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TECHNOLOGY

Impact of NFTs and Blockchain on Supply Chain

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Impact of NFTs and Blockchain on Supply Chain

In recent years, utilization of blockchain and NFTs in supply chains has gained popularity, given all the benefits it offers to the industry and how it makes work easier and more efficient in supply chain management.

For supply chain managers to remain competitive and maintain the most effective and modern processes, it is essential to be informed of emerging technology. An idea in particular, which optimizes how data is handled and safeguarded, is generating attention across international industries. Blockchain and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are now gradually paving their way into the supply chain management industry.

How Implementing NFTs in Supply Chains is Proving to be Useful

NFT, a blockchain-related technology, has tremendous logistics potential because it can guarantee considerably more precise traceability control. NFTs are digital records that allow for the unique identification of objects and their owners as well as the inclusion of specific extra information. The numerous supply chain stakeholders’ trust is enhanced because this information cannot be distorted. We now have access to the metadata for specific products, including information on their current owner, location, and attributes like weight, size, and certifications. As the item moves along the supply chain, the NFT, which is still kept in the blockchain network, receives updates with this information. It is possible to get a credible, thorough history of the product’s overall journey, from its origin until the moment the items reach their destination. Basically, NFTs add value to the supply chain management system in three ways :

1. Accountability

NFTs enable us to identify the person in charge of a certain product at any particular point in time.  Furthermore, the delivery of the product will not take place if the responsible party has not received the NFT, just as it will not be possible to send an NFT if the counterparty refuses to accept it.

2. Security

Information is sent securely among all parties involved in the supply chain. To prevent entered data from being manipulated, erased, or replicated without permission, NFT information is saved on the blockchain network as a smart contract.

3. Transparency

Knowing the logistical and manufacturing procedures the commodities have undergone, as well as where they have been and how long they have been there, is essential when working with perishable goods such as food, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and/or pharmaceutical products. NFT technology enables complete transparency, making it possible for anyone to get real-time access to complete product traceability information.

How Blockchain Is Beneficial for the Supply Chain

Companies can now track all kinds of transactions more securely and transparently, thanks to blockchain technology. The effect on the supply chain function could be enormous. Diamond tracking, food safety, oil supply chain and pharma supply chain are some of the main use cases of blockchain technology in logistics. The various benefits of blockchain for supply chain management are as follows:

How_Blockchain_Is_Beneficial_for_the_Supply_Chain.png

Increasing Traceability and Visibility


Businesses can use blockchain to track a product’s history from its point of origin to its present location. A secure record of every transaction involving a product is created, providing a complete history from production through a sale.
 
Supply chain networks can be limited to one-up/one-down visibility. Blockchain supply chain solutions allow authorized parties better visibility across all supply chain activities, owing to distributed ledger technology, which offers a shared, single version of the truth.

Reducing Costs


The expense of moving goods can be minimized since blockchain enables real-time tracking of a product across the supply chain without the use of intermediaries. By eliminating these intermediaries, unnecessary costs, frauds, as well as the possibility of product duplication, can be reduced. Payments can be made directly amongst the parties of the supply chain using cryptocurrency, as opposed to relying on financial intermediaries like banks.
 
By integrating with and enhancing electronic data interchange (EDI) systems, blockchain technology could potentially assist various businesses in making enormous savings and minimizing inefficiencies. This will prove to be an incremental step in the supply chain once business partners begin exchanging papers digitally instead of using paper-based processes.

Helping Build Trust


For a product to stay credible and authentic, parties engaged in the supply chain must have mutual trust. Each stakeholder may access any old or new record, thanks to the timestamped data retained consistently in a blockchain-based supply chain solution, which enhances trust in the system.

Offering Reliability


A shared blockchain ledger provides a reliable and impermeable audit record of the transfer of information, stock, and revenue within a supply chain. Using a shared blockchain, businesses may synchronize logistical data, track shipments, and automate transactions. While doing so, they can transmit only the most relevant data without significantly altering their existing systems. Also, businesses can locate the source of fraud wherever it occurs with the help of comprehensive records.

 


For any business to succeed, innovation should be a forever on-going process. Integrating cutting-edge technologies in your organization is bound to give you an upper hand over your competitors. Utilization of technologies like blockchain and NFTs in supply chain management is expected to bring a revolution in the logistics industry like never before and its adoption at the earliest is what can take your supply chain business to another level.



