Through all the news and information breaking about blockchain adoption across enterprises and major corporations, the United States Air Force entered Blockchain airspace with news that it had partnered with Constellation Network, INC, a San Francisco-based technology and blockchain company.
The agreement between these two was to help in the securing and consolidating of data through the USAF with its multiple data sources. From drones, satellites, and planes; data received from these entities had previously been disbursed, disconnected, and complicated because of the Multi-Domain Command and Control (MDC2) system at the US Air Force.
The release from Constellation explained: “Multi-domain, cross-service stakeholders are disbursed, disconnected and complicated and the data created by each domain is either non-accessible or requires significant manpower to handle data forensics, planning, and collection.”
“Constellation will create a leap in the USAF’s current capabilities with a focus on the agile interoperability of both legacy and future data types. It is a scalable and secure approach to Big Data processing while enabling the merging of legacy system data with existing cloud infrastructure data.”
“As such, Constellation provides decentralized security not only to Air Force data pipelines, with encryption, but also creates audit trails and a live overview of the status of any data source.”
It all sounds pretty impressive and useful for an entity as cutting edge and influential as the USAF; it also calls into question how efficient the previous management of data was in this military installation.
On the other side of things, it also points towards further growth and legitimacy in the blockchain space. No longer is blockchain just about making money through cryptocurrency tokens; it is no longer even just about making businesses more profitable, it is starting to help with the protection of countries through their military efficiencies.
Moving from manual inputs
According to The Daily Chain, who spoke with Ben Jorgensen, the CEO of Constellation Labs, the needs of the USAF are rather large as there is still situations where data is being inputted manually at the command centers.
“In simple terms, it means we are working to provide support and solutions for decision making across various systems. A command center, at the USAF, has inputs that are mostly manual and not automated,” he began.
“Furthermore, their data collection occurs across different data sources from aircraft, buildings, satellites, drones and other USAF assets and data is not seamlessly shared across devices and organizations.”
“Just think of all of these devices that are collecting millions of data points every day. If we can collect all that data, and trust the data is valid, we could create some incredible insights and automated applications – artificial intelligence – just by understanding how all of these systems work in correspondence with one another.”
“Constellation believes that a blockchain-like solution, directed acyclic graph and protocol, is the perfect solution for an organization looking to minimize centralized network security threats and where data is critical for missions and operations,”Jorgensen added.
A landmark contract?
Constellation believes that this contract with an entity such as the USAF is obviously good for their business, but when it comes to the legitimation and adoption of blockchain, this is also a huge step for the general ecosystem.
I spoke with Jorgensen as well about the greater impact of this agreement between a military organization and a technology company. His view is that blockchain is evolving, and that its ability to interact, store and use data is the key, rather than its financial implications.
“Constellation sees the working contract not only as a major win for the company but as a landmark milestone for the entire blockchain industry,” he said.
“After the hype of 2017, the market and the interest in blockchain technology has cooled off considerably. It has become clear that the majority of consumer-facing applications, powered by various protocols and blockchain technologies, were premature or based on unscalable blockchain infrastructure with very little competitive advantage to existing centralized technologies.
“Furthermore, traditional blockchain technologies focused on financial instruments as a driver of adoption. We rethink that with data as being the instrument of focus. Furthermore, enterprise organizations require scalable frameworks with high throughput that satisfy big data processing needs (i.e., consumer applications and streaming data). While enterprise interest has remained strong during the last two years, the focus has shifted from strategic and learning partnerships to very specific use case applications.”
“The USAF is recognizing their need to adapt and adopt to new emerging technologies and platforms to compete with scaling security threats in the world.”
A shifting focus
It may be a bit premature to say that the goalposts are once again shifting when it comes to the broad and dynamic nature of blockchain; having gone from purely finance to business efficiency-focused and now onto data storage and manipulation, but there is more significant exploration happening.
As Jorgensen mentions, all data is indeed big data, and its importance across all sectors has become entirely clear and evident. From the individual using social media to the USAF, data has incredible power, but that power can only be wielded with the right tools.
Blockchain has also been about data storage, protection, and distribution, but now it is being realized more and more as a tool that has the power to do a lot more than first thought. Constellation’s offering is something that the USAF has seen as valuable, but that is only because they can unlock blockchain technology for a specific data-focused approach.
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