IBM Brings Blockchain To Australia, Pilots Water Conservation Project

The programmes are two facets in the burgeoning use of distributed ledger systems, best known as the basis for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, …

IBM has launched its blockchain offering in an Australian data centre and has launched a pilot programme demonstrating the use of blockchain technology in tracking sustainable groundwater usage.

The programmes are two facets in the burgeoning use of distributed ledger systems, best known as the basis for Bitcoin and other virtual currencies, but increasingly popular in areas from financial services to supply chain management.

IBM said its blockchain offering is now available via its Melbourne data centre and would launch in a Sydney centre by the end of March for availability and redundancy purposes.

The Australian offering follows others in London, Frankfurt, Toronto, Dallas, Tokyo and Sao Paolo, and allows Australian organisations to use the tech without their data ever crossing national boundaries.

TFT freshwater fund director Alex Johnson. Image credit: IBM

Regulated industries

IBM said that could be particuarly attractive for heavily regulated industries such as financial services and government.

The IBM Blockchain Platform is built on the open source Hyperledger Fabric from the Linux Foundation.

IBM said the fact that it was bringing the blockchain to more geographic areas showed the maturity of projects using the technology.

It cited the use of blockchain in tracking food from farms through to retailers as an active use case in Australia, with others including smart contracts and financial services such as assuring digital identity or tracking financial trade.

Groundwater monitoring

IBM Research said it is working with nonprofit The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and SweetSense, which provides low-cost satellite-connected sensors, to track sustainable groundwater usage in California using blockchain and Internet of Things technologies.

The project focuses on the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta aquifer in Northern California, a 1,110 square-mile aquifer that provides water to the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.

SweetSense’s IoT sensors are to send water extraction data to satellites and then to the IBM blockchain hosted in IBM’s cloud.

The blockchain platform is to record all data exchanges and transactions in an append-only ledger that can’t be altered.

Water consumers including farmers, financiers and regulators are to gain access to groundwater-use share trading via a web-based dashboard.

Users can sell or trade a water credit if it is not needed, while others could purchase additional water shares without a negative effect upon the aquifer.

Pilot project

TFT freshwater fund director Alex Johnson said such sustainability plans depend upon the ability of technology to track and report groundwater use, as well as a way to trade groundwater shares.

“Our strategic intent is to harness new technologies to develop a system that makes getting groundwater more sustainable, collaborative, accurate and transparent process, which is why we are using the blockchain,” Johnson said.

IBM said such meausures could be put into place elsewhere.

“With the addition of the blockchain we can bridge critical trust and transparency gaps making it possible to build a robust, scalable and cost-efficient platform for managing precious groundwater supplies anywhere in the world,” said Dr Solomon Assefa, director of IBM Research Africa.

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IBM Using Blockchain and IoT To Fight Against Drought In California

… rainfall and weather correlations, This data shall then be recorded into the could-hosted and smart contract-compatible IBM Blockchain Platform.

IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense have recently announced a partnership in order to collaborate on a project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to deal with the ongoing drought currently affecting California.

Both IBM Research and SweetSense have also partnered with a non-profit organization by the name of The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and the University of Colorado Boulder to utilize blockchain and IoT technology to sustainably manage groundwater in whats being known as one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America, which is located in the northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

For those not in the know, an aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rocks, from which groundwater can be extracted and distributed throughout the region’s ecosystem. Stretching over 1,100 square miles, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been said to be the nexus of California’s statewide water system and will become the testing ground for this new sustainability project.

Tracking

According to information provided by the press release, the project shall involve the use of IoT sensors that shall transmit water extraction data to orbiting satellites, which are simultaneously used to detect rainfall and weather correlations, This data shall then be recorded into the could-hosted and smart contract-compatible IBM Blockchain Platform.

Farmers, Financiers, and Regulators will be capable of using the web-based dashboard to interface with the blockchain and monitor the groundwater all in real time.

With precise tracking set into place, the system will then be capable of issuing a so-called “groundwater shares” that will then be purchased and traded by players in the region, so that those who are not in need of all their assigned water supply can then exchange it as credits for those who are in need of it.

