Exploring the blockchain’s potential for sensor networks and more

Exploring the blockchain’s potential for sensor networks and more

Will the blockchain technology that underpins cryptocurrencies such as BitCoin actually find its most important applications in new products and services dreamed up by industry’s R&D departments?

Entrepreneur, strategist and author Mark Turrell used a webinar hosted by EIRMA (the European Industrial Research Management Association) last week to outline how this high-profile but often poorly understood technology could be used in sectors as diverse as winemaking and the Internet of Things.

The webinar began with Turrell drawing a distinction between the blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and tokens, before he explained how a generic blockchain works. He then went on to outline the technology’s key properties, such as its ability to create shared trust, and to create immutable records of transactions.

Turrell gave a potential use of the blockchain by talking about how it could be applied to the entire supply chain for wine, giving those involved much better insights into the way that value is added. And he outlined techniques for adapting the blockchain for IoT ecosystems, which often rely on large groups of widely distributed sensor nodes that have limited bandwidth, computation and energy storage onboard.

Other application areas that were discussed included traceability in the supply chain, managing large datasets in ecosystems such as the pharma industry, and tracking IP. Turrell concluded with practical advice about how to explore blockchain technology in-house.

Further details of the webinar are here.

In the last month, EIRMA members have also:

Next up, EIRMA members will be able to join a webinar on 14 December that will discuss the emerging ISO30401:2018 standard, which sets requirements and provides guidelines for building effective knowledge-management systems.

Last but not least, the EIRMA Annual Conference 2019 on the topic “R&D has to think Business” will take place on 16-17 May 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden.


EIRMA is a member-led, independent, non -profit organisation that gives a European perspective on the global management of applied R&D and innovation. Its membership includes over 90 major companies and several SMEs, based in over 20 countries and operating in a wide variety of sectors. The Association enables frank discussion between practitioners, and the exchange of practical experience with people who face similar challenges. Any company carrying out R&D and/or innovation in Europe can join EIRMA and benefit from these opportunities to learn from others and to test their ideas and approaches by presenting them to peers.

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