GS1 US, in collaboration with four solution providers, has confirmed that multiple traceability systems can interoperate to transmit and exchange information about a product's journey throughout the supply chain to support end-to-end food traceability. The first phase of a multi-phase proof-of-concept focused on supply chain visibility and included solutions that leveraged blockchain, cloud and other traceability technology from FoodLogiQ, IBM Food Trust, ripe.io and SAP.
The proof-of-concept participants defined and simulated seafood supply chain data sharing across four traceability systems leveraging GS1 Standards. GS1 Standards support food safety in the supply chain by providing one consistent way for businesses to communicate information about products, leading to faster and more efficient food recalls.
The group determined that the interoperability between solutions was possible when leveraging the GS1 System of Standards for the unique identification of products and locations, as well as GS1 Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) as a standardized data model. EPCIS provided a consistent format for sharing event data and transmitting key information from production to sale by uniformly facilitating the transmission of critical tracking events, such as whether a product had been shipped, received, packed or transformed.
"GS1 US is passionate about leading industry toward interoperable solutions," said Melanie Nuce, senior vice president, corporate development, GS1 US. "These four solution providers have joined together with GS1 US to help solve the challenge of systems interoperability because they recognize the value of GS1 Standards as a foundation for emerging technologies like blockchain and understand the tremendous benefit of that consistency to the end user."
In the next proof-of-concept phase, GS1 US will work with the four solution providers and industry partners, including suppliers, distributors, retailers and foodservice operators, to implement EPCIS and determine how it can be further extended in real-world product tracing. The proof-of-concept will focus on defining and validating industry data requirements before moving on to a phase exploring use cases that leverage traceability standards and any industry-specific requirements to enable interoperability at that stage.
In the next phase, the goal will be to understand data requirements and determine if there is a new technical standard or protocol required for interoperability to enable permissioning, privacy and access controls. Subsequent phases will explore the value of distributed ledger technology in more advanced use cases. This type of collaboration aims to ensure a consistent direction moving forward as traceability standards and their supporting technologies, such as blockchain, scale and mature.