The press release points out that TFT was the one to help them establish the Northern Delta Groundwater Sustainability agency, which integrates multiple smaller agencies under a single unit to work together on sustainable groundwater usage. The agency is one of a series of such entities statewide, which were mandated to handle the environmental issues after California signed its Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGM) into law during 2014.

In addition to the US, SweetSense has also implemented their sensor technology to monitor groundwater supplies for over a million people in Kenya and Ethiopia, with plans to further expand their number to 5 million nearing the end of 2019.

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IBM in Three-Way Blockchain Partnership for Sustainable Groundwater Project

IBM in Three-Way Blockchain Partnership for Sustainable Groundwater … IBM Research and SweetSense have allied to launch a distributed ledger …
Reading Time: 2minutesbyonFebruary 11, 2019&nbspBlockchain, News, Tech

The Freshwater Trust (TFT) a conservation non-profit focused on preserving and restoring freshwater ecosystems, IBM Research and SweetSense have allied to launch a distributed ledger technology (DLT) pilot that would accurately and transparently measure groundwater usage in real-time in the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta in California, reportedenterprise times on February 11, 2019.

Blockchain Technology for Groundwater Conservation

The Freshwater Trust (TFT), a non-profit organization based in Portland, Oregon, IBM Research and SweetSense, a maker of low-cost Internet of things (IoT) devices, have inked a partnership deal to launch a blockchain pilot.

The solution would correctly track and monitor groundwater usage in the Sacramento San Joaquin River Delta which is tagged as one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America.

Specifically, the project aims to show how the use of blockchain technology and remote IoT sensors can foster freshwater conservation by accurately measuring groundwater usage in real-time, in a transparent manner.

Per the team, the IoT sensors will send water extraction data to orbiting satellites and store the accurate data on the IBM Blockchain network.

That’s not all; smart contracts will also be employed to execute transactions automatically on the system once specific conditions are met.

Seamless Tracking and Monitoring

If all goes as planned, the team has made it clear that the DLT and IoT solution will make it possible for consumers, including farmers, financiers, as well as regulators, to seamlessly monitor and track the use of groundwater.

In the same vein, the project aims to show how sustainable pumping levels can be achieved through the trading of groundwater use shares in the State of California.

Farmers and other individual water users who need more substantial amounts beyond their share cap can easily buy groundwater shares from those who cannot make use of all the water supplied to them.

In other words, with DLT, farmers and other users in the region can easily trade or sell their water credits on a peer-to-peer basis, thereby eliminating water wastage.

Commenting on the development, Freshwater Fund Director at TFT, Alex Johnson noted that:

“Our primary goal is to use new technologies to develop a system that makes getting groundwater more sustainable, transparent, collaborative and accurate process.”

With each passing day, blockchain technology keeps gaining traction in a vast array of sectors in the global economy.

In January 2019, BTCManagerinformed that IBM and Minehub Technologies have collaborated to launch a DLT solution for the mineral concentrates supply chain.

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IBM Partnership Uses Blockchain, IoT to Combat Drought in California

The data will then be recorded onto the cloud-hosted and smart contract-compatible IBM Blockchain Platform. Water consumers — including farmers, …

A collaborative IBM project using blockchain and the Internet of Things (IoT) to tackle drought is underway in the United States state of California, according to a press release published Feb. 8.

IBM Research and sensor tech provider SweetSense have reportedly partnered with non-profit organization The Freshwater Trust (TFT) and the University of Colorado Boulder to use blockchain and IoT technology to sustainably manage groundwater use in what they describe as “one of the largest and most at risk aquifers in North America” — located in northern California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

An aquifer is an underground layer of water-bearing rock, from which groundwater can be extracted and distributed across a region’s ecosystem. Covering 1,100 square miles, the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta is reportedly considered to be the “nexus of California’s statewide water system,” and will thus be the testing ground for the new sustainability pilot.

According to the press release, the project will involve the use of IoT sensors to transmit water extraction data to orbiting satellites, which are simultaneously used to detect rainfall and weather correlations. The data will then be recorded onto the cloud-hosted and smart contract-compatible IBM Blockchain Platform.

Water consumers — including farmers, financers and regulators — can use a web-based dashboard to interface with the blockchain and monitor groundwater use in real time.

