Combine blockchain and next-gen interfaces for real ROI
Sarah-Lynn Brunner: Good morning and welcome to our webinar: “Augmented Reality, Alexa & Blockchain – Made for Each Other”. My name is Sarah-Lynn Brunner and I’ll be your host for today.
Today’s presenter is Andrew Morgan. Andrew is the director of product marking at Apexon. He’s an experienced leader in strategic analysis, opportunity assessment, and road map execution. With his guidance and expertise, he has helped companies expand their digital initiatives to groundbreaking levels. Andrew has over 10 years of experience in working with a wide range of companies including global automobile, pharmaceutical, and technology manufacturers.
Additionally, he has directed the development of market first, such as life sciences applications, customer engagement programs and predictive analytics platform. Let’s welcome Andrew.
Andrew Morgan: Thank you very much, Sarah-Lynn.
Sarah-Lynn: Before we being, let me review some housekeeping items. First, this webcast is being recorded and will be distributed via email, allowing you to share it with your internal team or watch it again for later. Second, your line is currently muted. Third, please feel free to submit any questions during the call by utilizing the chat function on the bottom of your screen. We will answer all questions towards the end of the presentation. We will do our best to keep this webinar to the 30-minute time allotment. At this time, I’d like to turn the presentation over to Andrew. Andrew, take it away.
Andrew: Thank you again and thank you, everyone, for joining. My name is Andrew Morgan, just like Sarah-Lynn alluded to. Just to give you a little insight, here at Apexon, we’re a digital-first services and consulting firm, specializing in accelerating digital initiatives such as quality engineering, development, DevOps and any innovation. We have offices all around the globe and focus on complex industries such as financial services, healthcare, and technology.
Additionally, we have been doing this over a decade. When I say these technologies are made for each other, it’s because we’ve seen they can really enhance how people use any daily technology.
Without further ado, let’s get into it. Just as a brief agenda, what we’ll cover today. What is motivating the development and implementation of these technologies? Two, how can they really be used to provide the desired outcome? Three, what it really takes to put these technologies into action.
But first, let’s look at the digital ecosystem. There are four key areas within the digital ecosystem that drive new technology. These areas are aimed to enhance any of the six areas around it. Starting at the top left we have customer experience; down to product and service innovation; distribution, marketing and sales. Then top right digital fulfillment, risk optimization, and lastly, enhanced corporate control.
Now, this is important because what we’ll talk about today directly accounts for four of these areas. For Blockchain, it can directly enhance risk optimization and corporate control. Bots such as Alexa and Slack as well as the Augmented Reality both enhance customer experience and product and service innovation. This part is really key. In this digital age, the customer is king, and being able to engage with them in their desired format is absolutely instrumental. Especially since with our customers, we wouldn’t have any revenue and we would all be working somewhere else.
Speaking about customer experience, these statistics show why it is so important. 73% of purchases are influenced by customer experience and 43% of customers said that they would spend more on web purchases if they were more convenient. Think of ordering groceries from Alexa while you’re making dinner or an Uber while you’re getting dressed in the morning.
On the flip side, 48% of consumers made purchases on competitors’ sites after poor experience. If your company isn’t providing the optimum experience for your consumer, you can bet that someone else either is or will be soon. Additionally, you can see here the financial services industry is already seeing the need to enhance the customer experience by investing in IoT, Big Data, AI and mobile payment.
I briefly touched on two areas of what Blockchain can directly enhance, but let’s go a step deeper. Let’s look at specific areas and why it matters in the digital ecosystem. Blockchain is able to streamline operations through faster and simpler transfers, manage assets by converting tangible assets into digital tokens, reducing risk by consolidating data into a consistent format and creating a collaboration platform for all of these to occur on a secured manner. These are the instrumental basis and pillars of Blockchain.
Now when we talk about bots and Alexa and Augmented Reality where they come together and how they can actually compliment Blockchain, these bots can complement a Blockchain platform and enhance the vital customer experience we talked about by being able to be available all the time, imitate human actions, all while comparing multiple types of information and automatically connecting multiple systems. Really being that intertwining and engagement interface for a Blockchain.
Additionally, Augmented Reality really enhances consumer engagement by interacting with the users’ surroundings with contextual relevant information. Additionally, it is a visual extension of an organization. When you hear people talk about branding, brand equity; because of those features, augmented reality hasn’t even scratched the surface of what it can do for your consumer and brand.
Now I’m going to show you some excellent use cases of where this technologies can come together. In terms of Blockchain, let me first break it down in a very simplistic fashion. Blockchain is applicable for anything with a life history of event. An event occurs when any atom travels from one node to another. Here, the way the Blockchain works within those events is a new transaction is recorded in blocks, validation occurs via a consensus mechanism, then the ledger is updated before transferring to the second node.
Now, there are multiple types of Blockchain platforms depending on the viewing and validation access requirements. A private Blockchain is where there’s a permission ledger with a private shared quality where one organization controls the right to view and write and the ledger is maintained by that owner. A consortium is a permission but public shared ledger where the right to view and write is restricted and predefined by the group and maintained by a larger group owner. Then a public where a larger public ledger exists with the right to view and write is done so without restrictions and is publicly maintained.
