Just as blockchain technology is being aligned with the Internet
of Things (IoT), it is also increasingly being mentioned by those involved in
advancing artificial intelligence (AI). Indeed, some — including legacy
institutions like IBM and SAP — see a future involving the convergence of all of
The other week, I posted a
message on LinkedIn to call out Dell Technologies on its recent, high-profile
announcement of an Internet of Things (IoT) initiative.
The tech giant plans to invest
$1 billion in IoT developments over the next three years, CEO Michael Dell told
an audience at a corporate event in New York City. But it seems that none of
that money will go toward blockchain initiatives, as the technology was never
mentioned during any of the presentations.
The recent news regarding Oracle and blockchain technology
is really important. In some ways, Oracle’s
embrace of the blockchain is more significant than IBM’s big bet on the
technology and Microsoft’s support for it.
While Oracle’s blockchain ambitions were socialized over the
summer via blog posts and low-key presentations, the official launch of the Oracle Blockchain Cloud
Service took place at the company’s annual Oracle OpenWorld conference on
Cloud Service provides enterprise-grade blockchain capabilities and is able to
accelerate innovation for on-premises [enterprise resource planning (ERP)] and
cloud-based [Software as a Service (SaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS)]
customers,” noted Amit Zavery, senior vice president of Oracle Cloud Platform.
Since launching the Hyperledger Project, IBM has elevated
its blockchain focus to align it with its cloud business and its activities in
artificial intelligence and IoT architectures.
IBM’s blockchain business is still in its early days. Numbers have not been
published but its investment has been huge and now some revenue is trickling
in. According to a report published in April by International Data Corp, blockchain
has the “potential
to become one of [IBM’s] fastest-growing sources of revenue starting in 2017.”
Indeed, the company has initiated more than 400 customer projects involving
blockchain technology and it’s involved in some high profile work in the post-trade
derivatives processing space with the Depositary Trust & Clearing Corp.,
automating trade finance with a consortium of European banks, improving
logistics with Maersk and advancing food safety initiatives with a consortium
led by Walmart.
Since IBM threw its hat into the blockchain ring, a few similarly-sized global
IT vendors have also begun to set out their visions with regards to blockchains
and most of that activity has been taking place this year. Among the IT
heavyweights, blockchain progress has been slow, but now some tangible momentum
is building. Here’s a roundup of activity to date from vendors that IBM might
think of as its peers.
In the world of financial markets, there’s an old saying (from
1984) attributed to former Citicorp CEO and chairman Walter Wriston:
“Information about money has become almost as important as money itself.”
More than 30 years later, that sentiment has surely become a
truism, especially in an age of fast, global communications, flash crashes, big
data analytics and digital currencies. It’s a market that Thomson Reuters knows well.