PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves third consecutive top 100 rank in 2019 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

– Canadian Business unveils its 31st annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies – 

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves third consecutive top 100 rank in 2019 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

TORONTO, ONTARIO – Sept. 12, 2019 – The Burnie Group is pleased to announce that it has ranked No. 99 in the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies for 2019.This is the third year that The Burnie Group has ranked in the top 100, with five-year revenue growth of 1,030%.

“The companies on the 2019 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Beth Fraser, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate over 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.”

“Our inclusion in the Growth 500 three years in a row is a great honour,” says David Burnie, Principal and Founder of The Burnie Group. “We’re delighted to once again be ranked amongst Canada’s best and brightest companies. This ranking confirms that we’re successfully supporting our clients to build innovative strategies that set them apart from their competitors. We want to thank our team and clients for making this possible once again.”

Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com.

About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a management consulting firm in Toronto that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence. The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Innovation (including the application of technologies such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Intelligent Automation (IA), Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Blockchain), and Acquisitions (including Due Diligence, Post Merger Integration and Value Creation Plans). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

About the Growth 500

For 31 years, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies has been Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking, visit Growth500.ca.

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.

Media Contact:
Courtney Heffernan
Marketing and Sales Coordinator
courtney.heffernan@burniegroup.com
905-466-8817

PRESS RELEASE: Retail Strategy and Operations expert, Graeme Hartlen, joins The Burnie Group

PRESS RELEASE: Retail Strategy and Operations expert, Graeme Hartlen, joins The Burnie Group  TORONTO, Sept. 09, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Burnie Group, a leading Toronto-based management consulting firm, today announced the appointment of Graeme Hartlen, who will lead the firm’s Strategy and Operations Practice.

Graeme is a results-driven, highly adaptable and strategic senior executive with a strong track record of delivering growth, solving complex challenges, and driving customer satisfaction. A collaborative leader who has managed teams as large as 150 in a diverse 20-year career spanning multiple industries, roles, and companies, ranging from high-growth startups to well-established industry leaders including DoorDash Technologies, Rogers Media, Sears Canada and Hudson’s Bay Company. Prior to this, Graeme spent several years leading consulting engagements for corporate and private equity clients as a Management Consultant with Bain & Company.

Graeme has defined his career as a leader, mentor, and advisor who excels in fostering E and C suite relationships and helping organizations drive growth, increase customer satisfaction and operational excellence.

“We are honoured and excited to have Graeme join the Strategy and Operations team at The Burnie Group. His accomplishments and business savvy will complement and enhance our offerings to clients,” said David Burnie, Founder and Principal of The Burnie Group, adding, “Graeme joins our team with hands-on experience working for some of Canada’s largest retailers, handling complex assignments, and bringing with him a specialized industry knowledge that will enable our team to provide practical solutions to our clients’ issues and adding immense value in the process.”

Graeme will assume the position of Practice lead, Strategy and Operations, effective September 9th, 2019.

About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in StrategyOperationsRobotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

Media Contact:
Bruna Sofia Simoes
Senior Marketing Manager
bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com
416-909-6379

INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer

In the last 10 years, automation technologies have evolved dramatically to become what we know today as Intelligent Automation. Desktop Automation—software that supports human actions by automating repetitive tasks on a local machine— was the first iteration, later evolving to Robotic Process Automation (RPA)— software that mimics human actions by automating tasks performed by humans seamlessly across various applications and systems.

Today, Intelligent Automation, built on the foundation of its predecessors, leverages traditional RPA technology and combines it with digitization and artificial intelligence to augment human intelligence and expand the realm of possibility.

Intelligent Automation can be a difficult topic to wrap one’s head around, but like a lot of things, future success starts with solid fundamentals. And if you’re looking to learn, you’ve come to the right place.

INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer


INFOGRAPHIC: Intelligent Automation Primer


A Brave New World: Fourth Generation Blockchain

Blockchain’s unavoidable link to the highly tumultuous cryptocurrency market (i.e. Bitcoin) has recently made it vulnerable to criticism and dismissal. Despite this climate, blockchain technology, now in its fourth generation, continues to push forward, evolving beyond its cryptocurrency origins and becoming increasingly simple to use.

