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“Blockchain” is the word on everyone’s lips in the tech industry, with vendors pushing it as a solution for everything from banking and finance to retail and apparel.
“We’re going to continue to see tech vendors trying to push blockchain as the solution to problems that may exist,” said Rebecca Wettemann, VP of research at Nucleus Research.
However, blockchain may not be “a privacy-effective or cost-effective solution” for all of them, she told CRM Buyer.
Product research is one area where blockchain does appear to show promise. Some in the apparel industry, for instance, have envisioned using blockchain technology with sensors sewn into clothing to track how and where the apparel is worn, providing feedback that would help manufacturers create products better suited to consumers’ preferences.
While privacy issues may be a concern for garment manufacturers, companies working with or investing in blockchain technology believe that in general, blockchain will facilitate customer engagement and co-creation, according to a report from the IBM Institute for Business Value, based on research conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
Other areas where blockchain could deliver benefits:
- Product safety and authenticity;
- Supply chain optimization;
- Operational processes; and
- Promotional strategy management.
Blockchain “basically says a transaction is valid without knowing precisely who conducted the transaction,” noted Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.
It’s a way to collect data from a large number of individuals while ensuring anonymity, he said.
This sort of data “can inform predictive analytics that can improve products dynamically as they’re manufactured,” Jude told the E-Commerce Times.
IBM researchers surveyed executives from 203 organizations in the consumer retail and packaged goods sectors across16 countries for its report, released earlier this year.
Respondents to the survey expected targeted business benefits — such as time and cost savings and risk reduction — as well as the opportunity to create new business models or to disrupt the industry.
The respondents wanted to expand new blockchain solutions to cover most aspects of their value chains, on both the supply side and for customer-facing interactions.
Other report findings:
- 7 percent of the respondents expected to have a commercial blockchain solution at scale this year;
- 18 percent already were working with and investing in blockchain;