03 December 2020
Blockchain adoption is critical for the 5G economy to thrive
Next generation technology tools and applications have the potential to redefine the economy; blockchain will need to play a leading role.
There is no shortage of emerging technology applications and tools that are rapidly moving from the realm of science fiction to practical reality. Self-driving cars, the internet of things, smart devices for both individual and institutional use, digital twins of physical devices and all kinds of other new ideas are quickly becoming mainstream.
That said, and no matter what specific tool is being examined, all of these new ways of doing business rely on the information that is being communicated. Put simply, data needs to flow in real time, and do so in a manner that is encrypted or otherwise deemed trustworthy.
"Data needs to flow in real time, and do so in a manner that is encrypted or otherwise deemed trustworthy."
If blockchain had not already been invented or thought of, it would certainly be in development to address these needs. Taking a step back from the specifics of blockchain, it makes perfect sense that in order for this array of new inventions, products and services to operate as advertised, and create the economic growth that is predicted, the information that underpins these inventions must be secure.
A smartphone malfunctioning might represent an inconvenience, but if self-driving cars are hacked or other industrial devices connected to a 5G network are hacked, it can very quickly become a dangerous situation for all parties involved.
While a full-fledged blockchain policy might still be a pipe dream at this point, there are several specific components of the 5G economy that rely on successfully implementing and integrating blockchain.
Let’s take a look at just how integral the core components of blockchain are to this next stage of economic growth and development.
Data security. This is perhaps the most obvious connection between blockchain and the 5G economy that is rapidly approaching. Specifically, as more and more types of data and information are communicated wirelessly between sensors, devices, and all kinds of other tools, the importance of keeping this data safe is of paramount importance. Self-driving cars, for example, may already exist, but hacks and other technology failures highlight the importance of keeping these devices secure.
Blockchain iterations. Blockchain is not being developed and refined in a vacuum, and is actually a logical extension of current technology trends emphasising data mobility, transparency and analytics. The digital economy requires a network that can scale, is flexible enough to handle different kinds of information and can interoperate with existing technology tools.
"The digital economy requires a network that can scale, is flexible enough to handle different kinds of information and can interoperate with existing technology tools."
Much like how 5G technologies build on existing digital and technological infrastructure, blockchain runs on existing infrastructure being turbocharged with the development of other technologies. The recent launching of a blockchain and AI unit by the Korean Central Bank shows just how powerful the combination of blockchain with other technologies can be.
Secured automation. Automation is an underlying business trend that shows no sign of abating, and even though blockchain did not cause this trend to exist, the digitisation of virtually every service as a result of 5G will only accelerate automation. Automating subpar or substandard processes, however, will not create any economic value and might actually do more harm than good.
Blockchain-based smart contracts can provide a potential solution to this problem; since the contracts and executory clauses included therein need to be reviewed as a part of the conversion of regular contracts to smart contracts, the risk of erroneous events happening will decrease. Especially when combined with other technologies such as robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence (AI) platforms, the implications of blockchain-enabled automation are exciting.
These are just a few of the ways in which it makes logical sense for the increased adoption and implementation of 5G tools and platforms to accompany more widespread implementation of blockchain technology.
"Data should be increasingly viewed as a competitive advantage and core competency for every organisation, and protecting this data should be a priority at every organisation."
As promising as this sounds, and despite the reality that these changes and shifts have actually already started, the promise will never fully materialise if customers and business owners do not have confidence in the data driving the process. Data should be increasingly viewed as a competitive advantage and core competency for every organisation, and protecting this data should be a priority at every organisation.
Blockchain, although not a perfect tool, is well positioned to address some of the issues that currently exist in the technology space, and could prove to be the secret sauce necessary to propel 5G adoption forward.sed adoption and implementation of 5G tools and platforms to accompany more widespread implementation of blockchain technology.