VeChain has developed, and launched, ToolChain as a way for anyone, especially, SMEs to implement blockchain technology. With the advance of 5G, IoT, AI and the ‘Internet of Value’ (IoV), data will play a significant role in the business world.
For enterprises, especially SMEs, to realize the value of data, accessing blockchain technology will be vital. The probability exists that disruptions to existing business models will oblige businesses to embrace new technologies (like blockchain) if they are to stay ahead (or even remain competitive).
The challenge addressed by VeChain
Understanding and adopting blockchain for businesses continues to be a challenge. Obstacles exist when deploying blockchain into existing business models, especially for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This failure is typically caused by one (or all) of three factors:
- high cost
- the lack of professional expertise/technical capabilities.
VeChain’s ToolChain seeks to overcome these obstacles. Launched as a next generation of blockchain-as-a-service (BaaS) platform, VeChain claims ToolChain is the first commercial BaaS platform built on top of a public blockchain which addresses SME pain points.
To do this, ToolChain provides a variety of general interfaces. These seek to eliminate the high technical threshold and substantially lower the costs for SMEs (or even individuals) when considering how to integrate blockchain into their business models. In effect, ToolChain offers the concept of an ‘off-the-shelf’ blockchain solution, via various standardised application modules.
For example, unlike other BaaS products on the market, ToolChain includes a vertical blockchain application focusing on product life cycle management. SMEs can use this as a SaaS solution or customise it as a turnkey package. The solution can then integrate with the existing business of the enterprises with minimal development requirements.
In this way, companies without blockchain development capabilities can acquire a secure and mature blockchain solution at a reasonable cost. As importantly, eco-enterprises and channel partners can build their own applications on the VeChainThor blockchain BaaS platform (assuming they obtain authorisation as a turnkey solution via VeChain).
Additional benefits for SMEs
SMEs can also benefit from a one-stop customized blockchain service, which indludes:
- product life-cycle management
- supply chain management
- data storage
- data verification
- process verification.
VeChain sees these as steps, for SMEs, toward:
- improving brand images
- scaling businesses.
To satisfy different market requirements, VeChain is releasing three ToolChain versions:
- Standard (Version) – which provides a variety of standardised application modules, tools and IoT devices in order that SMEs with no or minimal development capability can implement their own blockchain-based lifecycle management solutions.
- Developer (Version) – for enterprise customers with strong technical capabilities, this version provides a variety of API interfaces, SDK development kits and detailed developer documentation. These enable enterprises to develop various applications based on the VeChainThor Blockchain according to specific needs (and desired hardware solutions).
- Channel Partner (Version) – this newly developed version will support independent deployment and multi-dimensional customisation of ToolChain based on each channel partner’s specific business strength.
In the latter version, becoming a channel partner needs authorisation from VeChain before receiving the ToolChain Turnkey packages for customisation and independent deployment. To VeChain this creates a win-win situation by allowing VeChain’s partners to build their own blockchain-based business ecology to serve customers.
For successful implementation with ToolChain, VeChain envisages a hardware dimension being needed. To address this it has thought about hardware and prepared a collection of suggested devices to implement solutions and to connect to the software for the physical aspects being managed by blockchain. The initial hardware suite includes:
- QR code printer and application software (for easy, immediate at the office, printing of QR codes)
- NFC writer and related software (to create digital labels)
- IoT devices, including RFID chips, sensor devices, and more
- handheld terminal devices (to enable Toolchain apps to bond and activate NFC chips as well as collect and transfer chip ID and other core data)
- physical carriers (for simple transportation of the Toolchain Kit, including QR codes and NFC/RFID digital chips).
Turnkey ToolChain solutions
VeChain sees turnkey solutions being designed to promote the development of blockchain applications on the VeChainThor Blockchain. The justifications are, again:
- elimination of blockchain’s high technical threshold
- a slashing of the cost (to implement blockchain)
- reduction of the time to market.
With the development tools provided within ToolChain and by VeChain (such as general interfaces and API documentation), solutions integrate with existing business processes with minor development requirements. Turnkey packages for enterprises (and developers) mean:
- solutions deploy independently
- developers can deliver custom development which fits with their own business demands and models
- value adds to SME business by meeting diverse market demands.
Enterprise Times: what does this mean
VeChain says that multiple industries have already introduced ToolChain. These industries include energy, automobile, agriculture, wine, FMCG, art auction and insurance. In these industries, ToolChain plays a role in data verification, data sharing, anti-counterfeiting and traceability. The result is that new business models, based on ToolChain, are facilitating SMEs to move towards digital transformation along with (blockchain-associated) brand or image enhancement.
For the future, VeChain says it will remain focused on building its blockchain-based ecosystem. To VeChain, its partners and developers represent the mechanism for expanding the availability of customised ToolChain-based services which:
- address enterprises, including SMEs
- extend application scenarios
- open up new functions.
As Enterprise Times has commented before, it expected 2019 to see an expansion of blockchain-related developer tools. ToolChain fits this expectation – and goes further by:
- seeking to establish an eco-system within which SMEs might find relevant blockchain solutions
- providing tools to developers with ideas for blockchain exploitation, which can then slot into an eco-system with SME customers.