With accurate tracking in place, the system can then be used to issue so-called “groundwater shares” that can be purchased and traded by actors in the region, so that those who do not require all their assigned water supply can exchange it as credits with those who require more.

To contextualize the initiative, the press release notes that TFT has helped to establish the Northern Delta Groundwater Sustainability Agency, which integrates multiple smaller agencies under one canopy to work together on sustainable groundwater usage. The agency is one of a series of such entities statewide, which were mandated to tackle the environmental challenge after California signed its Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) into law in 2014.

Beyond the U.S., SweetSense has reportedly been implementing its sensor technology to monitor groundwater supplies for over a million people in Kenya and Ethiopia, with plans to expand to 5 million by the end of 2019.

As reported last fall, the World Economic Forum (WEF) foundation has outlined more than 65 blockchain use cases for solving the “most pressing” environmental challenges globally. Beyond improving legacy systems, the WEF foundation proposed that blockchain solutions will, among other areas, completely transform the management of supply chains, decentralized energy and water systems, sustainable fundraising sources and carbon markets.

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IBM to Trial Blockchain Technology to Track Usage of Groundwater in California

Whilst it is often said that the vast bulk of consumer interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is based on speculative financial gain, it is …

Whilst it is often said that the vast bulk of consumer interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology is based on speculative financial gain, it is always refreshing to see its usage considered for the greater cause. This is exactly what innovators at IBM are hoping to achieve, with a recent pilot test to ascertain whether blockchain and IoT (Internet of Things) technologies can help track groundwater usage in the U.S. state of California.

IBM Blockchain

In collaboration with not-for-profit organization the Freshwater Trust and satellite sensor provider SweetSense, the IBM project is looking to tackle unsustainable usage of groundwater. The key reason that California has been targeted is that the location hosts one of the most at-risk aquifers in the U.S.

How Will the IBM Pilot Work?

In effect, the idea behind the project is to utilize IoT sensors to transmit groundwater usage levels in real-time. In order to obtain the data seamlessly and securely, the IoT sensors will transfer the data to the underlying IBM blockchain system. As such, the data is immutable to error, amendment or malpractice. The team at IBM are also hoping to utilize smart contract technology, which will allow the system to execute data when certain pre-defined if/when conditions are met.

Specifically, the project will extract data from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta, which covers in the region of 1,100 square miles. It is also important to note that the river is home to a significant quantity of animal and plant species, including legally protected fish.

Could the IBM Pilot Make its way to the African Continent?

The IBM-backed partnership has also indicated that they plan to integrate a central dashboard that will allow a range of stakeholders – notably regulatory bodies, financiers and farmers, to access the real-time groundwater data. Further down the line, if the project is a success, the technology may be used to utilize the buying and selling of groundwater shares.

This will essentially allow regulatory bodies to encourage sustainable groundwater usage levels. For example, should a stakeholder purchase groundwater shares, but subsequently use more levels than their shares enables, they can simply purchase more shares from other stakeholders who have a surplus supply.

Nathan Wangusi of IBM Research Africa explains that the concept being trialed in California could potentially make the transition over to African-based farmers. In what Wangusi refers to as ‘Groundwater Credit’, the researcher added the technology will enable farmers to trade water sources on a peer-to-peer basis. Moreover, the IBM researcher was also quoted as saying“The blockchain allows for visibility of water extraction and keeps a tight ledger on this, while helping with transparency and the ability to trade assets.”

IBM Are Leading the way With Blockchain-For-Good Causes

Whilst the aforementioned pilot test is certainly admirable, this isn’t the first time that IBM have created initiatives to make the world a better place. In September last year, we reported that IBM was driving an innovative program to trace contamination along the food supply chain. It was noted that leading U.S. based supermarket chain Walmart would be integrating the technology in to their systems. The program dictates that leafy-green vegetable providers that plan to sell their goods to Walmart must use the IBM-backed blockchain tracking platform.

Furthermore, at the turn of 2019 it was announced that IBM would be piloting a blockchain project to ensure that Cobalt is sourced in an ethical manner. Cobalt is a highly demanded mineral that is used to power mobile phones, laptops and other electrical device. By utilizing blockchain technology, the IBM project hopes to trace and validate Cobalt purchases along the supply chain.


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