Now let’s getting to the fun stuff. For this first use case I’m going to go over how Blockchain and bots can work in quality engineering. With all of our work at Apexon and accelerating digital initiatives and innovations we often found test automation was a huge issue. This is because there are fragmented systems within the software development lifecycle. Poor visibility for monitoring and tracing data. Lack of integration across organizations. Inaccurate reporting because of the complex data aggregation process and poor compliance due to inconsistent processes.
To account for all these challenges what we do is integrate multiple platforms such as JIRA, Bitbucket and Jenkins to combine user stories, code commits and build results as events on a Blockchain network to make sense. This makes sense because, like I mentioned earlier, Blockchain is applicable for anything with life history of events and software development life cycle is no different. Developers are user of products too, so there needs to be an increasing consumer experience and that is just as valid.
After those events are put back on the Blockchain, this is where bots like Alexa or Slack can be utilized to receive the historical data of test cycles, the current status of the projects and visibility to which employees are assigned to which projects, all via the dashboard.
Additionally, user stories can also be created via those same bots like Alexa or Slack and marked with a unique ID. Test cases can be assigned to run against the appropriate user stories, development in coach commits occur and the code branches are checked so the test automation can run, all backed by an endorsement policy. Here you see we have two different use cases in the way bots can interact with quality engineering, all within a Blockchain network.
For our next use case, I’m going to over how Blockchain bots can work together within payment interfaces. The example I’m going to use here is when you have multiple on an account. Let’s say different users like a son or a daughter on an Amazon account, ordering different things to different locations with different payment. Or a spouse or a partner on a bank account adjusting savings and investment parameters.
There’s a need of Blockchain in this environment because of these multiple users and parties involved and the need for the ability to view when and who makes these changes. Additionally, the need for bots like Alexa is there because of how users that interact with these interfaces to view or makes these changes. To walk through this example, let’s look at the next network example on the right.
Let’s say customer two on account one places an order via Alexa to an online portal like Amazon. The data and the ledger verifies customer identity and payment terms on the Blockchain platform. That verified customer data is accessed by the vendor, distributor, and manufacturer of the product. The product is shipped and the payment charge and ordering process is all done via smart contract. The shipping and receiving can be then communicated to that customer, customer two, from notifications on the exact same Alexa that they placed the order on.
Now let’s jump to the next use case. This is a fun one when you think about it and can really have a lot of great advantages. Here we’re going to explore how Blockchain and Augmented Reality can be used for structural engineering. The driving factors here are many people are working within the same plan, there’s the need for real-time updates in progress, there’s often a disconnect between what is actually planned and what is performed, and there are always delays in payments.
I’ve had a few family members within the construction industry and they always bring up how that payment and that plan is always different between what they expect and what they get. Walking through this example on the right, you’ll see an architect can develop a unique design and requirements in conjunction with an augmented reality application or even inside an Augmented Reality application.
They upload the plan inspects into a Blockchain platform. A smart contract is then generated and transferred to the general contractor who can actually go on-site and verify that all the natural surroundings, trees, whatever it may be and materials location will all work with that plan within that augmented reality application. Those validations by that general contractor that are made in the augmented reality are actually recorded on the Blockchain network.
Then the specific project such as foundation, windows or plumbing can be sent to specific subcontractors via smart contract. When that subcontractor is on site, they can again confirm the location of the needed materials or make any necessary changes. Uploading that information within the augmented reality application which is stored on the Blockchain platform.
When the building is complete, a smart contract is then sent to a city inspector who can verify the original design against the performed work. Who did that work and why any changes were made if they occurred? Again, all using that platform with the specific user permission similar to that private network given before and then on that augmented reality application.
For our fourth and final use case, I’m going to show you how we can actually combine all three of these technologies Blockchain, bots, augmented reality, in one. Here we’re going to look at patient prescriptions. Now, this is very important for two reasons, the counterfeit pharmaceutical industry, so people making fake drugs and selling them is in over $50 billion a year industry. A lot of money to be made by people doing unfortunate activities.
Secondly, all the baby boomers who have chronic illnesses and take medications daily, constantly have efficacy issues. They’re not always taking the right prescription at the right time or because of many reasons whether its side effects or they forget to take it. They also have issues with technologies that are intuitive because they aren’t like the Millennial’s of this day and age that grew up around the internet and cell phones.
Additionally, driving factors here are the lack of the ability to communicate those side effects, usability for anyone to refill prescriptions, whether they normally have to go through an online portal or call a doctor’s office. That is very time-sensitive or matter at times. Then many users make it difficult to correctly attribute all the data being aggregated. Again, looking at this network example on the right, this is how all these technologies can work together to eliminate many of these challenges.
The patient can simply scan a bottle in an augmented reality application, swipe in one direction to see side effects or report an issue. Or they may want to refill the prescription by swiping, clicking, or however the developer of that application chooses to implement those gestures and actions. Because of all this is recorded on the Blockchain, anything from swiping to reporting side effects is again attributed to that patient’s life history.
