More than four in five companies in the aerospace and defence industry have said they plan to integrate blockchain technologies into their corporate systems by 2021.
The figure comes from consulting firm Accenture, whose latest Technology Vision research found aerospace, at 86% of 30 respondents, was the third most popular industry – out of 18 analysed – when it came to interest in blockchain.
In ‘Launchpad to Relevance: Aerospace & Defence Technology Vision 2018’, Accenture explores the five facets companies in the sector need to become what the company calls ‘living businesses’. Some of the features correlate directly with the benefits of blockchain technology.
The report discusses data veracity, avoiding data manipulation and inherent bias. According to Accenture, 80% of aerospace and defence firms are increasingly using data to drive critical and automated decisions, with a similar number (73%) believing that automated systems create new data risks. Similarly, to become a ‘living business’, partnerships and the exchange of data needs to be frictionless. Almost two thirds (64%) of those polled say the size of their ecosystem has doubled over the past two years, with an overwhelming majority (90%) expecting to exchange more data with these partners in the coming two years.
The other three facets are based around other emerging technologies, with artificial intelligence – 83% of executives in aerospace and defence expect AI to be working alongside humans as co-workers and advisors in two years – particularly key. Extended reality, enabling the gap to be closed for interactions with employees and customers, was also cited, as was what Accenture describes as the ‘Internet of Thinking’ – agile infrastructure to provide ‘intelligence’ everywhere.
Yet in terms of blockchain, the veracity and transparency angles are what appeal most to aerospace and defence executives. Knowing the configuration of an in-service aircraft at any time is important, with companies believing the technology will help share, capture and authenticate data securely from a single source.
“Blockchain is well-suited to improve the performance of one of the world’s most complex,lobally interconnected and security-dependent supply chains,” said John Schmidt, leader of Accenture’s aerospace and defence practice in a statement. “This elegant and paradigm-shifting technology has the potential to deliver profound benefits for the hundreds of suppliers typically involved in the manufacturing of a single aircraft.”
This is not Accenture’s first exploration of blockchain technologies in this industry. Earlier this year, a different report (pdf) explored the relationship blockchain can have with digital twin technologies, arguing the two can combine for a powerful tool known as ‘digital thread’, helping share data throughout the product design, manufacturing, and maintenance lifecycles. According to a recent survey, 97% of organisations were using or evaluating digital twin technologies as a core component of their product innovation process.
You can read the full aerospace and defence Technology Vision report here (pdf).