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Use case patterns

Market investigation of demand for controlled data sharing, as defined by the BDI, has delivered a series of potential use cases, all driven by actual challenges faced by companies and government agencies. This non-exhaustive list reveals the existence of several recurring generic patterns, suitable for scaling across specific implementations.

Data before shipments

Current practice is that documents, (compliance) declarations and invoices follow shipments, sometimes lagging behind by days or longer. Most documents in transport and logistics are still paper based, adding to the delay. More and more authorities and retailers are demanding at least real-time declarations, which puts a lot of pressure on operations: for mineral oil shipments where trading is highly volatile, for instance, the amount of money involved is huge and sanctions require accurate information on cargo origin, seller, and buyer.


Supply chain visibility

Supply chain visibility for all actors involved is another major demand. For example, collecting a container from a container terminal in a port is only allowed when the maritime transport has been paid and customs has released the container. Negotiating the slot for collecting the container is dependent on many pieces of information from multiple sources. A more mundane example is that of delivery drivers in city centers: getting updates of specific routes, detours, availability of staff, access codes to storage areas maintained by the shop itself, etc., prevents unnecessary delays, dangerous situations for citizens, and damage to vehicles.


Reversing the sequence

The BDI framework allows a reversal of the sequence: data before shipments, notifications when actions are taken. Actions upstream lead to triggers (events) sent downstream: triggers for entities downstream to inspect changed data at the source.

Efficient, fast and secure (only ‘need to know’ data for authenticated data consumers).D


Creating digital shipment data

For centuries, it has been standard practice to transport data on paper documents with the cargo that is shipped. There was no other option. Information analysis of the data on these documents shows that:

  • 80% or more of the data elements are supplied by parties other than the transporter;
  • a document often serves multiple purposes (trade, transport, compliance, coordination, handover registration) in a compromise driven by limited space.

Efforts to digitize the documents run into the cost and complexity of trying to transfer digital information from multiple sources into an application for the transporter, and to export the data again after the fact.


Deconstructing documents
The BDI approach is to deconstruct a document into:

  • events that need to be registered (non-repudiation requirements) and communicated, such as:
    • handovers (signing) between shipper and transporter and customer;
    • movements of cargo under control of customs before formal import.
  • links to the data sources that are accessible on a role-based, need-to-know basis.
  • a (temporary) relationship between parties and data.


This approach reduces the amount and complexity of interfaces, increases flexibility, and removes the need to compromise between different requirements. It becomes easy to add new requirements, such as CSRD reporting: reporting to the shipper what the CO2 emissions of a specific shipment are in real time. New compliance regulations can be supported: a BDI approach to the eFTI regulation IT infrastructure has been successfully demonstrated in a Proof of Concept.


Limiting access

Limiting access to sensitive data is a method to prevent crime. For instance, truckers only need to know the identification number of a container, weight, type of cargo (eg. Dangerous goods), where to pick it up, and where to deliver it. Everything else written on paper documents is required for other purposes. Shifting to digital data that is linked to and only accessible by those in authenticated roles reduces attack options.


Verifying needed

Verifying identities, mandates of representatives, and the proof of delegation is another method to prevent crime. How can an employee in a storage location verify that the trucker wanting to pick up a shipment of valuable electronics is legitimate and sent by the correct party? They need a solution that is easy to use, cheap, and suitable for (temporary) staff from many origins and with limited training.


Alertness with sub-contractors

Enterprises and institutions sub-contract much of their maintenance of equipment to the OEMs or to specialized facility management companies. The actual work is often sub-contracted again and the sub-contractors use self-employed staff to meet demand. The work is done on the premises, creating a security risk. How can guards securing access to the premises verify this chain of delegation of work in relation to the identity and professional qualifications of the natural person in front of them?


Automated checks

Automated digital authentication of onboarded companies, automated verification of representation of a company by natural persons, and order-based authorization provides the infrastructure for a standardized and highly scalable solution.


Electronic locks

More and more electronic locks are becoming mainstream. The safe solution for using these kinds of lock is to create a four-corner interaction: the lock itself, the company controlling the lock, the driver, and the distribution center employee. An event-driven interaction with authentication and geofencing, and a physical interaction on the premises (QR code) provide both ease of use and safety.


Supply chain transparency

Accountability and traceability [link to download] in supply chains is a fast-growing demand from society. CSRD regulations as well as customer demand are increasing the pressure to supply more information from downstream operations to retail and authorities. Examples include the amount of pesticide used to produce flowers and under what conditions livestock have been kept.


Complex supply networks

The operational base of global supply networks is populated by a large number of suppliers, small and large. Parties are active in agriculture, growing and harvesting food or biomaterials, mining minerals or mineral oils, or transporting, trading, and processing these materials, and so on. Their output is input for large and complex supply networks.


Database unfeasible

The traditional information solution is to create a database of uploaded information that can be queried. However, this approach is unpopular with producers because it creates an unwanted new power position and an invitation for (commercial) abuse by the owner of the database.


Keeping control of data
The BDI framework allows producers (data owners) to give data owners control over what data is accessed, when, and by whom. It also allows authenticated customers to access specific data at the source, even data residing with sub-contractors, such as pesticide suppliers. Event-driven communication can be scaled up to many millions of (authenticated) subscribers/data owners.


Collective optimization

Scarcity of (shared) resources, such as public infrastructure (e.g. road capacity, water levels in rivers, parking facilities), and private resources (e.g. loading docks, loading slots, charging stations/net capacity, staff, equipment) drives the need to create a means of collective optimization. It is a well-known effect that individual rational actors compensate for scarcity by overbooking or reserving capacity, creating a self-reinforcing cycle.


Shared visibility
It has been shown that shared visibility of total demand and supply improves the collective response and triggers creativity in finding solutions. However, total demand and supply visibility means collecting sensitive data from all stakeholders.


Electricity demand and supply
A similar challenge is to match the demand and supply of electricity in a grid with volatile energy sources, such as wind and solar. If demand has to follow supply, the challenge is to negotiate with a potentially large number of consumers of energy in real time: who reduces demand and how are consumers compensated financially for that in fractions of a second?

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