LIVE FROM AT&T BUSINESS SUMMIT – DALLAS, TEXAS: AT&T executives hinted a newly unveiled suite of blockchain services for business could prove a disruptive force for the enterprise sector, reaching far beyond initial applications for supply chain management.
Blockchain technology, which rose to popularity alongside cryptocurrencies, builds a digital, distributed record of transactions. This log creates a shared environment for the secure exchange of information, with any permissions required to access the details included.
The new services integrate AT&T’s IoT products with blockchain technology from IBM and Microsoft.
While AT&T is initially targeting supply chain applications in industries including healthcare, retail, and manufacturing, Mobeen Khan, assistant VP of IoT strategy and product management, told Mobile World Live there are uses for the technology in nearly every vertical. Prime examples include utilities and energy companies along with governments and the military, he said.
“It’s a capability a lot of our customers are starting to ask about, so we’re taking steps to make it available to them,” Khan said.
Chris Penrose, head of AT&T’s IoT division, added blockchain could become an increasingly valuable tool in a software-driven world. The technology could potentially be used to track firmware updates pushed out to devices on the network, he said.
Khan acknowledged there are limits to blockchain’s utility: “It’s not for everything. It’s not a replacement for cloud, not a replacement for databases”. But in cases where “multiple people need to share that data and have the auditability of that data, it makes a lot of sense,” he concluded.