Hype can be a burden for new technologies. The 2001 release of the Segway, now best known as an occasional accessory of mall cops, was accompanied by tremendous fanfare about the device's transformative potential (including Steve Jobs comparing it to the first PCs), which it never lived up to. On the flipside, some breakthroughs like the Nintendo Switch gaming console were greeted with what amounted to anti-hype, before unexpectedly catching on with the public.
Where does blockchain land in this spectrum of possibilities? IT research firm Gartner placed it near the apex of its Hype Cycle in August 2017, during the record surge in digital currency prices. The Hype Cycle structure predicts blockchain will become less discussed in the coming years but then rebound as it becomes more mature. Many technologies, such as the World Wide Web during the 1990s and 2000s, have followed this same trajectory of mounting hype, sudden disillusionment and long-term revival.
With blockchain maturity still several years away, it makes sense to start looking ahead at how it might be incorporated into your organization's workflows.
Blockchain preparations: What your company can do now to get ready
Blockchain is not a specific technical solution a la Microsoft Office, nor is it even an overarching platform like Apple iOS. Rather, it's one component - namely, an irreversible digital ledger - that can be combined with other technologies to produce a potentially wide range of inventions such as cryptocurrencies, enhanced logistics tracking systems and tamper-proof medical records.
As a result, weaving it into your IT infrastructure requires a broad assessment of your current capabilities, especially in:
There's been a constant drumbeat for many years about the shortage of skilled security personnel. In theory, blockchain should help alleviate this burden by supporting more automated, secure and unfalsifiable digital transactions. However, the immutability of blockchain is hardly enough on its own to protect the many valuable assets that might eventually intersect with blockchains.
Cryptocurrency is routinely stolen from online exchanges. Plus, it's possible for blockchain participants to be distracted by processing already-solved transactions. In light of these risks, organizations need to ensure they have sufficient technology staffing to implement and sustain safe perimeter security as well as robust account access controls for protecting their potential blockchain projects.
Blockchain is a potentially major new frontier in how applications are developed. Teams of experienced engineers, such as full stack developers and computer vision engineers, will be integral in turning blockchain dreams into reality.
Hiring these individuals isn't always easy, though. Demand often outstrips supply and many large firms compete for talent by offering enormous compensation packages. It's key to work with a proven technology staffing provider like Paramount to ensure you have the right team.
"Blockchain is a potentially major new frontier in how applications are developed."
Like a cloud platform, a blockchain can seem nebulous from afar, but at its core it lives or dies based on the performance of its underlying IT infrastructure. That means compute, storage and networking power, and potentially lots of it as the blockchain's scope expands.
It's a good idea to have all of these resources in place before going all in on any blockchain projects down the road. Paramount can help with our data storage solutions and other IT services, which complement what we offer in terms of staffing. Reach out to our team to find out more today.