The evolutionary generations of blockchain

Before we discuss the future business impact of the fourth generation of blockchain, let’s first look at the stages of blockchain’s evolution since it was first conceived in 2008.

A Brave New World: Fourth Generation Blockchain  First Generation

Developed by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, the first generation of blockchain saw the emergence of distributed ledgers and enforced digital scarcity, as exemplified by Bitcoin. Blockchain appealed to cryptocurrency creators because of its Proof of Work1 algorithm, which validated transactions and prevented people from “double spending”, or using the same money for more than one transaction.

 

A Brave New World: Fourth Generation Blockchain  Second Generation

The second generation of blockchain, led by the automation and the development of trusted code platforms like Ethereum and Hyperledger, introduced the concept of smart contracts and made possible the digital tokenization of physical assets.

It was also around this time that the technology suffered initial scrutiny and concerns with regard to scalability, transaction speed and network efficiency.

 

A Brave New World: Fourth Generation Blockchain  Third Generation

Third-generation blockchain platforms like Aion, Cardano, and EOS, introduced technology such as sharding to tackle scaling issues in order to cut down on cost and speed of transactions.

These platforms also matured the distributed application capabilities of blockchain. (eg. La’Zooz, a decentralized, community-owned transportation platform that turns a vehicle’s unused space into a variety of smart transportation solutions.)

 

Fourth Generation Blockchain

The first three generations have been pivotal in increasing the scope of blockchain’s applicability, but there remained challenges (e.g. complexity, cost) that hindered widespread adoption.

Fourth generation blockchains resolve prior challenges and enable trust in easy-to-consume ways, accelerating the formation, operation, and reconfiguration of business networks. In addition to greater ease of onboarding, these lower cost, and highly scalable platforms make pragmatic trade-offs such as recognizing that not all transactions are created equal. For example, a variable consensus mechanism will allow you to incur different transaction time and cost when buying a cup of coffee when compared to buying a house.

Fourth generation Blockchain platforms like Insolar2 and Aergo, are enabling business networks to be easier to use through business-oriented interfaces that hide the complexity of the underlying blockchain technology. It is this moment in the evolution of blockchain technology–where we stop talking about blockchain and just start using it– that we believe will spark the true disruptive potential of blockchain.

 

What does it all mean?

Business networks—companies combining their resources in the pursuit of common objectives—are the key drivers of value creation and innovation in our modern economy. Their productivity and potential have traditionally been constrained by transactional frictions, principally informational and trust. The internet has significantly reduced informational friction and blockchain is the mechanism that can radically reduce trust friction.  A world with low informational and trust friction will innovate and create value at a dramatically accelerated pace.

By: Douglas Heintzman, Innovation Practice Lead at The Burnie Group

NOTES:

  1. Proof-of-Work: Proof-of-Work was the first blockchain consensus mechanism and is still arguably the most popular choice in achieving distributed consensus (the ability to trust a stranger without having to go through a third-party). https://medium.com/nakamo-to/what-is-proof-of-stake-pos-479a04581f3a
  2. Disclosure: Insolar is a client of The Burnie Group

 


A Brave New World: Fourth Generation Blockchain


 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019

Blockchain is a technology that holds the potential to disrupt several industries with many innovative applications. Despite its roots in cryptocurrency, some of the most creative and disruptive applications of blockchain go beyond pure financial transactions.

Automation through smart contracting, security through encryption, and transparency through shared information are just of a few of the novel ways that blockchain is enabling business disruption. As a peer-to-peer, distributed network, blockchain technology is helping the businesses that use it become more transparent, democratic, decentralized, efficient, and secure.

Blockchain has shifted the way we view security and transparency and will continue to transform several industries as it becomes more popular and widely adopted. Below, we look at six industries currently adopting blockchain to gain competitive advantage.

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  1. Financial Services

Financial services have traditionally received the most attention within the blockchain ecosystem. Blockchain’s secure approach to exchanging data, increased transparency, and lower operating costs make it attractive to the highly regulated and security-focused financial services industry.

