April 24, 2020 By Nigel Gopie, PhD 4 min read

More than any event in our lifetime, the COVID-19 global pandemic underscores the interconnectedness of our world. It also throws a very harsh light on a troubling fact: at a time when we need rapid, coordinated action and collaboration, massive amounts of critical information continue to be trapped in hardened data silos and legacy processes.

Now more than ever, we need a trusted platform to automate outdated ways of working, rapidly piece together disparate data sets, and unlock actionable insights to navigate through this crisis — and prepare for the long recovery ahead in a changed world.

That trusted platform is blockchain and blockchain-based solutions are helping us tackle today’s most daunting challenges.

Leading many of those efforts are our innovative clients, partners, and my esteemed colleagues at IBM Blockchain. As part of the IBM Think Digital Global Event taking place 5 – 6 May 2020, you have a unique opportunity to hear their insights and learn from their experiences on solving pressing issues facing the world today via live and on-demand streaming sessions.

See the full schedule of blockchain sessions at Think Digital

Leveraging trusted data in a time of crisis — and for recovery

As they race to respond to this crisis, governments, clinicians, scientists and others are working to make sense of disparate data sources from hospitals, government agencies, public/private partnerships and elsewhere. These data sets often lack integration and consistency, and are not always easily shared. In response, IBM Blockchain is participating in MiPasa, a project supporting an open data hub designed to quickly and precisely provide early detection of COVID-19 carriers and infection hotspots.

Jerry Cuomo, IBM Fellow, and HACERA CEO, Jonathan Levi, will explore in this session how MiPasa synthesizes data sources, identifies errors, and addresses inconsistencies and misreporting related to the coronavirus pandemic using blockchain, cloud and analytics technologies.

The session will also address the challenges of sharing personal information in a time of social distancing when person-to-person contact may pose a risk. You’ll also hear Jerry and Rene McIver, the Chief Security Officer of SecureKey, discuss a new, secure method to verify a user’s identity remotely — online or over the phone — thereby providing safer and faster access to services and products.

Finally, you will hear from Gary Storr, General Manager of Chainyard, an IBM Business Partner who will describe the new Trust Your Supplier blockchain-enabled solution to speed the supply chain process while ensuring trust for buyers and suppliers during this critical time.

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Boosting supply chain agility and resiliency with blockchain

Today’s food supply is a complex choreography of globally connected networks. Yet many organizations continue to have only “one up” and “one down” visibility along the chain. As a consequence, the food supply lacks true end-to-end visibility and access to trusted data in real-time, resulting in slow, sub-optimal decision-making and limited resiliency.

But with blockchain and the Internet of Things, food companies and retailers are connecting to share select data — with whom they choose — in near real-time. Raj Rao, Food Trust General Manager, Tejas Bhatt of Walmart and Bob Wolpert of Golden State Foods will discuss in this session how these emerging technologies are elevating food safety and offering transformative supply chain operational efficiencies at a time when the world needs it most.

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In addition to the food supply, the pharmaceutical supply chain is central to global health and recovery. The Drug Supply Chain Security Act (DSCSA) Interoperability Pilot Program leverages the power of blockchain technology to increase end-to-end visibility in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

In this session, discover how a permissioned distributed ledger can help facilitate visibility into product location, movement, investigations, recalls and more while providing validated chain of custody information. Janakiraman Gopinath of Merck speaks with Arun Ghosh and Tegan Keele of KPMG about their collaboration with IBM, a FDA partnership, and the demonstrated success of the program.

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Due to recent supply chains disruptions, new suppliers need to be qualified and onboarded swiftly. Companies around the world are already participating in a new blockchain-enabled solution to speed the process for buyers, suppliers, and external validators to share relevant data in order to keep supply moving.

IBM Chief Procurement Officer Bob Murphy, IBM Supply Chain Executive Praveen Rao, RapidRatings CEO James Gellert, Dunn and Bradstreet VP of Data Solutions Brian Farley, and EcoVadis CMO Emily Rakowski, offer insights in this panel conversation on how Trust Your Supplier — the IBM and Chainyard blockchain-based solution — simplifies and accelerates supplier qualification, validation, onboarding, and life cycle information management while reducing the cost and risk of onboarding new suppliers.

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Trust Your Supplier is also leveraged to provide emergency supplier onboarding and inventory availability with IBM Rapid Supplier Connect. This solution makes it possible for hospitals and key support organizations to quickly connect with new suppliers of medical equipment to help battle medical supply chain shortages.

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How blockchain can help fuel the global economy

Access to trade capital has always been crucial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) — and for the global economy at large, considering they account for 99 percent of all businesses and generate 60 percent of employment. Banks have traditionally served as intermediaries and facilitators of trade finance deals, but many haven’t been able to fully develop their offering for SMEs; in fact, there’s a USD 1.5 trillion global trade finance gap, impeding the delivery of crucial jobs and growth.

In this session, you’ll discover how the blockchain-based trade finance network we.trade is challenging the traditional banking model and lowering the barriers between businesses and international trade for SMEs. CTO Mark Cudden outlines how we.trade partnered with IBM to develop a trading platform on the IBM Cloud that uses smart contracts and distributed ledger technology to provide new SME trading opportunities, ensure transparency, speed settlement, and reduce risk through better regulatory compliance.

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COVID-19 presents one of the most complex and daunting series of challenges humankind has ever faced. But unlike other moments of similar historical significance, we have technology to respond with speed, efficiency, transparency and a common sense of purpose.

Blockchain can provide the trusted platform to radically improve processes and share information in near real-time between businesses, governments, health organizations, clinicians, researchers and the public. Working together, we can used shared, trusted and secure data to remove blind spots, unlock insights, and improve efficiency, agility and accountability — all keys to solving this global pandemic and preparing for the road ahead.

See the full schedule of blockchain sessions at Think Digital

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