How to innovate on blockchain … follow my ex-USAF 1953 Piper Cub
Ever heard of blockchain? Looking for a new way for multi-party networks handling digital assets?
If BITCOIN rings a bell, in a nutshell blockchain is the underlying technology.
The blockchain is a decentralized system, with no single entity controlling it. The servers keeping its backbone upright are scattered across the globe, and for that reason the technology is transparent; everyone can see its anonymized data. It could replace notaries, as every transaction is time stamped automatically and receives a unique ID. And because there are no intermediaries involved, information is transferred instantly.
Blockchain comes into play when a sequence or specific time of events is important i.e.
• Records must not be changed, re-ordered or removed
• Information transparency required– no censorship, availability of public information
• Transaction consistency for interaction between untrusted participants
Two of my passions are aviation and the latest technology trends. I test drive latest technology trends using my 1953 ex-USAF Piper Cub as a guinea pig for storytelling and explaining technology.
Today, my 63-year-old Piper cub still has to run with a paper logbook to keep track of name of the pilot, airport departure, airport landing, flight time, number of landings, total time, maintenance activities like annual inspections / 25 h / 50 h / 100 h, etc.
Currently we use an email / EXCEL based work around to synchronize the logbook information between the maintenance facility and my co-owner.
So what is next?
I was looking for a Digital Logbook that I could share with multiple parties keeping everyone in sync and where records cannot be altered / tampered with. So I started to look at blockchain.
Each flight the Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) of my Piper Cub runs on my iPad to navigate.
As my Piper Cub has no flaps, slip to landing is mandatory and really fun …
Watch Approach and Landing in EDGF
while the EFB on my lap automatically captures Take Off / Landing / Location / Flight time.
After each flight my Electronic Flight bag sends the data via Email in an EXCEL Format to the SAP HANA Cloud Platform (HCP). The HANA Cloud Platform calculates remaining time until next inspection, creates alerts and feeds the blockchain as “Digital Logbook” of my Piper Cub.
In blockchain the logged events (Take off / Landing / Duration of flight / Number of Landings / Maintenance activities) become transactions that cannot be altered anymore. Airworthiness relevant document such as annual inspection can be added as Digital Document, e.g. a hash of a JPEG to the blockchain by the maintenance facility.
The following screenshots shows three flights of my Piper Cub as transactions in a blockchain. We are feeding the line of the Logbook with Date / Pilot / Takeoff Airport / Airport landing / Takeoff Time / Landing Time / Number of Landings to the blockchain.
Here the in the Browser version the MultiChain Explorer shows the single transactions on the blockchain.
This software reads the MultiChain block file, transforms and loads the data into a database, and presents a web interface similar to that popularized by Bitcoin block explorers like
http://blockexplorer.com/. See https://github.com/MultiChain/multichain-explorer.
Now looking at the transaction in detail:
This is an example of a blockchain transaction that describes one flight. Every permissioned participant can view the data in the blockchain.
Involved parties can take the published information, convert it back into readable format and therefore see what has happened to the plane.
The blockchain now has become my digital logbook. It covers the whole life of my Piper Cub. It includes all flights, all maintenance activities and airworthiness documents. This sharing of information actually works into all directions. Now the Maintenance Facility has entered that two wings have been overhauled and aircraft released to service:
To prove the Release to Service the hash of the following picture was also uploaded to the blockchain. The JPEG File now can be verified by all parties:
This is essential information for my co-pilot, myself, the maintenance facility and maybe in the future the aviation authorities.
In a nutshell: the blockchain of my Piper Cub can easily be shared, cannot be altered but can always enhanced.
Below is the verification that the picture of the document “aircraft release to release” is verified against the blockchain using the SAP Innovation Center Verify Files with time stamp. The pictures of the Electronic Flight Bag ( Route & Flight Log ) of my blog are verified.
Digital documents, like Pictures can easily verified via the hash in blockchain. It works like a notary. It was a simple as that:
I took the picture of the route of my flight from above, loaded the hash to the bockchain ( somewhat a digital fingerprint ).I send two two similar pictures to a friend and he could determine the valid one as he compared the hash of the picture with the hash in blockchain.
Now, in addition to the Internet of things digital wrapper Innovation Story and going social on Facebook (@PIPERCUBQO ), QO has received one additional digital wrapper to digitize logbook functionality.
Further Information: https://icn.sap.com/news/Blockchain.html
And what is your use case for blockchain ? …
Always Happy Landings …
Aviation in itself is not inherently dangerous. But to an even greater degree than the sea, it is terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect.
Thanks for taking a complex and multi-faceted topic and breaking that down to an easily digestible scenario. Now it does not take too much fantasy anymore to also transfer this to an machine or other asset related audit trail.
And if you think into the direction of ownership this could also resemble provenance tracking and the like.
Thanks for explaining about the possibilities of Blockchain integration with SAP using such a great example. Could you please also provide some technical details on how HCP could feed data to or retrieve information from Blockchain? Some steps followed for this integration or reference documents may be?
nice example of integrating HCP (via https://icn.sap.com/home.html) with Multichain (via https://github.com/MultiChain/multichain-explorer) and it seems that you have killed two birds with one stone as yours is a case of Internet of Things on top of blockchain. my ledger use case is more traditional but yours only confirms that anything worth recording is also worth putting on a blockchain.