In 2019, some of the biggest opportunities for blockchain in financial services will be in:

  •  •  AML/ KYC
  •  •  Clearing and settlement
  •  •  Trade finance
  •  •  International payments
  •  •  Identity as a service
  •  •  Onboarding
  •  •  Remittances

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  2. Healthcare

Blockchain’s features offer countless benefits in the healthcare and long-term care industries. It can improve the accessibility and accuracy of patient data, facilitate better and faster treatment and enhance patient safety. It can also create a common, secure health information database that medical staff can access seamlessly. With less time spent on administrative tasks and better access to patient data, the quality of patient care can be greatly improved.

Blockchain helps reduce instances of fraud, reduces operational cost through optimized processes, and improves transparency and interoperability, reducing duplication of work in the healthcare space. These areas, in particular, are ripe for blockchain:

  •  •  Electronic health records
  •  •  Clinical trials
  •  •  Claims adjudication and billing management
  •  •  Prescriptions – provenance, double-Rx

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  3. Supply Chain Management

Today’s supply chains are increasingly complex, involving multiple parties across multiple regions and modes of transport. Blockchain provides these intricate supply chain networks with increased transparency, improved traceability and optimization through automation.

In supply chain, we expect to see blockchain used most prominently in:

  •  •  Provenance tracking, ex. Agricultural and pharma products (any place where spoilage or counterfeit can be introduced)
  •  •  Monitoring location, conditions (e.g. temperature, exposure to elements, any agitation/tremors) and security of products during transport
  •  •  Contract and Sub-contract management
  •  •  Bidding systems
  •  •  Invoicing and bills of lading
  •  •  Customs clearance

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  4. Government and Public Service

Governments have generally been slow to prioritize blockchain’s potential. At present, Canada is one of more than a dozen countries that are examining blockchain’s potential and running exploratory pilots. The public sector is expected to leverage blockchain for the benefits of increased security, efficiency and enhanced customer experience.

Record management in public services and government is an area where blockchain can automate paper-based processes, minimize fraud, and increase accountability between governmental agencies and those they serve.

Areas with a high degree of promise for blockchain include:

  •  •  Civil registries and identity management
    •  •  Immigration management
    •  •  Refugee management
  •  •  Land and personal property registries
  •  •  Voting systems
  •  •  Toll-roads
  •  •  Micro-loan capitalization (enforce scarcity)

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  5. Insurance

Insurance is an industry that is ready for the adoption of blockchain. Blockchain’s ability to increase transparency, manage identity, and generate smart contracts will allow the insurance industry to improve efficiency (e.g. Oracles1 will provide inputs to smart contracts, reducing manual processing and instances of fraud.) and enhance the ability to accurately underwrite risk.

Some of the areas where we expect Blockchain to gain traction include:

  •  •  Parametric insurance
  •  •  Claims processing
  •  •  Risk modelling
  •  •  Peer-to-peer
    1. Individuals can take out insurance policy with eachother rather than through an insurance provider

 

Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019  6. Energy

A historically centralized industry that relies on intermediaries and inefficient energy transport across long distances, blockchain provides the infrastructure to support innovation in the form of peer-to-peer energy networks, microgrids, electric vehicle (EV) charging, automated billing, and invoice settlement.

The energy sector, in particular, will be impacted by IoT devices creating an opportunity for blockchain. For example, having a ledger of things to complement the Internet of Things will ensure that all the many minute IoT data transfers and transactions are accurately represented and logged.

In the energy sector, we expect to see blockchain used in:

  •  •  Microgrid/ decentralized management
    1. moving electrons in barter
    2. establishing contracts for peer-to-peer storage/extraction
    3. use of smart appliances
  •  •  EV charging
    1. Transactions & identity management
  •  •  IoT
  •  •  Metering and payments

 

The Final Word

Businesses in these and countless other industries need to consider incorporating blockchain into their strategies so as not to fall behind. As we look forward in 2019, Blockchain’s potential to transform the way companies operate to reduce costs and create new revenue streams will be transformative.

As businesses explore the disruptive potential of blockchain, we will begin to see more progress made beyond proofs of concept and limited scale pilots.

If you have questions about how blockchain could impact your industry, contact us. The Burnie Group will help you to set the right strategy and build the right foundation to help you become a pioneer in this emerging technology.

