December 7th, the blockchain ecosystem network kicked-off at the World Trade Center building in The Hague. With 30 inspiring speakers from across the globe and 180+ attendees, the scene was set for 2017.
The World Economic Forum has called blockchain one of the seven potentially most world changing technologies, with possible uses ranging from healthcare, the food industry, energy, smart industry, all the way to logistics and government. The aim of the blockchain ecosystem network is to focus on the use cases and the human factor - to have a knowledge platform to let people understand the importance, functionality and how to overcome the challenges of disruptive technologies such as Blockchain.
As the deputy mayor, Ingrid van Engelshoven, explained in her welcome key note, Blockchain can be considered the glue for smart contracts in many verticals. It will have a significant impact on society. The Hague Security Delta is the largest security cluster in Europe. Businesses, Governments and knowledge institutions work together on innovations and knowledge in the field of cyber security, national an urban security, protection of infrastructure and forensics. The Blockchain, with deep crypto technology embedded touches all of this. All industries will be affected by Blockchain technology, some more then others.
180+ attendees came to the event. The atmosphere was filled with energy and curiosity. People came to learn and exchange ideas. The first panel discussion headed by Richard Kastelein of Blockchain news, set the tone for the rest of the day. Representatives from Blockchain labs of IBM, KPN and the Rotterdam Port were asked though questions by the crowd. An interesting real life deployment utilizing the Tymlez blockchain stack was presented by Ewout van Haeften of CIB. He explained how Visa documents can now be security processed using blockchain technology. Former Forrester analyst Mark Dowd, lectured on how to manage disruption in organisations before Michael Reh introduced the enterprise grade platform build by his company Tymlez. Marloes Pomp presented the findings of 15 Blockchain studies in the Dutch Government.
After a great networking lunch, the afternoon session was kicked off by Dennis Martens who focused on the added value Blockchain brings in the insurance business. It was interesting to see how it would ease the whole process of experts and claims, but did also show that using a disruptive technological innovation will require a considerable transition process in this sector. After Dennis, we were taken along an overview of what Blockchain could mean on managing your identity in a distributed network. John Clippinger, engaged in the MIT Media lab, gave insights in permissions for different levels and different user groups. Aspects as privacy, data security,… are increasingly important and need to be well-though to engage end-consumer to participate actively in a digital revolution.
Karl Hoods took us to a completely different reality: children in war zones and disaster areas. Karl, as CIO of save the children, is confronted with harsh deadlines: being operational in desolated or destroyed areas in 24 hours to be able to help as many children as possible. No time for permissions or specific documents, gifts that would ideally be transferred immediately to the beneficiary, … all aspects that could be facilitated with Blockchain.
The next session brought 3 presentations on the broad field of supply chain management. Mariël van der Linden, Ericsson, showed what large companies already do in IoT and Blockchain and how to engage different sectors. Ericsson contributed to the World Prot Hackaton, where the student team of TUDelft won with a project using Blockchain to detect potential fraudulent actions in the supply chain. Wouter Raateland, Leon Overweel and Daniel Vos each allowed us some insight on the experience, the problem and the solution. The student-presentation was followed by a talk of Martijn Siebrand, program manager at the Dutch Institue for Advanced Logistics. Martijn focused on the process of bringing together different stakeholders for demonstration projects on Blockchain and on how having a feew immedialtely convinced many other parties to join.
There were interesting questions from the audience, active discussions during the break and the reception after the event. The afterthoughts showed the success of the event. It shows that Blockchain is more then a hype and that people are looking at ways how this will change their business.