Automobile giant Toyota has revealed that it has been in the process of setting up a blockchain lab since April 2019. Various Toyota Group companies will allow for information to flow across the company in a secure manner using a distributed ledger. The company is now gearing up for external testing, per Ledger Insight, March 17, 2020.
Focus on Identity and Data Sharing
Blockchain and automobiles don’t seem to go together at first glance, but when you understand the nuances of running an automobile manufacturing business, it becomes abundantly clear.
Larger companies like Toyota tend to run their own financing arms. They offer potential customers a loan at competitive rates for the purchase of their vehicle. Apart from financing, there are various other wings, such as servicing/maintenance.
When a customer avails different services, they have to sign up and verify themselves with each entity in a similar manner. The bureaucracy creates unnecessary work for Toyota and the customer.
Identity is the prime focus of this initiative, at least in the initial stages. It will help Toyota Group subsidiaries to share information in a clean and secure manner over a permissioned ledger. This ledger will cut out a lot of paperwork and save consumers time. As a result, Toyota could see improved business as the barrier to access for existing customers is removed.
Internet of Things (IoT) and Supply Chain
Albeit these are plans for later stages, Toyota’s automation plans are the most exciting part of their blockchain strategy. The company envisions a future where they collect vehicle meta-data and use it to run analytics regarding mileage and maintenance needs, as well as value-add services. Integration of IoT will allow customers to load a wallet, possibly with digital currency, and pay for tolls, parking, etc.
Supply chain management is a widely discussed use case of blockchains. Toyota’s ideas are no different than those already being implemented by Fortune 500 companies worldwide. For an automobile manufacturer, however, such a system offers enhanced process efficiency due to the number of parts required to assemble a single vehicle. Toyota can verify the integrity of automobile components and keep accurate tabs on production and sales numbers.