 


Six Industries where Blockchain is Making Waves in 2019


 By: Madison Wright, Associate

NOTES:

  1. An oracle, in the context of blockchains and smart contracts, is an agent that finds and verifies real-world occurrences and submits this information to a blockchain to be used by smart contracts. https://blockchainhub.net/blockchain-oracles/

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group hosts #EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization?

TORONTO, October 30, 2018 — The Burnie Group is pleased to announce #EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization? Featuring a keynote address by Mike Rhodin, former SVP at IBM and founder of IBM’s Watson Group. Mr. Rhodin’s 33-year career at IBM was infused with a passion for helping clients extract value from technology, improving business performance, and simplifying the way people work. Mr. Rhodin’s keynote will provide insight on the ways that artificial intelligence and automation are reshaping operations, augmenting human capacity, and changing the future of work.

“AI has been called the fourth industrial revolution. It is hard to conceptualize just how incredibly transformative its potential is,” says Doug Heintzman, Head of Innovation at The Burnie Group.

#EDGETalks: Artificial Intelligence in Operations: Where Can AI Fit in My Organization? will take place on the evening of Wednesday, November 7, 2018, at The National Club. Following the keynote address, we will have a fireside chat featuring Kathryn Hume, Frank Tsiribis, and Mike Rhodin.

Kathryn Hume – Vice-President, Product and Strategy at integrate.ai
Frank Tsiribis – Head of Insight Strategies and Risk Management, Enterprise Infrastructure, Initiatives, and Innovation (EI3) at BMO Financial Group.

Increasingly, companies are investigating the potential implications of AI on their enterprise, and if and how they should adopt it. This event will help separate hype from reality and fact from fiction. It will identify some key areas where AI is changing the way business is done.

For tickets visit: https://ai-theburniegroup.eventbrite.ca

 

About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

Media Contact:
Bruna Sofia Simoes
Senior Marketing Manager
bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com
416-909-6379

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves second consecutive top 100 rank in 2018 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies

–Canadian Business unveils its 30th annual list of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies – 

PRESS RELEASE: The Burnie Group achieves second consecutive top 100 rank in 2018 Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies  TORONTO, ONTARIO– (Sept. 13, 2018) – The Burnie Group is pleased to announce that it has ranked No. 82 in the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. This is the 2nd year that The Burnie Group has ranked in the top 100, with five-year revenue growth of 1,030%. The Toronto-based management consulting firm ranked No. 2 in the category of Canada’s fastest-growing professional services companies for 2018.

“The companies on the 2018 Growth 500 are truly remarkable. Demonstrating foresight, innovation and smart management, their stories serve as a primer for how to build a successful entrepreneurial business today,” says Deborah Aarts, Growth 500 program manager. “As we celebrate 30 years of the Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies program, it’s encouraging to see that entrepreneurship is healthier than ever in this country.”

“Ranking in the Growth 500 two years in a row is a great honour, and we’re delighted to find ourselves amongst Canada’s best and brightest companies,” says David Burnie, Principal and Founder of The Burnie Group. “I believe this second nod confirms that we’re on the right track with our approach to client service and innovation. We want to thank our team and clients for making this possible once again.”

Ranking Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies by five-year revenue growth, the Growth 500—formerly known as the PROFIT 500—profiles the country’s most successful entrepreneurial businesses. The Growth 500 is produced by Canadian Business. Winners are profiled in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com.

 

-30-

 

About The Burnie Group

The Burnie Group is a Canadian-based management consulting firm that helps clients improve their businesses through the application of innovative strategy, rigorous analysis, world-class technology, and the continuous pursuit of operations excellence.  The Burnie Group specializes in Strategy, Operations, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), Artificial Intelligence (AI)Blockchain, and Workforce Management (WFM). Our programs deliver measurable, transparent, and guaranteed results.

 

About the Growth 500

For 30 years, the Growth 500 ranking of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies has been Canada’s most respected and influential ranking of entrepreneurial achievement. Developed by PROFIT and now published in a special Growth 500 print issue of Canadian Business (packaged with the October issue of Maclean’s magazine) and online at Growth500.ca and CanadianBusiness.com, the Growth 500 ranks Canadian companies on five-year revenue growth. For more information on the ranking, visit Growth500.ca. 