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TECHNOLOGY

Next-gen chips, Amazon Q, and speedy S3

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AWS re:Invent, which has been taking place from November 27 and runs to December 1, has had its usual plethora of announcements: a total of 21 at time of print.

Perhaps not surprisingly, given the huge potential impact of generative AI – ChatGPT officially turns one year old today – a lot of focus has been on the AI side for AWS’ announcements, including a major partnership inked with NVIDIA across infrastructure, software, and services.

Yet there has been plenty more announced at the Las Vegas jamboree besides. Here, CloudTech rounds up the best of the rest:

Next-generation chips

This was the other major AI-focused announcement at re:Invent: the launch of two new chips, AWS Graviton4 and AWS Trainium2, for training and running AI and machine learning (ML) models, among other customer workloads. Graviton4 shapes up against its predecessor with 30% better compute performance, 50% more cores and 75% more memory bandwidth, while Trainium2 delivers up to four times faster training than before and will be able to be deployed in EC2 UltraClusters of up to 100,000 chips.

The EC2 UltraClusters are designed to ‘deliver the highest performance, most energy efficient AI model training infrastructure in the cloud’, as AWS puts it. With it, customers will be able to train large language models in ‘a fraction of the time’, as well as double energy efficiency.

As ever, AWS offers customers who are already utilising these tools. Databricks, Epic and SAP are among the companies cited as using the new AWS-designed chips.

Zero-ETL integrations

AWS announced new Amazon Aurora PostgreSQL, Amazon DynamoDB, and Amazon Relational Database Services (Amazon RDS) for MySQL integrations with Amazon Redshift, AWS’ cloud data warehouse. The zero-ETL integrations – eliminating the need to build ETL (extract, transform, load) data pipelines – make it easier to connect and analyse transactional data across various relational and non-relational databases in Amazon Redshift.

A simple example of how zero-ETL functions can be seen is in a hypothetical company which stores transactional data – time of transaction, items bought, where the transaction occurred – in a relational database, but use another analytics tool to analyse data in a non-relational database. To connect it all up, companies would previously have to construct ETL data pipelines which are a time and money sink.

The latest integrations “build on AWS’s zero-ETL foundation… so customers can quickly and easily connect all of their data, no matter where it lives,” the company said.

Amazon S3 Express One Zone

AWS announced the general availability of Amazon S3 Express One Zone, a new storage class purpose-built for customers’ most frequently-accessed data. Data access speed is up to 10 times faster and request costs up to 50% lower than standard S3. Companies can also opt to collocate their Amazon S3 Express One Zone data in the same availability zone as their compute resources.  

Companies and partners who are using Amazon S3 Express One Zone include ChaosSearch, Cloudera, and Pinterest.

Amazon Q

A new product, and an interesting pivot, again with generative AI at its core. Amazon Q was announced as a ‘new type of generative AI-powered assistant’ which can be tailored to a customer’s business. “Customers can get fast, relevant answers to pressing questions, generate content, and take actions – all informed by a customer’s information repositories, code, and enterprise systems,” AWS added. The service also can assist companies building on AWS, as well as companies using AWS applications for business intelligence, contact centres, and supply chain management.

Customers cited as early adopters include Accenture, BMW and Wunderkind.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

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TECHNOLOGY

HCLTech and Cisco create collaborative hybrid workplaces

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Digital comms specialist Cisco and global tech firm HCLTech have teamed up to launch Meeting-Rooms-as-a-Service (MRaaS).

Available on a subscription model, this solution modernises legacy meeting rooms and enables users to join meetings from any meeting solution provider using Webex devices.

The MRaaS solution helps enterprises simplify the design, implementation and maintenance of integrated meeting rooms, enabling seamless collaboration for their globally distributed hybrid workforces.

Rakshit Ghura, senior VP and Global head of digital workplace services, HCLTech, said: “MRaaS combines our consulting and managed services expertise with Cisco’s proficiency in Webex devices to change the way employees conceptualise, organise and interact in a collaborative environment for a modern hybrid work model.

“The common vision of our partnership is to elevate the collaboration experience at work and drive productivity through modern meeting rooms.”

