CWIC: Track 2

Blockchain

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Blockchain’s initial impact has been most keenly felt in the world of finance. However, the increased level of trust provided by the distributed encrypted databases that blockchain technology provides can benefit many other areas of industry and society. One example is in the Internet of Things in which the integrity and lifetime of a product can be irrefutaby monitored in a blockchain based database, ensuring ownership as well as warranty conditions. The security this provides will be an important enabler for the connected enterprise in order to ensure trust between customers and vendors who may be geographically located on other sides of the planet and yet wish to do business.

Blockchain experts at CWIC 2018

  • Derek Long

    Head of Telecoms & Mobile, Wireless and Digital Services, Cambridge Consultants

  • Peter Busch

    Senior Expert, Connected Mobility / Leader Automotive Blockchain, Robert Bosch Group

  • Alison Davis

    Lead Industry Solutions & Business Development Consultant, Telco, Media & Entertainment, IBM

  • Joshua Daniel

    Principla Research Scientist, BT TSO

  • Toby Simpson

    Chief Technology Officer, Fetch.ai

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Peter Busch, Senior Expert Connected Mobility / Leader Automotive Blockchain, Robert Bosch Group 'How Blockchain May Disrupt the Automotive Industry – An Insider’s View'
This session will look at the main disruption factors of Blockchain technologies and the impacts on the Automotive industry shown in three dimensions including data usage, market mechanics and cooperation models. Under special recognition of Bosch’s strategy on the IoT challenges the automotive industry is facing currently

Alison Davis, Lead Industry Solutions & Business Development Consultant, Telco, Media & Entertainment, IBM 'The power of blockchain. A Case Study of the Advertising Industry'
This session will outline how blockchain could be the foundational technology that enables much needed transformation in the advertising industry. With a focus on how industries are already adopting blockchain, and a case study of how IBM and Unilever are working together to bring transparency and trust back to the media buying supply chain, this session will help educate on the practicalities of adopting blockchain and where it does, and doesn't apply.

Joshua Daniel, Principal Research Scientist, Research & Innovation, BT TSO 'Blockchain in Telecommunications - Our experience so far and opportunities ahead'
This session will look at the various use cases that we are exploring as a Telco, the logic of selecting use cases and the challenges behind building and operating the POCs. The application areas will cover core Telecom operations, Billing, Cyber Security, IoT and Financial networks. The session will also cover the major technical challenges in adopting blockchain technologies and discuss the innovation required to progress its adoption.

Toby Simpson, Chief Technology Officer, Fetch.ai 'Blockchain and autonomous agents: a match made in heaven'
Imagine a future where autonomous agents, powered by AI, can communicate and transact with one another seamlessly. A world where this swarm of intelligent agents collaborate in order to solve our problems before they even happen. This is the future Fetch.ai is building and it’s all been made possible by advances in decentralised computing and blockchain. Join us to hear how AI, ML and Blockchain combine to help create a more effective digital economy.

Derek Long, Head of Telecoms & Mobile, Wireless and Digital Services for Cambridge Consultants and member of the CW International Conference Committee, provides background to the BLOCKCHAIN track.

When we sat down last September to start planning for Cambridge Wireless International Conference (CWIC) 2018 it was simple to list the technologies that were, or at least appeared to be, having most impact on the world of telecommunications.

It was easy to include subjects like 5G, space, artificial intelligence and of course blockchain. At that time blockchain was a tantalising technology, capable of eliminating security concerns, whilst ensuring agreement and trust. Best of all, it needed seriously high-power semiconductors to work and thus appealed to the "geek within".

Sure, we knew there were issues ‐ scalability, power consumption and capacity. The confidence we had that human innovation would solve these challenges, combined with the fact that few seemed to really understand how it worked, made the technology all the more intriguing.

But things have changed since then.

First of all, there was an article in December published by Kai Stinchcombe on hackernoon.com with the courageous title “Ten years in, nobody has come up with a use for blockchain”. His main thesis was that blockchain isn’t a particularly good technology and solutions based on blockchain end up being more complex than existing solutions. In other words, a double negative.

In April Kai went on to publish a second article in which he detailed his criticisms undermining some of the strongest arguments supporting blockchain, such as security and trust. Is this an example of a technology dramatically falling from the top of the hype curve to the trough of disillusion, or is there something to the criticisms?

Of course, there are two sides to every argument and for those working with the technology and the transformational impact it can have on transactions and asset ownership it is clear it offers huge opportunities if utilised successfully.

For example, Gartner recently published its review of blockchain where it predicted blockchain business value-add will be $176 billion in 2025 and over $3.1 trillion by 2030. They published another article in May stating that only 1% of CIOs are performing projects in blockchain and only 8% are planning to do so. They also stated that rushing into deployments could lead to failed innovations and rejection of a game changing innovation.

It seems clear that blockchain is a misunderstood technology and if it hadn’t been for Bitcoin most of us would probably never have heard of it. Like every new technology, its initial versions have engineering challenges and like every overhyped technology, the enthusiasm for its implementation led to painful discoveries of where it can and can’t be gainfully employed.

In the blockchain session at CWIC 2018 we will look at successful use cases of blockchain in industry and finance and how it has transformed the ability to create communities of trust.

We will also explore recent innovations to overcome the challenges of energy consumption and scalability, exposing the benefits of blockchain and how it can deliver the huge industrial and societal gains Gartner predicts.

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