken, specifically related to data governance, decentralization, and employed standards. OriginTrail makes it possible to map virtually any data model, yet the core development team has been prioritizing the most relevant standards: GS1 EPCIS & CBV and those of W3C (Web of Things, Verifiable Credentials, PROV, etc.).
GS1 EPCIS & Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) 2.0 Working Group
The goal of the working group is to take the field experience of utilizing the EPCIS & CBV standards and provide crucial advancements that will ensure data exchange in business will flow even smoother while ensuring backward-compatibility. These enhancements will lower barriers to adoption of the EPCIS & CBV standards, increase their developer-accessibility, and ensure their relevance in the coming decades. Some of the key enhancements include support for sensor-captured quality data and party certification information, the addition of the JSON-LD syntax, and REST binding support.
The Trace Labs team is excited to take part in the prototyping phase, testing the current stage of the EPCIS & CBV 2.0 standards and actively contributing to future iterations. As both standards get ratified, we expect them to quickly show their potential serving as the common business language for the upcoming regional, national, and international initiatives, such as the recently launched blueprint for the FDA’s New Era of Smarter Food Safety. It is also intended that both standards get supported by the OriginTrail Decentralized Network, opening doors to new possibilities to grow the OriginTrail decentralized knowledge graph.