Tech giant Zebra Technologies and IOTA present Track & Trace API

  • Zebra Savanna and the IOTA Foundation have introduced a Track & Trace Ledger API that combines barcode/RFID technology with DLT to build distributed supply chain applications.
  • The API currently still uses the devnet. In the future a special IOTA DLT network for Zebra customers will be deployed.

Already in June of this year it was announced that the IOTA Foundation was able to win the tech giant Zebra Technologies as a new partner. The international company with over 7,400 employees and more than 10,000 sales partners and annual sales in 2018 of 4.22 billion USD announced at that time that it would integrate the IOTA Tangle into the Zebra Savanna enterprise platform.

In a blog post for the developer portal, Zebra Technologies has now made public a new step forward in its cooperation with the IOTA Foundation. The IOTA Track&Trace Ledger REST API, now publicly available, enables developers to create “novel track and trace solutions” that combine scanning (barcode) or reading (RFID) transactions with IOTA’s Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to enable the secure exchange of trusted and unalterable data between multiple parties.

Specifically, Zebra and the IOTA Foundation provide a “simple but powerful” REST API that enables integration between Automatic Identification Technologies (AIDC) and the IOTA Tangle. The Track&Trace Ledger API is offered as a service via the Zebra Savanna data services platform, currently in a sandbox preview version preview. For this purpose IOTA streams are used, as Zebra explains:

Actually, such APIs are a thin wrapper on top of IOTA Streams technology, a second layer DLT protocol.

According to Zebra, the ultimate goal is to use information captured directly or indirectly by AIDC to create a digital representation (digital twin) of physical objects and their context (location, ownership, etc.) to enable “a new generation of distributed applications” within the supply chain:

Such Digital Twin representation can be published on a DLT, a secure, decentralised and trusted database that preserves integrity and acts as the single source of truth. Therefore, the DLT actually allows multiple stakeholders to share data in real time across the supply chain (on a B2B or B2C scenario).

With trusted data that cannot be tampered with and that can be verified by any actor in the supply chain, it provides the ability to control access permissions and enables a range of new business models, the tech-giant said. One example is the tracking of different physical objects to optimize a process or make it more visible and transparent. Zebra cites a car tire that has an RFID tag attached to it, which is tracked using RFID:

Thus, every time the tyre passes through a toll plaza (factory, warehouse, transportation, garage), the tyre movement is recorded by an RFID reader and published to the IOTA Ledger, until it reaches the final car where it will be mounted. Later, the driver (the consumer) can also get access and know all the lifecycle of the tyre being used in her car.

But as Zebra also states, the current API implementation sandbox uses the devnet network of the IOTA Foundation. This consists of a limited number of nodes, mainly provided by the IOTA Foundation. However, the level of security and confidentiality of the problems issued in this network are the same as in mainnet. In the future Zebra Technologies and the IOTA Foundation plan to roll out Zebranet, a special IOTA DLT network for Zebra customers.

About Author

Jake Simmons has been a crypto enthusiast since 2016, and since hearing about Bitcoin and blockchain technology, he's been involved with the subject every day. Beyond cryptocurrencies, Jake studied computer science and worked for 2 years for a startup in the blockchain sector. At CNF he is responsible for technical issues. His goal is to make the world aware of cryptocurrencies in a simple and understandable way.

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