Aetna, Anthem, Health Care Service Corporation, PNC Bank and IBM announce collaboration to establish blockchain-based ecosystem for the healthcare industry

Inclusive blockchain-based ecosystem to be designed to enable healthcare companies to build, share, and deploy solutions that drive digital transformation

ARMONK, N.Y.,  — Aetna, Anthem (NYSE: ANTM), Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), PNC Bank (NYSE: PNC) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a new collaboration to design and create a network using blockchain technology to improve transparency and interoperability in the healthcare industry.  The aim is to create an inclusive blockchain network that can benefit multiple members of the healthcare ecosystem in a highly secure, shared environment. The goal is to allow the blockchain network to enable healthcare companies to build, share and deploy solutions that drive digital transformation in the industry.

Despite major initiatives to digitize healthcare information, major improvements in transparency and interoperability among various groups in the healthcare system are still necessary. By reducing administrative errors and friction through the application of blockchain technology, healthcare information could be exchanged more efficiently. These improvements, once realized could help enhance patient care and reduce unnecessary costs.

The collaboration members intend to use blockchain to address a range of industry challenges, including promoting efficient claims and payment processing, to enable secure and frictionless healthcare information exchanges, and to maintain current and accurate provider directories.

“We are committed to improving the healthcare consumer experience and making our healthcare system work more effectively,” said Claus Jensen, chief technology officer at Aetna, a CVS Health business. “Through the application of blockchain technology, we’ll work to improve data accuracy for providers, regulators, and other stakeholders, and give our members more control over their own data.”

“At Anthem, we recognize the importance of driving change that will simplify the healthcare system for all Americans,” said Rajeev Ronanki, Chief Digital Officer of Anthem, Inc. “We view Blockchain as an enabler for establishing trust. Timely access to medical information has been a stumbling block for creating a seamless consumer experience. With a trusted foundation based on transparency and cryptography, we will provide a faster, safer and more secure way to exchange medical information to transform the  consumer healthcare experience.”

“HCSC is continuously exploring how technology and data can improve the lives of our members by reducing fragmentation of information and connecting parts of the health care system,” said Steve Betts, senior vice president and chief information officer, HCSC. “We are proud to be part of this collaboration focused on enhancing technical knowledge, understanding capabilities and unlocking the possibilities to drive quality, affordable care.”

“Blockchain’s unique attributes make it suitable for large networks of members to quickly exchange sensitive data in a permissioned, controlled, and transparent way,” said Lori Steele, general manager for Healthcare and Life Sciences for IBM. “The fact that these major healthcare players have come together to collaborate indicates the value they see in working together to explore new models that we think could drive more efficiency in the healthcare system and ultimately improve the patient experience.”

“This collaboration will enable healthcare-related data and business transactions to occur in way that addresses market demands for transparency and security, while making it easier for the patient, payer and provider to handle payments” said Chris Ward, head of product, PNC Treasury Management. “Using this technology, we can remove friction, duplication, and administrative costs that continue to plague the industry.”

Aetna, Anthem, HCSC, PNC Bank, and IBM are actively working to further define the initial use cases for the health utility network. The collaboration will add additional members to the network in the coming months including other health organizations, healthcare providers, startups, and technology companies.

MineHub Technologies Collaborates with IBM to Introduce Global Mining and Metals Supply Chain Solution using Blockchain Technology

Goldcorp, ING Bank, Kutcho Copper, Ocean Partners and Wheaton Precious Metals Collaborate with MineHub on Industry-Wide Approach to Enhance Efficiency in Mining

VANCOUVER, British Columbia and ARMONK, N.Y., MineHub Technologies, Inc. (“MineHub”) and IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced a collaboration to use blockchain technology to help improve operational efficiencies, logistics and financing and reduce costs in the high-value mineral concentrates supply chain — from mine to end buyer.

Goldcorp Inc. (TSX: G), ING Bank (NYSE: ING), Kutcho Copper Corp. (TSXV: KC), Ocean Partners USA Inc. and Wheaton Precious Metals Corp. (TSX: WPM) are working with mining technology company MineHub to build the new mining supply chain solution on top of the IBM Blockchain Platform.

