During the recent Global IEEE 5G-IoT Blockchain Summit in Exeter, UNISOT’s co-founder and CEO, Stephan Nilsson, presented his company’s solutions to inefficiency in the current food supply system. The focus lies on global interoperability and data monetisation using IPv6 and blockchain technology.
Current problems in food supply chains
Nilsson explains that many companies face challenges in exchanging information due to inefficient supply chains. He highlights that the global supply chain’s efficiency from seed to plate is less than 20%, with Japan being the best at 20%, and Germany following at 17%, while the rest of the world’s supply chains are less efficient.
This means that on a global scale, more than 80% of food supply chains are wasted on resources, idle assets and tied-up capital – leaving massive room for improvement.
Nilsson noted that companies must now be able to change their suppliers and partners more frequently than before. This creates what he calls the “interface spaghetti mess,” a complex network of interfaces that are challenging to manage.
He emphasises the need for more efficient and secure communication channels between companies, which UNISOT aims to provide through their global supply chains, enabling companies to monetise their information and receive an economic incentive to exchange it.
A Universal Source of Truth
UNISOT offers a plug-in solution to SAP, Microsoft, and Oracle that enables companies to connect to a global data layer – the Universal Source of Truth (UNISOT). This integration simplifies the process for all companies by allowing them to connect with each other through a single integration.
It also enables companies to become an oracle in blockchain and create smart contracts and automatic scripting. To achieve this, the company creates smart digital twins, which enable every actor in the supply chain to manage a product and add information to it.
The technology also provides a digital product passport that can be scanned by end consumers to obtain information on the product’s sustainability, ingredients, and origin. This information helps with recycling materials and creates what Nilsson calls 360 global interoperability, which allows companies to prove the authenticity and quality of their products. UNISOT’s technology is particularly useful for midsize companies that may not have the resources to cover the entire supply chain in their system.
Showcasing the Digital Product Passport
To illustrate the usefulness of the digital product passport, Nilsson recounts experiences from working with a Norwegian seafood producer. While larger multinational companies may produce a lot of seafood, the quality may not always be consistent. However, smaller companies, some of which have been family-run for generations, often have high-quality products, but struggle to prove them to the market.
This is where the digital product passport comes into play. These passports would allow consumers to scan a QR code on a package of fish or any other product and receive provable information about the product’s sustainability and quality, as well as its journey through the supply chain. This would create a communication channel between consumers and producers, similar to the rating systems used by Uber and Airbnb.
Empowering food producers and consumers
The UNISOT founder explains that blockchain technology makes this possible by connecting all the actors in the supply chain and providing very specific traceability. For example, a small beer brewer was able to use the system to trace all the ingredients in their beer and create a QR code that could be scanned to provide information about the product’s journey.
The system would also allow consumers to support small farmers and other producers by donating money directly and receiving a batch proving their support. In addition, the system would make recalls easier by quickly tracing where a product has gone and what has been done to it. Ultimately, the digital product passports would give consumers the confidence to make informed choices about the products they purchase and support small businesses with high-quality products.
Further Use Cases of a Universal Source of Truth
The features of UNISOT are also of particular interest to allergy sufferers, especially since not all ingredients are always legible or listed at all. Nilsson presents a solution from UNISOT that allows allergy sufferers to simply scan a product. The data of the product is matched with personal preferences and accordingly, the app lights up green or red to indicate the compatibility of the product.
By employing digital twin technology and mass balance reconciliation, UNISOT can track every step in the supply chain, including inputs, outputs, and waste, to identify fraudulent activities or inaccurate reporting. The technology also allows for the management of product reuse and recycling, from parts to raw materials, for the creation of new products. The system can prevent cheating within the supply chain and increase transparency.
Food Supply Chain innovation through IPv6 and blockchain
Towards the end of the presentation, the CEO of UNISOT discusses the benefits of combining IPv6 and the BSV blockchain. He explains that this combination leads to higher data confidentiality, data integrity, and data availability.
BSV blockchain has one of the highest uptimes in the world, even surpassing Google and Facebook. The speaker also mentioned that this combination allows for data monetisation and IP-to-IP payments, which can be facilitated by putting a Bitcoin address in the IP address.
Nilsson points out that by implementing IPv6 with blockchain, there is now an economic incentive for everyone to start using it, as data can be priced and sold in microtransactions. He explains further that companies with big data centres can exchange and buy/sell data with each other using this system.
The Benefits of true peer-to-peer communication
Nilsson further touches on the nature of the BSV blockchain protocol, on which UNISOT is built. He mentions that transactions via its blockchain are peer-to-peer, as per the original whitepaper.
He noted that combining IPv6 and BSV blockchain allows for unique characteristics, such as cryptographic-generated addresses and the ability to exchange massive amounts of information securely.
He also addresses the issue of IP address scarcity, noting that with IPv6, there is an abundance of IP addresses available. This means that every item could potentially have its IP address, leading to more secure communication and encrypted messages between companies, entities and devices. The speaker mentioned that devices could have multiple IP addresses, with different addresses for different partners or even different messages.