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Sony Seeks Patent for Education Platform Powered by Blockchain


Sony Global Education recently developed a centralized modern ledger powered by the blockchain to store education records. It could become alternative to the fragmented record-keeping processes in educational institutions today.

Sony mentioned in their press release that “[blockchain] technology has the potential to realize an entirely new infrastructure system for sharing records securely over the network… opening new doors of possibilities for academic records and how they are assessed.”

In February 2016, Sony developed technology using blockchain for the open sharing of academic proficiency and progress records. In August 2017, Sony could authenticate and share records using blockchain technology. By late 2017, Sony filed for a patent highlighting the use of blockchain technology in their education platform.

With these newly developed systems, Sony’s centralized ledger can now connect data from multiple sources and convert the data into digital transcripts. Despite the focus on education, Sony believes that blockchain technology is extremely versatile and can have a large impact in other fields including IoT, logistics and the sharing economy.

Sony’s centralized ledger

Unlike today’s record management systems, Sony’s centralized ledger can store a variety of documents like test scores, degrees, and diplomas as a digital transcript, even if they are from different providers.

While this will have a significant benefit for educational institutions, it also has a direct effect on the student. On Sony’s newly developed blockchain system, a student can quickly retrieve their data concerning academic records from the educational institutions they’ve studied with, provided these organizations are on the network. Easy and safe retrieval of educational history is useful for students, especially for job interviews and assessments.

Furthermore, by organizing student data effectively, organizations can analyze the collection of data and use analytics or even artificial intelligence to improve curriculums and management.

Sony believes that by centralizing education records, centralization will decrease academic falsification, enable easy access for third parties and with data analytics, allow institutions to improve the overall education experience.

How Sony’s blockchain developments may work in practice

In November 2017, Sony filed a patent titled Electronic Apparatus, Method for Electronic Apparatus and Information Processing System. The patent contained key information concerning Sony’s use of blockchain technology for the education platform.

Sony mentioned in their patent that “the [blockchain] which is a trust chain, may be used to store information such as education experiences, certificates and so on of a user. The information contains, for example, studying which courses and possessing which certificates. In addition, based on concepts of a smart contract and a smart property, knowledge may also be exchanged, transacted and transferred via the blockchain as a property.”

The application goes on to explain third parties that need information, like teachers or administrators, can run the network nodes – computers connected to the blockchain network. It also refers to cementing educational experiences on the chain once relevant users have validated it.

Going beyond education

Sony also hinted at other possible uses for the technology beyond the scope of education. One hint included the creation of a platform that connects vehicles with a common network. According to the application’s authors, the technology will store personal data from every driver and enable cars to report real-time road conditions to one another.

Sony mentioned in their press release that, “by applying the electronic apparatus of the present disclosure to a vehicle (i.e., a node), trust can be transferred between uncorrelated entities using the [blockchain] technology, and real and valid real-time road conditions information is obtained in real-time according to the consensus. In this way, decentralized real-time road conditions observation and further a navigation system may be realized.”

Further applications of the technology could extend as far as contract and property management. While extended applications are primarily theoretical at the moment, Sony hopes to partner with a variety of educational institutions and roll out their blockchain based education platform in 2018. They will trial the new system for their Global Math Challenge, a worldwide competition that takes place later this year.


Image credit: SONY


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