Defence and aerospace companies across the globe are gearing up to integrate blockchain technology into their corporate systems within the next three years, a new report has found.
The report, conducted by professional services company Accenture, found that 86 per cent of aerospace and defence businesses surveyed plan to integrate the technology into their corporate systems by 2021, a figure higher than the percentage for all but two of the 18 industries surveyed as part of Accenture’s broader Technology Vision research.
Blockchain is one of the fastest growing technologies and is a type of distributed ledger that maintains and records data in a way that allows multiple stakeholders to confidently and securely share access to the same information.
According to the Launchpad to Relevance: Aerospace and Defense Technology Vision 2018 report, blockchain’s secure, immutable and decentralised features can help aerospace and defence companies reduce maintenance costs, increase aircraft and vessel availability and minimise errors in tracking parts.
"Blockchain is well-suited to improve the performance of one of the world’s most complex, globally interconnected and security-dependent supply chains," said Paul Mylon aerospace and defence lead for Accenture Australia.
"This innovative and paradigm-shifting technology has the potential to deliver profound benefits for the hundreds of suppliers typically involved in complex manufacturing ecosystems."
The survey findings point to numerous data challenges that blockchain technology can help address. Accenture’s research found that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of the aerospace and defence executives surveyed believe that companies will be grappling with growing waves of corrupted insights as more falsified data infiltrates their data-driven information systems.
In addition, 73 per cent of them believe that organisations are basing their most critical systems and strategies on data – yet many have not invested in the capabilities to verify the accuracy of that data. The same number, 73 per cent, also believe that automated systems create new risks, including fake data, data manipulation and inherent bias.
Blockchain can help ferret out falsified data and verify its veracity because it provides a secure and unchangeable data chain. The technology can also help track and provide consistent aircraft configuration data throughout the supply chain, as aircraft manufacturers, maintenance providers and airlines currently keep track of configuration data in their own systems yet rarely if ever integrate that information with other companies’ data.
"Knowing the actual configuration of an in-service aircraft or ship as examples at any point in time is important," Mylon said
"Blockchain enables aerospace and defence companies to securely share, capture and authenticate data from a single source."
Among other key findings, the report found that 67 per cent of aerospace and defence companies said their companies will invest in AI in the next year, with many focusing initially on production, security, research and development. Eighty per cent also said they expect that every human in their workforce will be directly affected daily by an AI-based decision by 2021.
Fifty-seven per cent will also invest in augmented reality and virtual reality in the next year, and nearly all (96 per cent) believe extended reality will help close the physical distance gap when engaging employees or customers.