Posted on

Samsung SDS Includes Blockchain Within Digital Transformation Framework

The development was revealed during president and CEO Hong Yuan Zhen’s keynote speech at Samsung’s Real 2019 event.

The president and CEO of Samsung SDS — an IT and consultancy subsidiary of the South Korean tech conglomerate Samsung Group — has revealed the firm is including blockchain as one of the key technologies for its “Digital Transformation Network.”

The development was revealed during president and CEO Hong Yuan Zhen’s keynote speech at Samsung’s Real 2019 event in Seoul on May 8.

In a press release accompanying the event, Samsung outlined that its Digital Transformation Framework aims to leverage technological solutions in support of digital innovation for sectors such as manufacturing, marketing/sales and management systems, among others.

Among its declared core competencies in terms of technical and industry know-how, the firm listed blockchain technology under the canopy of “innovative technology and platforms” — alongside artificial intelligence (AI) and internet of things technology.

As Cointelegraph has reported, Hong Yuan Zhen has previously affirmed his belief that blockchain can improve productivity in the manufacturing industry, similarly contextualizing its potential within the context of its combination with AI.

The Samsung SDS subsidiary has previously delved into blockchain via a partnership with major Dutch bank ABN AMRO on a pilot to use the technology for shipping. In summer 2018, Samsung SDS launched its own blockchain platform for finance-related businesses, “Nexfinance,” as well as a further blockchain implementation that targets the logistics industry.

This February, Samsung SDS announced it had developed technology to speed up blockchain transactions, dubbed “Nexledger Accelerator,” which had passed testing with Hyperledger Fabric.

In April, Indian IT giant Tech Mahindra revealed it would be expanding its existing use of Samsung SDS’ “Nexledger” enterprise blockchain platform.

Later in April, the subsidiary unveiled “Nexledger Universal,” a new version of its enterprise blockchain platform, which offers an application programing interface that can be applied to different blockchains such as Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric and the firm’s own Nexledger Consensus Algorithm.

Posted on

Blockchain Standardization Tops Chinese IT Ministry's 2018 Agenda

China’s Ministry of Information Technology and Industry has put blockchain standardization high up on its list of priorities for 2018.

According to an official announcement on Friday, the ministry’s Information and Software bureau has outlined seven major areas of focus in its 2018 agenda, four of which will cover standardization initiatives that relate to the blockchain space.

Top of list, based on the announcement, is the formation of a dedicated committee that will seek to develop and roll out a standardized framework for blockchain use in the country.

While the new follows a previous report that the bureau already formally announced the formation of the committee, it hints that the agency is making a stronger drive at a high level to ensure the country stays ahead in blockchain development, which was widely praised at the country’s annual political event in early March.

The new agenda also speaks to recent efforts taken by the ministry in a reported Australian tour with major Chinese internet giants in bid to learn from Australia’s experience in leading blockchain standardization works.

As reported previously, Standards Australia was chosen in 2016 to spearhead a technical committee developing blockchain tech standards under the oversight of the International Organization of Standardization.

Other areas of focus in the latest agenda will aim at widening collaboration with global standardization organizations, as well as developing more specific frameworks for blockchain technology such as distributed ledger infrastructure and smart contracts.

In a separate note, also published Friday, the bureau said it hosted a seminar on Thursday with major organizations and companies from the industrial sector to discuss blockchain use cases and challenges in the area.

China flag image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Posted on

The US Government Needs an IT Reboot – And It Wants the Blockchain's Help

Uncle Sam wants to make government more transparent and accountable, and blockchain will be part of the solution.

At least that’s the message the Emerging Citizen Technology (ECT) program, an inter-agency working group within the U.S. government, is now seeking to deliver to blockchain entrepreneurs and businesses.

Today, representatives from government agencies and the private sector will convene to draft the Fourth U.S. National Plan of Action for Open Government – a set of goals and deliverables on how blockchain, artificial intelligence and smart automation can be leveraged to improve bureaucracies and bring antiquated IT systems up to speed.

According to those involved, it’s this willingness that makes the effort stand apart, since many claim work within the government is done in uneasily tapped bureaucratic silos.

Justin Herman, head of the ECT program at the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), told CoinDesk:

“This isn’t what we’d call a ‘participatory theater’ where we say we’re taking in the voices of people but we’re not really reading the comments. This truly is ‘We want to hear from people; we want ideas on the table.'”

Participants in today’s workshop include blockchain and non-blockchain companies, as well as groups and associations with an interest in the technology, such as the Chamber of Digital Commerce, New America and R Street Institute.

“One of the challenges we face in the public sector blockchain community is that often people have a hard time differentiating between the federal government and regulators. People hear ‘the government is getting interested in blockchain’ and they think regulators instead of thinking partners, collaborators or contributors,” Herman said. 

Knowledge gap

Herman sees this ideation process as important for countering the many commonly held misconceptions about the government and its approach to technology.

By leaning heavily on the wisdom of the collective blockchain crowd, he hopes to help shift the narrative so that private sector innovators think of the government as co-creators.

And this is particularly important, he believes, as the chasm grows between the U.S. government’s interest in blockchain and the institutional knowledge and understanding of the technology within the various agencies.

“The investment is happening right now. The decisions are being made right now, and we don’t have enough partners in the private sector who can give time to just meet with federal agencies and walk them through the process,” Herman said.

This could be problematic since taxpayers will ultimately be on the hook for clumsy or misguided federal IT solutions that don’t deliver.

“There’s a steep learning curve. The worst thing that could possibly happen is agencies get a half idea of what blockchain is and move forward in the wrong way,” he said, adding:

“We’ve even seen some companies trying to sell blockchain services that aren’t even blockchain to agencies.”

Action plan

As such, once the National Action Plan (NAP) draft document is complete, it will be opened up to the broader blockchain community for comments, suggestions and new ideas before a final version is codified.

The NAP is drafted every two years pursuant to the U.S.’s membership in the Open Government Partnership – a group of 75 countries that have committed to using innovative solutions to improve government responsiveness to citizens.

It seeks to put forth a series of “bold and ambitious, yet achievable and measurable” goals for how the public sector can use technology to be more transparent and accountable to its citizens, explained Herman.

Herman, who authored the most recent such report, stressed that blockchain is a hot topic in government circles. Point in case, the GSA, where Herman works, has separately begun moving forward in developing a blockchain-based prototype for IT procurement.

He concluded:

“This will be the first time that we are elevating blockchain to the level of proposing national goals, specifically for transparency and accountable government.”

Old computers image via Shutterstock

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is an independent media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. Interested in offering your expertise or insights to our reporting? Contact us at [email protected].