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Blockchain: 2017’s Biggest Tech Trend?

Blockchain for Security, Transparency IEEE

To stay innovative, companies must constantly anticipate the next big disruption to their industry. This year, millions of dollars were invested in developing blockchain. While many business and IT leaders have heard how they need to get in on the blockchain game (Harvard Business Review’s advice to managers: start experimenting ASAP), it’s still not entirely clear how blockchain could benefit their businesses. While the most obvious application for it is to process financial transactions, enterprises and vendors like Amazon and Apple are exploring lots of other uses for the technology. MIT Media Lab is even using blockchain to issue academic certificates.

Having influential international organizations like the World Economic Forum weigh in has also helped boost blockchain’s profile. In June it said this emerging technology was on the cusp of “a new era of the Internet even more disruptive and transformative than the current one.” Blockchain’s “ability to generate unprecedented opportunities to create and trade value in society” means companies must think about current business models, maybe even revisit previously impossible opportunities, in order to leverage blockchain to impact the bottom line.

Forecasting for the long-term, researchers from Gartner had similar big beliefs about blockchain, claiming it “…will lead to a reformation of whole industries.” 

Other buzz about blockchain has come from increasing adoption within the IoT security space. Highly prized for its transparency and traceability, blockchain gained traction among IT and technical professionals in light of the ever-growing risk of unsecured devices being compromised.

It’s true that blockchain had a big year, and it’s certainly here to stay. If organizations are looking to unlock new business opportunities in the blockchain era, they must be agile enough to reinvent themselves at speed. Otherwise, they could get left behind.

Resources:

Iansiti, M. & Lakhani, K. (Jan-Feb, 2017). The Truth About Blockchain. Harvard Business Review.

Panetta, K. (17 Aug, 2017). Top Trends in the Gartner Hype Cycle for Emerging Technologies, 2017. Gartner.

(28 June, 2017) Realizing the Potential of Blockchain. World Economic Forum.

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