One of the biggest traditional U.S. retailers Walmart is trying to keep up with its digital competition. For this reason, it decided to take a non-traditional business approach. During 2018, Walmart applied for various blockchain patents, most of them in supply chain segment. The last patent, filed to the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), aims to make supply chain fully automatized. It will aim to do this by using robots and blockchain technology for authentication.
As stated in an official document, Walmart system will use blockchain technology for in-field authentication of autonomous electronic devices. Or, to be clearer, it will use robots. The first robot will be configured to deliver an object to a specified location. It will then wirelessly communicate with a second robot responsible for receiving the object at the specified location. The confirmation signals between robots will contain blockchain keys that will be confirming the identity of both robots. Information about identity will therefore be stored in a distributed blockchain database.
Wireless in-field authentication includes various elements. Some of them are a unique audio signal, an RFID code, an ultra-wideband signal, a barcode and QR code. By implementing this system, Walmart will have fully autonomous supply chain operated by robots and drones.
Other Walmart Blockchain Patents
During this year, Walmart has been very proactive in the blockchain segment. E-commerce is constantly suppressing brick & mortar retail. Thus, Walmart saw its chance to make improvements in this segment based on blockchain. One of their blockchain patents will allow users to customize levels of access and control on various mobile devices. They will be able to accept or decline a package or create and order from their laptop or wearable.
Other blockchain patents will be a backbone of the secure delivery management system. The new system will safeguard items that Walmart purchaser orders until they sign in and collect them.
Besides Walmart, other big retailers, such as Target and French Carrefour, are also exploring blockchain possibilities in their organizations.