IBM (NYSE: IBM) Japan today announced that Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education, a subsidiary of Sony that works to provide global educational services, have developed a new blockchain-based student education records platform. With the solution, school administrators can consolidate and manage students’ educational data from several schools, as well as record and refer their learning history and digital academic transcripts with more certainty. The new platform, developed using IBM Blockchain, uses blockchain technology running on the IBM Cloud to track students’ learning progress, as well as establish transparency and accountability of scholastic achievements between students and schools.
In a world where students often gain certifications from non-traditional methods — online, in universities in different countries — it is essential that they have a way to prove their qualifications. This platform will allow students and learners of all ages to carry with them a digital, trusted record of their achievements that can be easily and quickly verified by any future employers or educational institutions.
The new system can record student data, sharing it with the network of need-to-know parties including school administrators and prospective employers. Using IBM Blockchain, student educational data on the platform is verified. Educational institutions such as schools, colleges, and universities can use it to share data to help teachers more easily determine and implement unique teaching methods for each student, as well as help vendors target offerings based on verified needs. In addition, the platform can help manage a variety of student services offered by different parties and consolidate them in a single repository of information. It also enables parties to reliably share digital transcripts with one another.
Blockchain technology can help bring transparency and help build trust to transactions. It enables users to create networks that are permissioned and immutable; meaning they cannot be changed or altered by any one party. When a transaction takes place on the blockchain, all members of the network can see it, therefore operating from a common truth.
“Blockchain technology has the potential to impact systems in a wide variety of industries, and the educational sphere is no exception when educational data is securely stored on the blockchain and shared among permissioned users. We are pleased that we have worked together with IBM to build a new system which can help effect real change in the education sector,” said Masaaki Isozu, President of Sony Global Education.
The platform is built on IBM Blockchain, which is delivered via the IBM Cloud and powered by Hyperledger Fabric 1.0, a blockchain framework and one of the Hyperledger projects hosted by The Linux Foundation.
“Blockchain offers a new approach to how the lifetime history of data related to a person, place or thing is shared and managed. In effect, data tracked on a blockchain becomes a single source of truth,” said Yoshiki Minowa, Vice President, Partner – Cognitive Process Transformation, Global Business Services, IBM Japan. “We are delighted to have supported Sony Corporation and Sony Global Education to build up a new blockchain-based platform for innovations in education.”
Sony Global Education is working with various educational institutions with the intent to launch the blockchain-based service in 2018. Beyond the education sector, blockchain can be used in a wide range of fields, including supply chain and logistics. As Sony Group, which owns a variety of business domains, continues to evaluate and develop the system, it is considering how to apply blockchain to additional products and services.