Sony Corporation announced the development of a common database platform (Blockchain Common Database or “BCDB”) utilizing blockchain technology for MaaS (Mobility as a Service), a next-generation mobility service integrating multiple transportation systems. Multi-modal MaaS integrates means of transportation such as trains, buses, taxis, car sharing, on demand mobility services and rental bicycles using IT and cloud technology to provide users with information regarding optimal routes to desired destinations and recommended transportation means and services. It presents details including the route, required time and total cost, and covers the entire process from booking to clearing. Independently developed by Sony, BCDB features high-speed data processing to enable more than 7 million users per day to record and share anonymized travel history and revenue allocation.
Sony participated in the Blockchain Challenge Program, a MaaS initiative proposed by the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management in 2019, and conducted a verification test of BCDB until the end of March 2020. Among the participants, only Sony’s BCDB was able to meet the ministry’s required specifications, making it the industry’s first project to successfully realize the recording and sharing of large-scale movement history and revenue allocation by using blockchain technology for MaaS.
Blockchain technology is used to create networks where programs and information are difficult to destroy or alter, and is well-suited for sharing and managing data and sensitive information. BCDB has made it possible to record and share information in a distributed ledger of the blockchain among various Transportation Operators, Transaction Processors and MaaS Service Provides involved in MaaS, thereby making it possible to utilize information with reliability and transparency and deploy it as a service.
In Europe, many organizations, including the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, are implementing measures to promote MaaS involving multiple transportation operators, such as promoting open data on transportation and decentralized data management. BCDB, as a decentralized information platform, may contribute to the improvement of travel efficiency and measures for future smart city plans by analyzing and utilizing movement records and revenue allocation. BCDB, which underwent real testing during the Blockchain Challenge Program, has scalability and is being calibrated for even faster data processing so that it can be used by transportation operators in large cities. In addition, BCDB is not limited to MaaS, and can be expected to be applied to the recording and sharing of various forms of sensor data related to the development of smart cities.
The Sony Group is expanding the application of blockchain technology in diverse areas, such as the development of authentication, sharing and authority management systems for education data in the education field, and the development of a digital content rights information processing system in the field of entertainment. It is also engaged in the development of virtual currency hardware wallet technology using IC cards to provide convenience and security of private key management for all blockchain related services. Going forward, Sony will continue to explore potential applications for blockchain in various fields with the aim of further popularizing blockchain technology.
Image by Pete Linforth