The $1.8 trillion* global mining and metals market has traditionally suffered from inefficiencies due to manual, paper-based processes and a lack of transparency between supply chain participants. Blockchain technology helps address this by providing a shared ledger to create a single, real time view of transactions and data across the supply chain that can be seen by all permissioned participants. Each of the participating companies represent key areas of the supply chain from mining, streaming, trade and finance.

“We are delighted to be working with some of the most forward thinking and innovative companies from each area of the mining and metals industry. By digitizing the supply chain, we can increase the level of automation, reduce reliance on intermediaries and increase the speed at which goods are transferred from miners to end buyers. This creates the opportunity for transformative efficiencies and cost reductions throughout all aspects of operations,” said Vince Sorace, Founder and CEO of MineHub. “This is a significant advancement for an industry looking to integrate and use data in ways not previously possible.”

The first use case will be built on the MineHub platform and will manage concentrate from Goldcorp’s Penasquito Mine in Mexico throughout its path to market. When ore is mined, the mining company will upload data, including sustainability and ethical practices, allowing independent verification from regulators to end users as required. When materials are loaded for transport, the MineHub platform can record each transaction and allow permissioned parties to view and reconcile information throughout its journey. Smart contracts for supply chain processes such as trade finance, streaming and royalty contracts will be used by companies such as Wheaton Precious Metals and other institutions who provide credit facilities such as ING Bank in connection with the Penasquito Mine.

Arnout van Heukelem, Global Head of Metals and Mining at ING said, “As a global leader in banking in the metals and mining sector, we feel many of the operational challenges that our clients face. Blockchain has the potential to reduce or even overcome these, as shown by our pioneering work in energy with VAKT, in trade finance with Komgo and Voltron, and in the soft commodity sector. I am excited to be working together with MineHub and help our clients in metals and mining lower costs, increase transparency and contribute to sustainable production and trading.”

The MineHub supply chain platform is built on the cloud-based IBM Blockchain Platform, powered by the Linux Foundation’s Hyperledger Fabric. MineHub plans to expand the collaboration to additional members across the mining industry to encourage innovation and new applications using the technology.

“Blockchain technology can serve as the foundation for transforming entire business processes in the mining industry while creating greater transparency across the supply chain,” said Manish Chawla, general manager, Global Industrial Products, IBM. “By bringing together stakeholders at different points across the mining and minerals supply chain, MineHub is building a platform that has the potential to bring new levels of efficiency and trust to the mining industry.”

MineHub and IBM plan to work together to collaborate on new ways to scale and expand the platform, identify new use cases, and incorporate innovative technologies into the platform in the future.

IBM Showcases New AI Innovations at NRF 2019 to Help Retail Industry Accelerate Customer Experience

IBM and NRF study finds 85 percent of global retail industry preparing for intelligent automation within three years to improve worker and business performance

NEW YORK,  — NRF 2019, NYC Today at the National Retail Federation’s 2019 Big Show, IBM (NYSE: IBM) announced the latest findings of a study into the Retail & Consumer Industry and launched new AI-powered innovations to help the retail industry accelerate customer experience by providing tools designed to optimize worker and business performance. At the heart of this is retail’s growing adoption of intelligent automation, defined as the convergence of people, processes, automation, and AI.

This represents a watershed moment for the industry as human capabilities can be augmented to help reduce errors, while enabling a culture of digital operations and customer experience innovations. Spearheading this transformation is IBM Order Management with Watson Order Optimizer, and IBM MetroPulse, which help retailers improve omni-channel profitability and customer satisfaction.

As the next generation of customers expects brands to provide unmatched experiential design and functionality across multiple interfaces, retaining customer loyalty requires retailers and manufacturers to implement cognitive, automated services while still remaining transparent and secure.

Developed with the National Retail Federation, IBM’s Institute for Business Value released the findings of its latest report, ‘The coming AI revolution in retail and consumer products,‘ which surveyed 1,900 Retail and Consumer Products leaders across 23 countries.  The survey reveals:

  • 85 percent of retail and 79 percent of consumer products companies surveyed plan to be using intelligent automation for supply chain planning by 2021.
  • 79 percent of retail and consumer products companies surveyed expect to be using intelligent automation for customer intelligence by 2021.
  • Retail and consumer products executives surveyed project that intelligent automation capabilities could help increase annual revenue growth by up to 10 percent.

