Linking Up Blockchain and Data Integration
A little background: Blockchain is a public ledger system that can be used to record any kind of transaction. The ledgers are concurrently stored in multiple locations, and the entries are cryptographically signed to prevent changes. Moreover, Blockchain provides an auditable trail of all the transactions and removes the need for a trusted middleman. Use cases are many. Consider Blockchain’s benefits for real estate, financial, contracts, and even health care.
Although there is a lot of hype around Blockchain, most organizations are experimenting with data integration standards, as well as the technology. The ability to distribute data using Blockchain fits the standards criteria of many organizations, and use cases are beginning to appear.
For example, after IBM purchased Weather.com, a weather data provider, they found that integrating weather data and forecasts with Blockchain technology could create an interesting new paradigm. According to IBM, more and more people are taking an interest in finding out more about the weather system. For instance, the ability to leverage weather data to determine effects on the retail market. Or, the ability to get a humidity and temperature reading to determine the proper mix of chemicals for a manufacturing process. With Blockchain technology, IBM can offer different “tiers” of information, depending upon what consumers want. Blockchain is available at all times, to people all over the world, at no cost. Additionally, other than storing financial data, the Blockchain can be used to store, transmit, and share all types of data at a fraction of the cost of traditional solutions.
Of course, this goes well beyond just weather data. Blockchain could be leveraged to access financial data, health data, indeed, anything that can be distributed using this technology. While the distribution of data is nothing new, it’s basically easier and more cost effective to leverage the Blockchain standard.
Core to success is to get the data to the Blockchain distribution system, as well as get the data out, and put to good use. This is where data integration technology comes in, and really leads the charge. Data needs to be pushed into Blockchain, and pulled out as well.
So will this have any benefit to your operations? Blockchain holds the promise of providing key financial services for many companies, pretty much for free. What once cost thousands per day to secure and record transactions could now be commoditized. However, data integration is still needed to drive this technology.
Keep in mind, the use of Blockchain could go beyond just financial transactions. The distribution of any type of useful data could be driven by Blockchain, such as the weather data example above.
Once again, the call to action is to stand up the right data integration technology to address the tasks of getting data to the target, in this case, a Blockchain node, as well as processing and transporting the data that returns. Without data integration, Blockchain won’t have nearly as much value to the enterprises that leverage it.