Keep an eye on BlockchainЮрий Корхов
In the world of technology, it happens that the esoteric concept or program is so popular due to its usefulness that it is pulled out, literally, from the shadows and it becomes part of everyday life. Let’s take as an example, e-mail, it began to gain popularity in 1969; at that moment computer scientists sent messages from one computer to another.
Currently, there is another technology that can have a significant impact on the automotive world. This can affect how automakers pay suppliers, how consumers pay for car exchange services and even, perhaps, how dealers process legal documents.
Technology, called blockchain, it originates as a method of making payments using Bitcoins with digital currency. This new payment system begins to emerge in the automotive world. At the Frankfurt Motor Show this month, auto supplier ZF and IBM announced that they are jointly developing a payment platform for transport services based on blockchain technology. Dubbed Car eWallet, the platform would offer a variety of services: from car exchanges to car purchases to dealer repairs, simply and reliably handle payments.
Toyota, the consulting firm EY and the French automaker Renault are also exploring applications for this technology.
So, here’s all you need to know about blockchain: how it works, its history in the shadow world of digital currency and why it can be the key to launching the common, independent driving forces of the future.
- What is it and who uses it?
Blockchain is a global financial database.
“We use it in a wide variety of industries,” said Andreas Kind, an expert on the IBM Research blockchain. “Delivery, loyalty programs, finance, international settlements.”
This is perhaps best known for BTC, an innovative digital currency that exists outside the control of public and financial institutions. The blockchain platform acts as a public exchange, which allows anyone to buy and sell directly to anyone else, by passing banks and protecting the threat of illegal or counterfeit bitcoins entering the market.
This is related to money laundering and other crimes, but over the past few years has become a legal way for companies to conduct business. In 2015, Goldman Sachs told investors in the study that the blocking “can change, absolutely, everything.”
- How does blockchain work?
Blockchain, the name derived from how data is structured in related units or “blocks”, is a kind of equivalent to Google documents for payment registers. Google Docs is a word processing program that can have many people at the same time, and changes and changes are shown live on each version of the document. This eliminates the need to send new versions and updates to a group of people.
Blockchain works this way: changes made by one user are visible to everyone, but the key difference is that users can not change information that is already in the document. New versions have timestamps and are encrypted and, possibly, impossible to forge.
“The record is literally a series of numbers and figures,” said John Simlett (EY), a blockchain expert working on the Blockchain platform on the Tesseract platform.
- Why is the automotive industry important in the technology blockchain?
In the short term, the blockchain may allow third-party companies to easily offer their own services in using the car.
“At the moment, all OEMs work on automotive services,” said Alexander Graf, executive director of ZF, engaged in the development of EWallet cars. The platform “directly connects services and users”.
The supplier works with parking lots and management companies that will pilot their payment system in 2018.
In the long term, as more and more people move away from owning a car, experts say that the blockchain facility will become the key to managing the fleets of robo-taxis, which will generate revenue through a subscription to transportation.
“As cars get more and more technology and perhaps become more expensive to buy, then [blockchain] provides a great way to make [self-capturing] vehicles ubiquitous,” Simlett said.
Here’s how the automotive industry will do it:
Imagine a mobile company wants to manage a fleet of taxis in the city. Currently, the company can create software that manages the location and use of each vehicle in the park. Users will need to register a credit card or debit card, which will be charged whenever the vehicle is used.
Blockchain will make it easier for fleet managers to control the use and payment of the entire fleet through a single entry. Passengers could use one lock card that allows them to take private common cars, welcome a robo taxi or use a public bus.
So much noise around the blockchain comes from its potential to offer a neutral platform for cooperation between auto, financial and retail enterprises. The ability of cars to offer services such as horse riding, pizza delivery and entertainment, increases the number of companies involved in daily transportation. While automakers can still control what services are offered, the block will ensure that transactions are performed fairly and transparently.
“Blockchain, in its essence, refers to the distribution of trust,” said IBM Kind. “We want new companies to come and use this platform for their services and enter this renewed automotive market.”