“The changing landscape across today’s retail and consumer industries has resulted in a rapid rise of emerging technologies, especially when it comes to Automation and Artificial Intelligence. Retail is one of the sectors to already implement and invest in cognitive and AI technologies, resulting in new and unexpected offerings for consumers and shoppers around the world,” said Luq Niazi, Global Managing Director, IBM Consumer Industries.

Niazi added, “Throughout the entire value chain and operational infrastructure of B2B and B2C commerce, there has already been an increased adoption and demand for Intelligent Automation. This also brings forth the need for stronger transparency, ethical practices and business prioritization to evaluate and deploy AI responsibility. Working with the right partners and third-party experts can result in acceleration of digital services, capabilities and customer experience and business efficiency for retailers of all sizes.”

“Retailers are increasingly using innovative technologies to offer new ways to shop both online and in-store and provide rewarding careers for employees. From reducing shipping costs and improving supply chain efficiency to personalizing shopping experiences and helping workers acquire new skills, AI technologies allow retailers to compete in the 21st century economy and better serve their customers. This is what the future of retail looks like,” said NRF VP of Research Development and Industry Analysis Mark Mathews.

Leading French retailer Casino Group is already using Intelligent Automation in their operations. Cyril Bourgois, Chief Digital Officer, Groupe Casino, commented that “as the gap between brick-and-mortar and digital stores closes, physical and digital distribution channels will not only need to adapt to tastes and trends but also to anticipate them. This requires an entirely new mindset based on constant adaptation, with a view to more effectively anticipating and meeting consumer expectations while maintaining close, trusting relationships with the customers.”

New AI-Powered Innovations for IBM Order Management –Putting Fulfillment at the Heart of the Customer Experience

New AI-powered innovations from IBM Order Management (OMS) are designed to help organizations improve omni-channel profitability and customer experience. The AI-powered Watson Order Optimization capabilities integrated with OMS can help increase purchase conversions by quickly adapting to seasonal fluctuations, while scaling fulfillment capacity. This supports increased yet regionally varied customer demand.

As the only solution of its kind, omni-channel fulfillment practitioners can increase collaboration across store ops, merchandising, supply chain and IT to save time and improve business performance. Order Optimizer’s new predictive models factor seasonality as it learns daily sell-through patterns, using data from across the fulfillment network to help organizations identify where to best source an order. Additionally, new carrier optimization capabilities can help reduce shipping costs by automatically issuing alternative carrier options to fulfill orders if weight or dimension limits are exceeded for the initial carrier’s restrictions.

These innovations build on the integration of IBM Order Optimizer’s business user controls UI and resolution rooms within Watson Supply Chain Insights. This provides ‘one source of truth’ to help fulfillment leaders analyze the impact to customer experience, SLAs and conversions, while facilitating collaboration among external suppliers to help reduce order processing costs.

“Order Optimizer has allowed REI to see immediate reductions in split shipments, reducing costs and improving customer delivery experiences,” said Matt Bergerson, Director of Omni Channel Experience and Operations, REI. “It also helped us manage capacity constraints as peak, reducing order expedites and providing faster service to our customers.”

IBM MetroPulse

IBM’s Industry Platforms Unit, working with IBM’s India Research Lab, brings new first-of-a-kind, AI-driven capabilities into the latest enhancements to MetroPulse.  The new capabilities are designed to allow consumer industry companies to better understand customers through:

  • New larger data sets from a leading consumer products market data provider and also product sentiment data via product ratings and reviews provider, provides access to consumer preferences and characteristics at the neighborhood level.
  • New retail-industry specific vocabulary into the platform to help the AI understands the difference between fashion items such as jackets and sweaters, and between boat necks and V-necks.
  • New AI algorithms and models that can help identify and understand the signals buried in the data and exposes them in a meaningful and standardized way via APIs. These signals can then be further processed by solutions and additional solution-specific models to help business leaders and merchandisers to understand trends, behaviors, and preferences of their target consumers. The new models use explainable AI techniques to help users of the platform understand why an AI model generates a particular output for a given input.

Available now, the enhanced MetroPulse is a software-as-a-service cloud offering for line of business users in retail and consumer brand businesses.

IBM will demonstrate the capabilities of IBM Order Management and MetroPulse at NRF 2019 in booth #2119.