In her function as Research Supervisor at the Ford Motor Company Research and Innovation Center in Dearborn, Michigan, Pramita Mitra knows the challenge of coming up with blockchain technology to support business bottom-line. Her research focuses on applications of IoT and Blockchain technologies in the automotive manufacturing and supply chain space.
Pramita mentions, Ford considers itself still in the research phase, and is working on a number of blockchain pilots in the space of sustainability and mobility. As sustainability is important to Ford’s corporate strategy, the blockchain team is committed to jointly develop the ‘Responsible Sourcing Blockchain Network’ (RSBN), a blockchain network committed to strengthening human rights and environmental protection in mineral supply chains, together with a consortium of other automotive stakeholders. In a first step, the RSBN focuses on a digital supply chain for cobalt tracking from mines to EV batteries.
To overcome the current obstacles in blockchain technology for the automotive industry, the panelists mutually agree that to prove immediate business value, blockchain-for-enterprise solutions need to get out of the ‘geek bubble’ and focus on use cases that help moving towards industry-wide solutions for digital ecosystems. It won’t be about the discussion of the technology itself, but more the development of meaningful business cases for pilot implementations that will help accurately quantify the impact of the technology to support business bottom line.
Without this business value development exercise, it is likely that blockchain-for-enterprise solutions will continue to struggle to move pilots to production. One potential way forward would be to figure out how to utilize decentralized identity standards to successfully marry IoT with blockchain in fields of both vehicle defined software and smart factory environments.