 

About Canadian Business

Founded in 1928, Canadian Business is the longest-serving and most-trusted business publication in the country. It is the country’s premier media brand for executives and senior

business leaders. It fuels the success of Canada’s business elite with a focus on the things that matter most: leadership, innovation, business strategy and management tactics. Learn more at CanadianBusiness.com.

 

Media Contact:

Bruna Sofia Simoes

Marketing & Sales Manager

Bruna.simoes@burniegroup.com

416-909-6379

 


 

Managing people in a time of automation

Managing people in a time of automation

As the presence of Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in today’s workplaces continues to grow, the topic of job security and displacement becomes increasingly important for managers to consider.

With a widely held misconception that technology is a threat to traditional workforces, employers have an imperative to consider how RPA and AI will affect people and organizational culture when determining where and how these technologies should be used in their organizations.

Regardless of how well designed an RPA or AI strategy is, if the human side of implementing change is not a focal point of that strategy, it stands to fail. This article explores some tangible ways companies can approach change management, ensuring employee buy-in.

Automation, after all, is less about replacing employees and more about streamlining work processes. It allows an employee’s role to be redefined from a focus on mundane and repetitive tasks to one that is more complex, more value-added, and ultimately more meaningful.  Managed properly, automation can lead to a more engaged workforce.

Based on our experience designing and implementing broad-scale automation programs, we’ve identified three strategies that every organization should consider when adopting RPA and AI.

 

Prepare not just for automation, but for a cultural shift

When preparing for an automation project, managers are often tasked with developing a list of processes that AI and RPA can quickly improve. During this discovery phase managers also need to blueprint the broader impact of automation on people and culture. Such a blueprint can help to navigate the transition towards automation, identifying required changes to employee mindsets and behaviours and building an effective communication and change management plan.

By positioning automation and AI as employee allies—put in place to help alleviate staff from repetitive and mundane tasks—organizations can rally employees to become champions for technological advancement. For this to work, transparency is key. Conversations reminding employees that these technologies are tools that are supposed to work for them are fundamental to ensuring a smooth transition. Employees of all skill levels are better served when they understand how and why their work landscape is changing.

 

Encourage ongoing learning and development

In typical employee onboarding, time and resources are committed to ensuring staff are trained on the skills that are required to work effectively and efficiently. For many organizations, this is where learning and development starts and ends.  However, organizations that thrive know that ongoing learning is essential to both employee and company growth.

Automation and AI provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to re-invest in the skills and capabilities of their employees.  With the capacity that automation and AI unlock, time can be invested in training employees on more advanced skills.  Staff can be redeployed to work on more value-added activities, including customer-facing interactions and revenue-generating initiatives.  Automation and AI initiatives also require employee oversight and support, and current Subject Matter Experts are often well positioned to transition into an Automation or AI Centre of Excellence.  With a thoughtful approach to training and upskilling employees and designing new value-added roles, a transition to automation and/or AI can lead to a more rewarding work environment that motivates staff and boosts morale and engagement in the workplace.

A Burnie Group client recently illustrated how to positively engage employees while embracing automation. In addition to clearly communicating their automation strategy, our client gave employees the opportunity to be trained in automation core skills and join the automation Centre of Excellence to participate in the automation implementation.  Employees were also encouraged to identify automation opportunities in their work area, with the commitment that capacity released through RPA would be repurposed towards growth initiatives in the organization.   This approach made employees feel that they were a part of the automation transformation and resulted in a very positive attitude towards the change.

As AI and RPA become more prevalent in the workplace, employees that are equipped with future-proof skills will be less fearful of automation and better prepared to work alongside this technology.

 

Position your company as an innovator

People want to work for organizations that support and empower their employees, and automation can be a tool that enables this. An organization’s investment in technology can help position it as an innovator in its field, helping it to attract and retain top talent.

When organizations embrace innovation and build it into their “DNA” to —continuously reinvent work,  they reduce barriers to change and create an innovative culture where everyone wins.

