Student Academic Conference: Christopher Dufault
Internet of Things and Blockchain Technology: A Comparison of Supply Chains
Join us for the Student Academic Conference on Tuesday, April 16 in the Comstock Memorial Union. View the presentation schedule at mnstate.edu/sac.
By Karissa LaMont
Technology is changing the way we live. With information, schedules, restaurants and stores at the touch of our fingertips, our lives are becoming dependent on what technology offers. With such rapid technological advancement also comes downfalls such as hacking information. What if there was a way to prevent this? Christopher Dufault says the answer lies in blockchain, an encryption technology that is essentially hack proof.
“Blockchain is accessible to anyone who wants access to it,” Dufault said. “It allows for complete transparency in some people’s lives and prevents a lot of the undercurrent activities and negative things from happening.”
A large part of Dufault’s research is theoretical as opposed to practical because it is cutting-edge technology. When it comes to this kind of technology, not all companies are excited to share and potentially give competitors an advantage to improve on it.
“I found companies that are implementing these technologies are not sharing their findings, which is ironic because the whole point of blockchain is to allow for transparency,” Dufault said. “Information is being kept close to the vest by the people who are producing it, so if a company finds a way of implementing this, or some combination of entities agree to make use of this as an international standard, someone needs to have their ear to the ground to be aware of this going on.”
Although blockchain has not been used as much in the United States, countries like Australia, Japan and South Korea are implementing strategies to set an international standard of having both transparency and safety in data. Dufault attended an international conference on blockchain technology as part of his research and spoke with four industry experts who let him borrow abstracts, published papers, and information from presentations.
“The biggest takeaway I want people to recognize is that when enough people bring their creativity and interests of blockchain together, it allows for greater potential application. I hope that at least one person in the audience thinks, ‘this gives me an idea.’ Whether it spawns into a direction of improving their life immediately, inspires them to do additional research or even influences their career path – that makes me a catalyst in something bigger than myself.”
Christopher is a selected graduate lecturer by the MSUM Graduate Student Council.
Program: Master of Business Administration
Year in School: Graduate Student
Hometown: Charlton, Massachusetts