May 19, 2020

Visa will adopt blockchain – but what exactly is it?

anna smith
2 min
Visa will adopt blockchain – but what exactly is it?

Visa has announced a new pilot project in Europe in collaboration with blockchain startup BTL Group.  Visa's London based innovation lab, Visa Europe Colab, design a pilot to test how blockchain technology can be used in cross-border money transfers.

What exactly is this technology that Visa has been investigating for 18 months? Why is it causing such a stir in the financial industry?

  • According to the Financial Times, “A blockchain is a shared digital database that allows transactions to be recorded and verified electronically over a network of computers without a central ledger.”
  • Digital records are collated into blocks. These “blocks” are cryptographically and chronologically bound into a “chain” using complex mathematical algorithms. If all computers agree on the answer, each block gets a unique digital signature. This is called hashing.
  • Because blockchain is distributed, it’s more immune to cyberattacks. Hackers would have to get access to every copy of the database simultaneously to carry out a successful attack.
  • The hash can’t be converted back into the original data. The process is irreversible.
  • Blockchain isn’t new – the idea came about a couple of decades ago. However, it came to prominence in 2008 with the birth of Bitcoin.  Blockchain is the technology underpinning the digital currency.
  • Financial services such as Visa are excited about blockchain – it could remove the need for middlemen, regulators will have access to a transparent ledger of transactions and dealings will be speedier.
  • There are down sides though. Mining (the process behind blockchain) requires a large amount of energy. Furthermore, the high initial costs of blockchain are high.

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Jun 18, 2021

Intelliwave SiteSense boosts APTIM material tracking

3 min
Intelliwave Technologies outlines how it provides data and visibility benefits for APTIM

“We’ve been engaged with the APTIM team since early 2019 providing SiteSense, our mobile construction SaaS solution, for their maintenance and construction projects, allowing them to track materials and equipment, and manage inventory.

We have been working with the APTIM team to standardize material tracking processes and procedures, ultimately with the goal of reducing the amount of time  spent looking for materials. Industry studies show that better management of materials can lead to a 16% increase in craft labour productivity.

Everyone knows construction is one of the oldest industries but it’s one of the least tech driven comparatively. About 95% of Engineering and Construction data captured goes unused, 13% of working hours are spent looking for data and around 30% of companies have applications that don’t integrate. 

With APTIM, we’re looking at early risk detection, through predictive analysis and forecasting of material constraints, integrating with the ecosystem of software platforms and reporting on real-time data with a ‘field-first’ focus – through initiatives like the Digital Foreman. The APTIM team has seen great wins in the field, utilising bar-code technology, to check in thousands of material items quickly compared to manual methods.

There are three key areas when it comes to successful Materials Management in the software sector – culture, technology, and vendor engagement.

Given the state of world affairs, access to data needs to be off site via the cloud to support remote working conditions, providing a ‘single source of truth’ accessed by many parties; the tech sector is always growing, so companies need faster and more reliable access to this cloud data; digital supply chain initiatives engage vendors a lot earlier in the process to drive collaboration and to engage with their clients, which gives more assurance as there is more emphasis on automating data capture. 

It’s been a challenging period with the pandemic, particularly for the supply chain. Look what happened in the Suez Canal – things can suddenly impact material costs and availability, and you really have to be more efficient to survive and succeed. Virtual system access can solve some issues and you need to look at data access in a wider net.

Solving problems comes down to better visibility, and proactively solving issues with vendors and enabling construction teams to execute their work. The biggest cause of delays is not being able to provide teams with what they need.

On average 2% of materials are lost or re-ordered, which only factors in the material cost, what is not captured is the duplicated effort of procurement, vendor and shipping costs, all of which have an environmental impact.

As things start to stabilise, APTIM continues to utilize SiteSense to boost efficiencies and solve productivity issues proactively. Integrating with 3D/4D modelling is just the precipice of what we can do. Access to data can help you firm up bids to win work, to make better cost estimates, and AI and ML are the next phase, providing an eco-system of tools.

A key focus for Intelliwave and APTIM is to increase the availability of data, whether it’s creating a data warehouse for visualisations or increasing integrations to provide additional value. We want to move to a more of an enterprise usage phase – up to now it’s been project based – so more people can access data in real time.


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