One Burnie Group client implemented Robotic Process Automation as part of a broader strategic focus on innovation.  With innovation being core to the values of the company, RPA was viewed as a natural fit.  Rather than challenging the implementation and resisting change, employees sought ways to build RPA into their day-to-day work and leverage it to spend more of time with customers and on growth-focused initiatives.

 

Conclusion

Introducing AI and RPA into the workplace is no small undertaking. While most leaders address the effectiveness and efficiency gains that these technologies can deliver, truly successful leaders take a broader view to consider the best way to engage employees in the change.

Successful companies take the time to understand how automation can complement the work of employees and then invest in building a workplace where people and automation live in harmony.


Managing people in a time of automation


 By: Jenya Doudareva, Senior Associate

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution

While the umbrella of digital ledger technology (DLT)—technologies which distribute records or information among all those using it—can be traced to 1991, it was Bitcoin’s cryptocurrency model that demonstrated blockchain’s—a special case of DLT—potential. Since its unveiling ten years ago, it has evolved and been repurposed for tasks beyond simple currency transactions. Below, we follow key moments in blockchain’s evolution in the last decade.

1. 2008 – Satoshi Nakamoto* releases whitepaper, Bitcoin: A Peer to Peer Electronic Cash System

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Unlike real-world transactions, Nakamoto’s proposed cryptocurrency system is independent of third-party regulators such as a central bank. Its online peer-to-peer network facilitates unchangeable and indisputable public recordkeeping. Its timestamp servers provide proof-of-work to address trust issues and enforce rarity in the digital domain. Importantly, the proposed architecture solved the “double spending” problem (since digital information can be easily reproduced, it carries the risk that digital currency can be spent twice). In practice, Bitcoin becomes the first blockchain database.

* An unidentified pseudonymous person or group of people.

 

2. 2009 – First Bitcoin transaction and the establishment of the Bitcoin Market

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Bitcoin’s currency is released (created) through “mining.” This is an incentivized process that includes compiling recent transactions into blocks and solving computationally difficult puzzles. The first member to solve the problem is rewarded with newly-released bitcoin.

Within two weeks of mining the first group of transactions (the genesis block), Nakamoto and a computer scientist named Hal Finney tested the system, with Nakamoto sending ten bitcoins to Finney.

The Bitcoin Market is established later this year. It features automated and escrowed payment-processing options, which allow individuals to exchange real-world currency for the cryptocurrency (and vice versa).

As of June 30, 2018, more than 325 million Bitcoin transactions have taken place.

 

3. 2010 – First documented goods purchase using Bitcoin

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  As cryptocurrencies cannot be used for real-world purchases, Laszlo Hanyecz and Jeremy Sturdivant trade 10,000 BTC (US$25, at the time) for two large pizzas.

On June 30, 2018, 10,000 BTC was valued at more than US$64 million.

 

4. 2014 – Experts explore blockchain’s value outside of Bitcoin

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Companies see potential in blockchain technology for non-currency-based uses and begin exploring how blockchain could be harnessed. Sectors such as healthcare, insurance, and transportation take a keen interest. Experts investigate its potential in improving the management of specific areas such as supply chain, contracts, and elections.

 

5. 2014 – R3 consortium with global financial services companies to explore distributed ledger technology

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  A group of nine global financial services firms formed a consortium with R3, blockchain technology company, to examine and implement blockchain. Two years later, the growing partnership announced Corda, a private decentralized platform for financial institutions. Unlike traditional blockchain, where all data is copied to all participants, Corda only allows verified transactions to be shared with relevant members.

 

6. 2015 – Ethereum launches

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  In late 2013, Vitalek Buterin’s releases a whitepaper that re-envisions the uses for Bitcoin’s public blockchain. While the Bitcoin platform focused on peer-to-peer transactions and tracking cryptocurrency ownership, Ethereum’s purpose centred on allowing developers to run and deploy decentralized applications.

In 2015, Buterin launches Ethereum, a blockchain-based open software platform. It features smart contracts (self-executing agreements with terms directly written into lines of code, on a platform that made activities traceable, transparent, and irreversible). It allows traditionally centralized intermediary services to be redesigned into decentralized ones. Ethereum also smooths the way to creating Decentralized Autonomous Organizations. These are fully autonomous, personless organizations, run by programming code, owned by those who hold Ether (the system’s proprietary payment token). Like Bitcoin, the Ethereum platform features a proof-of-work consensus mechanism.

