GS1, IBM and Microsoft collaborate on blockchain standards


GS1, IBM and Microsoft to leverage GS1 standards in their enterprise blockchain applications for supply chain clients.


GS1’s global standards for identification and structured data enable blockchain network users to scale enterprise adoption and maintain a single, shared version of the truth about supply chain and logistics events—increasing data integrity and trust between parties, and reducing data duplication and reconciliation.

GS1 Australia’s Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Maria Palazzolo said, “Blockchain, like any other technology designed to exchange data across organisations, must be established on strong foundations. At its core, any supply chain implementation needs to be based on all involved parties agreeing on a common way to uniquely identify any item, location, shipment, consignment, asset or any other ‘thing’ that blockchain transactions relate to.”

“Trading partners must also adhere to common data definitions to ensure all parties in the chain can correctly interpret, and integrate, the ‘meaning’ of data in the blockchain. This is what GS1 has been doing for over 40 years across the globe.”

Data stored or referenced by blockchain networks can be structured for shared communications and interoperability using standards. For example, the GS1 and ISO open standards of Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) and Core Business Vocabulary (CBV) enable standardised exchange of data and item-level tracking.

Peter Carter from Data61 (CSIRO) said, “A blockchain is a generic technology platform. The data we store in the blockchain still needs to follow supply chain data standards, and integrate with existing systems that use those standards. We have already started research into the use of GS1 EPCIS standards on blockchain, and we are exploring how we can integrate smart sensors and packaging into the supply chain on blockchain.”

“What attracts many organisations to blockchain technology is the possibility of sharing data across corporate boundaries while maintaining a high degree of rigour and accuracy,” said Robert Beideman, Vice President – Retail, GS1. “We hope to make this possibility a reality for businesses by working with dedicated technology and industry partners—and together promoting a common business language.”

“We look forward to close collaboration with Microsoft and IBM, and will also engage with other blockchain technology companies for the adoption of GS1 standards to enable interoperability and decrease adoption barriers”, added Ms Palazzolo.