Now let’s look at refilling the prescriptions. There’s first a communication to the health insurance provider, who identifies the patient identity and verifies the plan. Now looking forward even, the patient identity can even be done via face ID or fingerprint scanner. Again, the latest technologies and innovations are really providing a lot of benefits for this market.
That verified data is integrated into the Blockchain platform, where the doctor, pharmacy, and manufacturer can verify the information and records based off their permissions. The RX dosage is determined and an automated insurance charge occurs via smart contract. Notification to the user can then be sent to their Alexa, so they know their prescription is ready.
This now allows the user who isn’t always on their phone or isn’t always in front of a computer to be notified when their prescription is ready to increase their efficacy, take the right prescription at the right time, and know exactly when it is they need to schedule their ride or go pick up their prescription. This is all very impressive considering all those issues that currently exist within the market.
Now, what does it take to put all this into action? Let’s take a look. Like I mentioned in my introduction, we’ve been doing digital acceleration and innovation here at Apexon for over a decade. The first thing we do is apply our core practices to the back end environment of our organization, from automating operations of quality engineering and DevOps, to implementing agile life cycles and even optimizing the existing systems with intelligent based actions such as data ingestion and aggregation for AI predictive and prescriptive models.
This is truly aimed at making the back-end development, operations and testing environments completely agile and be able to get their sprints and deliverables or get them in a sprint model within an agile methodology to get their deliverables to market as fast as possible.
Additionally, we have smart solutions so that consumer experience and engagement is always the top of the line. For example, our experience with wearables and other IoT devices how that needs to integrate with the development department, what testing is automated to get those functionalities to market and then how that user experience actually can flow back into the feedback loop to help determine product development.
To incorporate all these technologies, there’re still lots of challenges that exist. First, data, data, data. To get the correct action from augmented reality or bots, you need to have a vast repository of what those actions should be. If you don’t have good data, you aren’t going to have good results. As the saying goes, garbage in garbage out.
Second, those actions need to be trained to work correctly. Think about IBM’s Watson. It’s been around for a while sometime, but it’s really just starting to become applicable. This is because a lot of these solutions never have been and never will be simply plug and play.
Third, you saw from my use cases that there’s a lot of automated communication and verification going on. Level of internal automation needs to be very high. This is often where we first help our clients get to a stage of maturity where they can begin to even think about implementing any of this technology.
Lastly, every stakeholder needs to be committed. Otherwise, the true benefits of these technologies and the consumer experience won’t be seen beyond the R&D stage.
Speaking of that first challenge of data, this model shows how we take our customers and organizations on a journey to become more mature. We often find that companies are in that second column of quality analytics at the management expertise stage where there are data warehousing for reports. We strongly push and work towards that prescriptive action column so they can optimize and automate service those prescriptive actions within that technology in that testing development environment.
Sarah-Lynn: Great. Thanks so much, Andrew. All right, at this time, we would like to get everyone’s questions answered, and as a reminder, you can at any time ask the question using the chat feature at the bottom of your screen. Let’s take a look here. First question for you, Andrew, why do I hear more about Blockchain and speed in action other than cryptocurrencies?
Andrew: Great question. As I mentioned earlier, there still has to be a lot of training development around these tools. We’re actually seeing a lot of new technologies pop up. The Syrian platform, for example. Where not just used for cryptocurrency, but there are these technologies that are being developed, so these applications can actually be integrated within the market. We’re hearing a lot about where these can be applied, but often, the technology hasn’t quite developed to a stage where we’re able to actually make it occur and make it useful for all parties.
Sarah-Lynn: Great. Thank you. Another one for you, will Blockchain impact every industry?
Andrew: I wouldn’t say every industry. Anything with a life history of events can impact the ability to track and trace anything that is needed. I wouldn’t say that every industry can be impacted by it, but definitely most industries. Again, as technology is evolving across the industry and across the markets, there’s going to be more applications for it as we evolve.
Sarah-Lynn: Thank you. How long does it take to implement a Blockchain solution?
Andrew: That’s about the 600-pound elephant in the room right now. How long does it really take? When are we going to start seeing our benefit? What we really do with our customers, we look at what is their outcome they’re trying to achieve? Where they’re trying to go and what value is really needed? Additionally, how big that network is, and where that value needs to occur within that Blockchain network?
It really depends on how long they have and how quickly it needs to be implemented. It really varies case-by-case. I don’t want to put our development team in too much of a bind with any hard numbers, but it’s definitely something that once we look at the value and look at the size, we create that journey and that road map to get that value and get that outcome.
Sarah-Lynn: Great. Thank you, Andrew. I believe that’s all the questions you are able to answer at this time. Also, be sure to check out and subscribe to DTV, a new digital transformation channel that brings in industry experts. Again, many thanks to our speaker, Andrew. Thank you, everyone, for joining us today. You’ll receive an email in the next 24 hours with a slide presentation and link to the webcast replay. If you have any questions, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-408-727-100 to speak with a representative. Thank you all. Enjoy the rest of your day.