Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Thales blockchain demo for aerospace supply chain

Steve Rogerson
July 24, 2018



Accenture and Thales demonstrated at last week’s Farnborough Air Show in the UK a blockchain-based system that could help secure and streamline the complex global supply chains supporting the aerospace and defence industry.
 
Based on Hyperledger Fabric, a Hyperledger project hosted by the Linux Foundation, the prototype combines blockchain, IoT and other technologies – including Thales’s physically unclonable function for silicon chips and Chronicled’s tamper-proof cryptoseals – to track, trace and authenticate aircraft parts and materials.
 
Developed jointly by consultancy Accenture and French multinational Thales as part of Thales’ firmwide digital innovation programme, it provides a single, shared view of the supply chain – and an immutable audit trail – for partnering suppliers, manufacturers and operators.
 
“The aerospace and defence industry has one of the world’s most vast and complex supply chains,” said John Schmidt, global managing director for Dublin-based Accenture’s aerospace and defence practice. “Blockchain technology offers a new, elegant and secure way for the industry to track and trace myriad components while deterring counterfeiting and improving maintenance capabilities. Used in combination with technologies like digital twins and digital threads, blockchain could ultimately be a game-changing innovation for this sector.”
 
According to recent research from Accenture, 86 per cent of aerospace and defence companies expect to integrate blockchain technology into their corporate systems by 2021.
 
“Identifying counterfeit and grey-market goods in the aerospace and defence supply chain can be challenging,” said Gareth Williams, vice president at Thales. “Using blockchain in combination with cryptoseals and physically unclonable functions allows you to build a trusted history behind parts. This demonstration builds on the strong relationship Accenture and Thales have created developing innovative digital solutions for a variety of industries.”
 
Accenture is a professional services company providing services in strategy, consulting, digital, technology and operations across more than 40 industries and all business functions. It has 449,000 people serving clients in more than 120 countries.
 
Thales is a technology company for the aerospace, transport, defence and security markets. With 62,000 employees in 56 countries, it reported sales of €14bn in 2015. It employs more than 25,000 engineers and researchers.