Monday, 16 September 2019 10:57

Blockchain forecast to have ‘transformational’ impact across industries in 5 to 10 years

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Blockchain technology will be transformational across most industries within five to 10 years, with 60% of CIOs recently surveyed expecting some level of adoption of blockchain technologies in the next three years, according to a new report from Gartner.

According to David Furlonger, distinguished research vice-president at Gartner, CIOs expect this level of blockchain adoption “even though they are still uncertain of the impact blockchain will have on their businesses”.

“However, the existing digital infrastructure of organisations and the lack of clear blockchain governance are limiting CIOs from getting full value with blockchain,” Furlonger says.

On key industries and likely blockchain adoption, Gartner says banking and investment services industries continue to experience significant levels of interest from innovators seeking to improve decades old operations and processes – but only 7.6% of respondents to the CIO survey suggested that blockchain is a game-changing technology.

However, nearly 18% of banking and investment services CIOs said they have adopted or will adopt some form of blockchain technology within the next 12 months and nearly another 15% within two years.

“We see blockchain in several key areas in banking and investments services, primarily focused on permissioned ledgers,” said Furlonger.

“We also expect continued developments in the creation and acceptance of digital tokens. However considerable work needs to be completed in nontechnology-related activities such as standards, regulatory frameworks and organisation structures for blockchain capabilities to reach the plateau of productivity – the point at which mainstream adoption takes off, in this industry.

In the gaming sector and the “fast-growing” esport industry, Gartner says blockchain natives are launching solutions that allow users to create their own tokens to support the design of competition as well as to enable trading of virtual goods – and the tokens provide gamers with more control over their in-game items, making them more portable across gaming platforms.

“High user volumes and rapid innovation make the gaming sector a testing ground for innovative application of blockchain,” says Christophe Uzureau, research vice president at Gartner.

“Gaming startups provide appealing alternatives to the ecosystem approaches of Amazon. It is the perfect place to monitor how users push the adaptability of the most critical components of blockchain - decentralisation and tokenisation.”

In retail, Gartner says blockchain is being considered for “track and trace” services, counterfeit prevention, inventory management and auditing - any of which could be used to improve product quality or food safety, for example.

Whilst these examples have value, Gartner says the real impact of blockchain for the retail industry will depend on supporting new ideas — such as using blockchain to transform or augment loyalty programs.

And, once it has been combined with the Internet of Things (IoT) and artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain has the potential to ‘change retail business models forever, impacting both data and monetary flows and avoiding centralisation of market power’.

As a result, Gartner believes that blockchain has the potential to transform business models across all industries — but says these opportunities demand that enterprises adopt complete blockchain ecosystems.

“Without tokenisation and decentralisation, most industries will not see real business value,” Gartner concludes.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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