The TrustedFramework is a unique component of the general InterQ architecture.
Engineering Ingegneria Informatica S.p.A. (ENG) is the first IT company in Italy and among the top 10 in Europe, with 11,000 professionals in 65 locations worldwide and a consolidated revenue of €1.2B in 2018. ENG serves clients in more than 20 countries, designing, developing and implementing innovative solutions for all major business areas. To fuel this approach, ENG has an internal Research & Development workforce of more than 420 researchers across 4 labs. With a significant annual R&D investment of €40M, ENG plays a leading role in research by coordinating national and international projects and a network of industrial and research / academic partners throughout Europe.
Could you describe the role of WP6 in InterQ concept?
WP6 is in charge of the development and integration of the InterQ TrustedFramework. The TrustedFramework is a unique component of the general InterQ architecture, because it’s a transversal layer that makes some common functionality available to all systems. Such functionality is all about enhancing trust in the quality management process – hence the name. As modern supply chains are trending towards decentralization – i.e., a governance style that is not based on any central authority but rather on a collaboration between peers – the TrustedFramework will use Blockchain and smart contracts as a key enabling technology.
Which are the main challenges faced by WP6?
Blockchain platforms – at least, “permissioned” ones – are now mature enough to be considered nearly as a commodity, so the challenge is not in baseline technologies. Real innovation will come from how these new capabilities will be actually leveraged in the industry. Here we indeed have to change the mindset of users, because it is sometimes difficult to reinvent a centralized process as a decentralized one. All the InterQ pilot applications present some unique challenges, but are also an excellent blueprint for the development of similar solutions.
How do you expect that InterQ will change current manufacturing processes?
The InterQ project revolves around the core concept of Process / Product / Data Quality Hallmark (PPD QH). The project defines the PPD QH as the main instrument to achieve Zero Defect Manufacturing in a supply chain: a measurement of quality that is time stamped, digitally signed and securely stored, so that it may be referenced as a trustworthydocument by any stakeholder. To this goal, data authenticity and integrity must be relied upon even when the supply chain has a lax hierarchy (if any at all). This is indeed the role of the TrustedFramework. If the TrustedFramework is successful in its mission – i.e., enabling trust – then we expect manufacturing processes to become more and more decentralized in the future.
INTERQ is supported by the European Union. Have you participated in more projects funded by the EU? How do you evaluate them?
QU4LITY and MARKET4.0 are both Innovation Actions, funded under the H2020 programme, that are similar in scope to InterQ – in particular QU4LITY, which is about Zero-Defect Manufacturing. Our contribution there is also focused on the decentralization of manufacturing and maintenance processes through Blockchain technology.