Employees who work on this type of tracks need to be certificated people. Blockchain technology is the tool to achieve this and avoid risks of accidents

 Complying with security protocols for maintaining the Swiss railways will be possible through the use of distributed accounting books, and blockchain technology, for the correct identification of workers in that sector. In this way, the Government will avoid bad practices and new accidents presented due to bad praxis.

Train accidents can be fatal and are often linked back to malpractice on tracks. Due to this, the Swiss government has enforced security regulations and record-keeping requirements of who has worked on the tracks and if they were certified to do so.

The Swiss Federal Railways Company (SBB) works in a pilot to make it real. It has been exploring how to implement its first blockchain use case. The project takes form in the Ethereum’s test network, Rinkeby, to apply blockchain technology in the management of the employees’ digital identity system. The corporation made the announcement on November 12th through a publication on Linum Labs’ corporate blog, which is a software study for blockchain’s architecture where SBB conducts the pilot test.

The main objective is to verify the employee’s identity and their credentials in order to manage the processes of their job automatically in the distributed accounting book, destined to save this type of personal and technical information.

Ethereum’s platform and Uport-Consensys, an identity company based on blockchain technology, were the key to develop the project. Swiss cryptocurle of Zug authorities started shaping the idea in July 2017.

About the initiative, Linum Labs informed: “With uPort it is sought that railway workers, certification authorities and supervisors can have their own unique digital identities, linked to uPort ID, which is then anchored to a blockchain identity. A hash of the worker’s check-in / check-out activities is published in the blockchain, so that the internal database can be audited”.

The reasons

Many companies are involved in this project because there are thousands of construction sites with more than 30,000 employees in Switzerland, which makes it difficult to maintain an organized and centralized control. Each of these sites has a multitude of workers from different construction companies and they all need to be medically fit and certified.

Inadequate work practices in the railways occur despite the efforts made by the government to comply with the safety protocols and maintenance requirements for the registration of activities, along with the certifications of the personnel working on tracks.

The Previous Process

A small group of people participated in a proof of concept (PoC) and worked for five weeks in the creation of the architecture of the application. To do this, they downloaded uPort on their mobile phones, available on Android and iOS, in order to register their uPort ID on Ethereum’s blockchain.

Once the person downloads the application, the ID is associated with the training certificates obtained by the personnel, which provides information on their training for the job. The person’s activities are registered on blockchain platform by using QR codes. Then, they can be reviewed by a supervisor.

Several companies have been experimenting with digital identity on blockchain, in order to overcome the limitations of centralized digital identity systems. Last April, IBM established a cooperation agreement with the Sovrin Foundation, a nonprofit institution dedicated to providing self-sufficient digital identity to operate a decentralized global network. Now, Swiss Federal Railways do the same and joins to others blockchain technology developments that take place in that European country.

By María Victoria Rodríguez


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