Rapid-fire pitch: Trimble presents blockchain solution, demonstrates smart contracts

Trimble Transportation offers a suite of transportation management software and telematics solution to the trucking industry. Trimble has been acquiring transportation technology companies, including TMW and 10-4, in an effort to build a universal transportation exchange since 2011.

Trimble introduced a blockchain solution based on Hyperledger Fabric and demonstrated smart contract prototypes at MarketWaves18 in Dallas for a group of transportation, technology and finance executives.

“A smart contract is like a micro application that runs kind of on a network. Everyone is familiar with the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store. When you go in there, you have millions and millions of applications. You download it, and you use it,” Trimble Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Strategy Vasanth Srinivasan said. “ That’s kind of the same concept here. You have a blockchain network, and then you can deploy multiple smart contracts.”

Srinivasan said he is often asked by people in the carrier space how a blockchain-based solution is different from a traditional TMS system. The only real difference is that completed activities in the work cycle are logged on the blockchain ledger.

He said the concept is that there will eventually be thousands of applications, so people can pick and choose which could work together.

“In a blockchain, you’re not alone. You’re actually working with other parties, so if there’s a question about where a transaction came from, [the system] can tell you where that information came from,” Srinivasan said, “In agriculture, it is very, very common for you to know where a shipment has originated, how it’s processed and how it’s actually sent to the end destination. So, this is one place where you can come in,look at all the transactions and really see the entire workflow.”

Srinivasan estimated that the final iteration of the project, allowing people to access and integrate thousands of applications is five to 10 years away.

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Ashley Coker, Staff Writer

Ashley is interested in the opportunities and issues that arise at the intersection of law and technology. She is the primary contributor to the news site content. She studied journalism at Middle Tennessee State University and worked as an editor and reporter at two daily newspapers before joining FreightWaves. Ashley spends her free time at the dog park with her beagle, Ruth, or scouring the internet for last minute flight deals.