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Printing world advised to look at blockchain

Analyst house admits the technology is still immature but advises vendors and resellers to consider how it could impact the world of print

The print industry and its channel need to take a look at Blockchain to establish just what the technology could mean for the sector.

Blockchain has been hyped for a while with the promise of linked blocks of records that cannot be modified being seen as a way to revolutionise the way data is shared. 

Given the implications for those looking to print data a report from Quocirca has found that although it is still early days for the technology the wisest thing to do is keep a watching brief on the technology.

“As the initial hype around blockchain begins to subside, businesses are starting to explore its applications for their sector and the print industry is no different. Faced with pressure to evolve to combat the risks of disruption, print companies are keen to gain competitive advantage from innovations such as blockchain, but also cautious over the risks of backing a relatively immature technology," said Quocirca research director Louella Fernandes.

The analyst house is pushing vendors and the channel towards its conclusion that Blockchain can be built into the offerings from managed print suppliers.

“Making sense of the blockchain opportunity is important for the print industry. The challenge will be turning a disruptive technology into a strategic advantage. We’re already seeing some forays being made by sector leaders, but there will need to be greater understanding and commitment from both vendors and the channel before the full picture of blockchain’s applications in print becomes clear," she said.

The 3D printing world has already started to spot the potential of blockchain with it providing an opportunity to connect a distributed network of printers and could speed the process up because the files could be calculated across several machines.

There has also been an issue with copying in the 3D world and some are seeing blockchain as a way of making sure that some of the more commercial applications of the technology are protected. There have been some suggestions that a license could be issued for those looking to print off components and medical supplies.

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