Alexandra Zagury, VP of partner managed and as-a-Service Sales at Cisco, said: “Our partnership with HCLTech helps our clients transform their offices through cost-effective managed services that support the ongoing evolution of workspaces.

“As we reimagine the modern office, we are making it easier to support collaboration and productivity among workers, whether they are in the office or elsewhere.”

Cisco’s Webex collaboration devices harness the power of artificial intelligence to offer intuitive, seamless collaboration experiences, enabling meeting rooms with smart features such as meeting zones, intelligent people framing, optimised attendee audio and background noise removal, among others.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: Cisco, collaboration, HCLTech, Hybrid, meetings

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TECHNOLOGY

Canonical releases low-touch private cloud MicroCloud

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Canonical has announced the general availability of MicroCloud, a low-touch, open source cloud solution. MicroCloud is part of Canonical’s growing cloud infrastructure portfolio.

It is purpose-built for scalable clusters and edge deployments for all types of enterprises. It is designed with simplicity, security and automation in mind, minimising the time and effort to both deploy and maintain it. Conveniently, enterprise support for MicroCloud is offered as part of Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro subscription, with several support tiers available, and priced per node.

MicroClouds are optimised for repeatable and reliable remote deployments. A single command initiates the orchestration and clustering of various components with minimal involvement by the user, resulting in a fully functional cloud within minutes. This simplified deployment process significantly reduces the barrier to entry, putting a production-grade cloud at everyone’s fingertips.

Juan Manuel Ventura, head of architectures & technologies at Spindox, said: “Cloud computing is not only about technology, it’s the beating heart of any modern industrial transformation, driving agility and innovation. Our mission is to provide our customers with the most effective ways to innovate and bring value; having a complexity-free cloud infrastructure is one important piece of that puzzle. With MicroCloud, the focus shifts away from struggling with cloud operations to solving real business challenges” says

In addition to seamless deployment, MicroCloud prioritises security and ease of maintenance. All MicroCloud components are built with strict confinement for increased security, with over-the-air transactional updates that preserve data and roll back on errors automatically. Upgrades to newer versions are handled automatically and without downtime, with the mechanisms to hold or schedule them as needed.

With this approach, MicroCloud caters to both on-premise clouds but also edge deployments at remote locations, allowing organisations to use the same infrastructure primitives and services wherever they are needed. It is suitable for business-in-branch office locations or industrial use inside a factory, as well as distributed locations where the focus is on replicability and unattended operations.

Cedric Gegout, VP of product at Canonical, said: “As data becomes more distributed, the infrastructure has to follow. Cloud computing is now distributed, spanning across data centres, far and near edge computing appliances. MicroCloud is our answer to that.

“By packaging known infrastructure primitives in a portable and unattended way, we are delivering a simpler, more prescriptive cloud experience that makes zero-ops a reality for many Industries.“

MicroCloud’s lightweight architecture makes it usable on both commodity and high-end hardware, with several ways to further reduce its footprint depending on your workload needs. In addition to the standard Ubuntu Server or Desktop, MicroClouds can be run on Ubuntu Core – a lightweight OS optimised for the edge. With Ubuntu Core, MicroClouds are a perfect solution for far-edge locations with limited computing capabilities. Users can choose to run their workloads using Kubernetes or via system containers. System containers based on LXD behave similarly to traditional VMs but consume fewer resources while providing bare-metal performance.

Coupled with Canonical’s Ubuntu Pro + Support subscription, MicroCloud users can benefit from an enterprise-grade open source cloud solution that is fully supported and with better economics. An Ubuntu Pro subscription offers security maintenance for the broadest collection of open-source software available from a single vendor today. It covers over 30k packages with a consistent security maintenance commitment, and additional features such as kernel livepatch, systems management at scale, certified compliance and hardening profiles enabling easy adoption for enterprises. With per-node pricing and no hidden fees, customers can rest assured that their environment is secure and supported without the expensive price tag typically associated with cloud solutions.

Want to learn more about cybersecurity and the cloud from industry leaders? Check out Cyber Security & Cloud Expo taking place in Amsterdam, California, and London. Explore other upcoming enterprise technology events and webinars powered by TechForge here.

Tags: automation, Canonical, MicroCloud, private cloud

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