 

7. 2015 – Stock Exchanges evaluate blockchain technology and the first private securities transaction using blockchain

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  Chain.com used Linq, the Nasdaq’s blockchain-based solution, to complete and record a private securities transaction. At this time, The Australian Stock Exchange begins evaluating replacements for its Clearing House Electronic Subregister System (it later chose a blockchain-based system). In the following years, exchanges in Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Korea, and the United Kingdom announce various blockchain-based trading system prototypes and evaluations.

 

8. 2016 –The Linux Foundation launches Hyperledger

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  The Linux Foundation launches Hyperledger, an open-source collaborative effort created to promote cross-industry blockchain technologies. The global initiative’s objective was to coordinate and focus efforts on improving the technology’s performance and reliability so it could support global business transactions. Among its 30 founding members were ABN AMRO, ANZ Bank, Blockchain, CME Group, Deutsche Börse Group, Fujitsu Limited, IBM, Intel, J.P. Morgan, R3, and Wells Fargo. It is hoped Hyperledger Fabric (a blockchain framework implementation) will become the foundation of many large-scale, banking, supply chain, and digital identity systems.

 

9. 2016 – First international transaction between banks using blockchain

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  A transaction of AU$35,000 worth of cotton, shipped from China to the United States, is completed using blockchain applications. The deal takes place between the Australian and US divisions of Brighann Cotton Marketing; Wells Fargo & Co. and The Commonwealth Bank of Australia provides banking services. Blockchain is credited with streamlining the exchange by eliminating issues rooted in duplicated processing and differing time zones.

Read more about The Burnie Group’s offerings in the financial sector here.

 

10. 2017 and 2018 – Adoption in enterprise-level companies and large-scale operations

From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution  AIG and IBM use blockchain to manage complex international coverage for Standard Chartered Bank PLC, to develop a “smart” insurance policy. This first-of-its-kind policy used the technology to share real-time information for a main policy that was written in the United Kingdom and had three local policies in Kenya, Singapore, and the United States.

IBM, JD.com, IBM, Walmart, and Tsinghua University’s National Engineering Laboratory for E-Commerce Technologies announce the Blockchain Food Safety Alliance in late 2017.  Its primary goal is to achieve greater transparency across China’s food supply chain through improved food tracking, traceability, and safety.

TradeLens, a collaboration between IBM and Maersk, is unveiled in 2018 as the first industry-wide cross-border supply chain solution based on blockchain technology. It allows those in the global shipping industry to share real-time information securely. With approximately 1 million shipments daily, more than 154 million shipments are logged by mid-August 2018. At this time, 94 partners were involved in the project, including more than 20 port and terminal operators, global container carriers, customs authorities, freight forwarders, and logistics companies.

In the spring of 2018, Facebook announces an internal blockchain start-up, while Google announces partnerships with BlockApps and Digital Asset to offer customers blockchain solutions as part of Google’s Cloud Platform Marketplace. At this time, Amazon also launched AWS Blockchain templates—pre-set blockchain frameworks that support Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.

 

In the past ten years, blockchain has gone from being one of Bitcoin’s key underpinnings to a transformative technology in its own right. With this year’s worldwide spending projected to be US$1.5 billion—double that of 2017—and could grow to US$11.7 billion in 2022, it’s clear blockchain will play an increasingly important and significant part of the business technology landscape.

 


From cryptocurrency to food safety: Ten key events in blockchain’s evolution


INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning

Machine Learning is the science of finding patterns in data and using those patterns to make predictions. It is the process by which, over time, machines (computers) are enabled without explicit programming, to learn, grow, and change autonomously through real-world interactions.  It is a subsect of Artificial Intelligence (AI).

AI refers to a computer system’s ability to perform tasks that normally require human intelligence, such as visual perception, speech recognition, communication, decision-making, planning, learning, and the ability to move and manipulate objects.

The infographic below explores the different applications of Machine Learning in a variety of industries, to learn more about AI and Machine Learning opportunities in your industry, please contact us for a free no-obligation discussion. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning


INFOGRAPHIC: Demystifying Machine Learning