Swiss Federal Railways (SBB), Linum Labs Blockchain Startup Partner To Enhance Workplace Safety


Swiss Railway Tests Blockchain Identities To Boost Workplace Safety

Recently, the Swiss Federal Rails (SSB) has completed its proof of concept of a blockchain-based credential management system for workers that are employed by the company in their construction sites.

This project originally ran from May to November and it was aimed at improving the current way that things are handled because the process is currently paper-based and manual, which makes it more agile in the digital age.

Daniele Pallecchi from the Swiss National Rail Company, has told the media that the technology may help in a diverse range of fields which include the safety of the sites and the qualification of the personnel that would be working there.

According to her, the solution was originally developed by Linum Labs to be used in the platforms of the company. It uses the open source technology of uPort, which was designed by ConsenSys.

In the trial version of the software, the workers have created their digital identities in the uPort on their mobile devices and the SSB issued them certificates that were used to confirm that they were appropriate. When the worked used these digital IDs later, they used it to sign in and out of construction sites where they worked. They could scan a QR Code from their apps on the phone.

Technology Improving Certification

The main advantage of using uPort is that the certification authorities and supervisors were able to use their unique digital identities linked to their uPort IDs and this was all anchored on the blockchain. The system is greatly more efficient than paper and it is decentralized and easy to access.

By using it, supervisors could reach the information more easily and they would know that it was true because of the immutable ledger of the blockchain. The information is fully auditable, too.

The system could even be used to be directly connected to identity systems authorized by city administrations like the Zug ID, which also uses the uPort technology. In fact, this happened when the product was trialed in Zug.

While uPort has not been directly involved in the railway project that is using its technology, its head of product, Thierry Bonfante, has affirmed that their part is to make sure that the companies get everything that they need from them. The company has upgraded the structure of its product to serve the railway project better and to gets its scalability better, as well as for privacy concerns.

The uPort technology is based on Ethereum, so it suffers from all its problems, including scaling, one of the main problems that the Ethereum community currently faces. This makes the system slower and more ineffective than it should be.

Therefore, the company decided to change the program a bit and not make all the operations directly on the blockchain. Another issue is that the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was implemented this year, cites the “right to be forgotten”, which would demand that some information about someone should be removed of the public domain by request.

Using the blockchain would forfeit the right to be forgotten, the creators believe, as the information of the users is stored there. This way, the blockchain is only used for key management purposed like rotation, revocation and delegation and does not store a lot of information about people.

This way, the director believes that the service works considerably better for small amounts of information. However, in the future, the market will be more complex and “it will not work on a phone”, uPort affirms, as they are trying to find new solutions that can help the company in the future.

Alice Nawful, the director of uPort, has affirmed that there are many possibilities for the future of verifiable credentials technology and that this is only the beginning as we will certainly see a lot more of this in the future.

She affirms that before this software, the process was considerably slower and unoptimized but that there is still a lot to improve on this technology in the coming years.

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