Experts are already calling blockchain technology the next big thing, with the potential to revolutionize the way we do business. At the upcoming CEBIT (11 to 15 June), participants will reveal the business scenarios that have already become a reality, along with the latest concepts for the future.
Nerds, analysts and economists are all unanimous in rating the blockchain as an economic breakthrough. But what is actually behind the term “blockchain”, and why is this new technology such a game changer for our global economy? Every blockchain is essentially a ledger for a chain of digital transactions. Because all processes are stored in a decentralized, distributed fashion on millions of computers on the Web, the technology is considered highly secure, especially due to the prevention of any retroactive interventions or deletion processes.
Opportunities for automation and enhanced efficiency
The blockchain offers extraordinary opportunities for businesses to automate their processes and boost efficiency. The focus is on mapping business transactions that require the highest degree of confidence, predictability and transparency – from concluding contracts and sharing consumer goods (for example, car sharing) to transacting payments via cryptocurrencies like bitcoin or Ethereum. At the moment, digital currencies that may someday take the place of the so-called fiat currencies are the best-known use cases for the blockchain.
But experts also see a considerable potential for smart contracts – for instance, when renting out properties: If a tenant has transferred his deposit and wants to move in, he could automatically receive a digital key for the electronic lock on the apartment door without the landlord or any other party needing to take any action. The blockchain is also ideally suited for secure data transfer on the Internet of Things or for trading in renewable energies, which are fed into the network by local producers. Completely different areas of application are also conceivable: With texts, images or videos, for example, you can prove the origin and the processing steps if the corresponding data is documented in a blockchain – an effective tool in the battle against fake news.
Practical showcases, courtesy of IBM, Materna, SAP et al.
At Europe’s business festival for innovation and digitization, the blockchain is a key theme which will be highlighted in many different places. For example, at IBM. “In the digital economy, trust is more important than ever,” explains Matthias K. Hartmann, CEO of IBM Germany. “Using the blockchain, we can digitally map, track and exchange almost anything of value – without requiring a centralized control point.”
At CEBIT, IBM will be presenting what it says is the first commercial blockchain platform to be offered in the form of a software-as-a-service solution. To this end, the company is highlighting customer projects from a several different sectors. Working in tandem with logistics provider Maersk, IBM is developing a digital platform for global trade to ensure greater transparency in freight transport across national borders. Interested parties will also learn how other technologies – such as the Internet of Things – can be connected using the blockchain (open-air site, pavilion P34/35).
SAP is also demonstrating the innovative power of the blockchain with a logistics concept – an interactive touchscreen demo illustrating the emergence of a smoothie based on fair trade practices. Linked 3-D elements can be used to follow how the blockchain is revolutionizing digital supply chains. The showcase is intended to illustrate how the origin control system ensures security and increases efficiency (Hall 27, open-air site, pavilion P44).
Materna’s Citizen Blockchain project demonstrates how public administration can benefit from blockchain technology: In the future, citizens will be able to provide data from privately operated air measuring stations in return for digital tokens for a permanently updated fine dust map; these can be managed via app and redeemed online. Materna is looking for municipalities, districts and countries which are interested in participating in the project (Hall 15, Stand G54).
Mach AG (Hall 14, Stand H 58) is also providing information on the blockchain. At the “Future Technologies” camp, CEBIT visitors can witness the potential added value for their organizations which new technologies like augmented reality, artificial intelligence and the blockchain can provide. Special highlights include daily showcases for the use of augmented reality in connection with eFiles or the application of artificial intelligence in the context of document capture. In addition, MACH experts will be encouraging idea-sharing for blockchain use cases, for instance the management of processes and finances in public administration.
A CEBIT showcase at DXC Technology combines the megatrends of robotics and the blockchain: On the open-air site, you can watch a robot at work mixing drinks and receiving orders via a blockchain-based order chain. A marketplace for the monetization of data will also be on display (open-air site, Stand R62).
eCoin Investment specializes in solutions for easy access to the world of cryptocurrencies, including high-quality mining systems for carrying out transactions with bitcoin et al. At CEBIT, the company will present a cross-section of its products while featuring live mining and testing the crypto-knowledge of its visitors (Hall 12, Stand B36/1).
PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) plans to make the emerging Internet of Values directly tangible with its Blockchain Xperience on Friday, 15 June on the Expert Stage in Hall 12, where visitors will get to know how the technology works throughout the day, in one-hour simulations by becoming part of a blockchain themselves.
Also on Friday, 15 June, the CEBIT Blockchain Summit will take place in Hall 12 on the Center Stage, featuring top-class experts. The opening keynote speech will be held by Prof. Wolfgang Prinz, Vice Chairman of Fraunhofer FIT. Further lectures with a number of real-life practical examples will be given by Sebastian Epple, IBM DACH blockchain leader, Dr. Friederike Ernst, Secretary General of the German Blockchain Association, Dinko Eror, General Manager of Dell EMC Germany, Sven Korschinowski, partner of the auditing firm KPMG and consultant for corporations, banks and fintech start-ups, Kaales Lardi, Managing Partner at Lardi & Partner Consulting.
At CEBIT 2018, everything is geared to generating business, leads and bright ideas. With its exhibitor displays, expert conferences and prime networking opportunities, CEBIT is a triple-punch event covering everything essential to the digitization of business, government and society. The innovations on display in the d!conomy section of the show give IT professionals and decision-makers from the realms of business, trade and the public sector the tools they need to streamline and futureproof their operations by leveraging digitization to the fullest. The event’s d!tec showcase puts the spotlight on developers and startups and their disruptive business models, as well as on research institutes giving us a glimpse of tomorrow’s game-changing technologies. The d!talk conference program features visionaries, lateral thinkers, creatives and experts from around the globe. The d!campus is the beating heart of CEBIT – the place where everyone gets together for relaxed networking, street food and live music. CEBIT presents the digital transformation in a totally new way, while retaining its core focus on business, leads and more leads. The first day of CEBIT 2018 – Monday, 11 June – is reserved for conference attendees and journalists, with the exhibition opening on Tuesday, 12 June. The exhibition halls will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., with the d!campus staying open till 11 p.m. on those days. Opening hours on Friday are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. CEBIT Events Worldwide give Deutsche Messe’s customers even more ways of reaching their international clientele, e.g. in dynamic markets such as China, Australia, Thailand and Spain.