“The anti-theft sticker is a prime example of the importance of applied research and of the collaborative approach to developing new innovations.”
The security of valuable cargo could be given an extra layer of security thanks to the development of a prototype ID tag based on blockchain technology, safeguarding the location of the goods that are known only to their owners and the transport company moving them.
The tags, which are affixed to cargo with adhesive stickers, have been developed by the Finnish government-backed VTT Technical Research Centre and Streamr, a start-up specialising in real-time data, and are recommended for use on small, high-value items such as electronics, jewellery and even caviar. Each tag is embedded with sensors that can pinpoint its exact location, along with information on how fast it’s moving – data that could prove vital to recovering cargo should it fall into the wrong hands.
According to the tag’s developers, the new system uses the power of blockchain to connect parties previously unknown to each other, enabling them to co-produce and maintain databases in a decentralised and reliable manner. The aspect of blockchain that makes it so secure, and impregnable to hacks, is that once data is recoded it can’t be forged or altered retroactively.
In the case of the adhesive ID tag, the owners of the product protected by it can’t view accurate transport information on the goods unless the terms have been tampered with – the encrypted data is managed by a third party, such as Streamr, which in turn provides platform data and smart contracts for presentation and processing. This work represents the second stage of a business relationship that began in April, when VTT and Streamr created an advisory group that sought to empower companies to know more about blockchain technology and use it in their operations.
Speaking about the latest union between the two companies, the executive vice president of @VTTFinland, Tua Huomo, said: "The anti-theft sticker is a prime example of the importance of applied research and of the collaborative approach to developing new innovations,” adding that Streamr's experience with integrating contracts and real-time data, allied with VTT's blockchain knowledge formed “an outstanding combination”.
Transport Security World reported in March of a blockchain initiative by the shipping industry that would presumably be interested in the VTT and Streamr (@streamrinc) ID tags. Billed as an opportunity to ditch the paper-based documentation that could increase efficiency and save “hundreds of millions of dollars” annually, a four-company consortium comprising AB InBev, Accenture, APL and Kuehne + Nagel said that replacing paper with digital would also prove a big boost to security due to the fact that forgery of records would be near-impossible.
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