CeADAR Ireland’s national centre for Applied Data Analytics & AI, has announced that they have received €1M in funding from the Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund. CeADAR is a market-focused technology centre that drives the accelerated development, and deployment of data analytics and AI technology and innovation. The Disruptive Technologies Innovation Fund is a €500 million fund established under Project Ireland 2040 and is run by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation with administrative support from Enterprise Ireland. Over 300 expressions of interest were received of which 27 were funded

Funded by Enterprise Ireland, and IDA Ireland, CeADAR is headquartered in University College Dublin and is a partnership with the Technical University Dublin (formerly the Dublin Institute of Technology). Focusing on the areas of predictive analytics, machine, and deep learning, real time analytics, visualisation, Blockchain, and Smart Contracts. Industry membership of CeADAR has grown significantly with now over 80 industry partners ranging from multi-nationals to indigenous SMEs spanning every industry vertical.

The funding is for one of Exertis’s current projects, Blockchain in the Technology Product Supply Chain, which aims to implement a production blockchain to transform the Technology Product supply chain, this is in partnership with CeADAR and Sonalake. Blockchain is a distributed, decentralised, public ledger, normally used to record transactions made with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, but it is much more than that.

Blockchain enables smart contracts which execute when certain conditions are met, can be used to share documents securely ensuring that they can’t be changed, and by linking the distribution of content to the original source it protects intellectual property.

Supply chains are hugely complex and involve coordination of thousands of entities like component manufacturers, sub-component manufacturers, consumers, resellers, distributors, shipping partners etc. Currently, supply chain management solutions are built on a model of bilateral point-to-point relationships between individual contracting parties, effectively meaning that trading partners only have visibility to their immediate suppliers and immediate customers.

Since no single entity owns the materials from start to finish, no one party can centrally track and make available the data related to orders and provenance. In the supply chain of a single finished good, the same entity can simultaneously be a buyer, a seller and a competitor to another entity. As a result, relationships are underwritten with legal contracts, but no single entity is typically trusted to manage order and status data from end to end.

CeADAR’s proposed solution is very innovative and some of its key aspects include:

  • Blending emerging technologies (blockchain & big data analytics) with an emerging business model and shared governance. The product will enable the processes between the parties in the supply chain, from the component manufacturer to consumer, to transform from their existing siloed state to a shared visibility of orders, control over product provenance, simplified financial reconciliation and advanced market analytics.
  • Many proposed blockchain based solutions across different industries and application areas fail in practice due to the fact that they are developed to replace existing legacy systems forcing business processes to be abandoned. This is because it is challenging to merge the blockchain paradigm with the existing system and business model paradigms. The proposed solution addresses this by focussing on how to integrate a blockchain based solution with existing legacy systems such that the two can work together. It is anticipated then that over time as the benefits of a blockchain based solution become more apparent, that more and more supply chain functions will be migrated to the blockchain platform.

Dr Oisin Boydell, Head of Applied Research, CeADAR (UCD), pictured above said:

Blockchain has huge disruptive potential, but so far this hasn’t been realised in many real-world applications. We’re very excited to be working with Exertis and Sonalake in bringing this transformative and paradigm shifting capability to the technology supply chain, which enables the journey from raw components to a finished product for every technology product we use and rely on in our everyday lives. Our approach which is based on the blockchain/distributed ledger model allows for greater communication and sharing of data between participants as well as enabling a shared governance model, which all go to provide many benefits over current supply chain management approaches such as improved demand visibility, guaranteeing provenance, and the ability to leverage advanced analytics”.

Edward McDonnell, the Centre Director, pictured above added:

 “CeADAR is delighted to have been awarded funding under the Government’s DTIF initiative. The Grand Challenge we posed along with Exertis & Sonalake, our innovative partner companies, is to deliver positive disruption into the technology of global supply chains. In addition, this funding gives Ireland a global competitive advantage in both the application of Blockchain technology and as its global testbed”.

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