In a world where data privacy—or lack thereof—is on everyone’s mind, it may be difficult to visualize widespread data sharing. But thanks to blockchain, that’s exactly what’s happening, opening up a potential floodgate of consumer-and company-driven innovations as a result of greater data accessibility.

Data sharing is simply making your data available to others. While the term has traditionally been used in academic circles, widespread use of big data and analytics in business is making the practice more common in companies worldwide. According to a recent Information Age article, “Companies that take advantage of data sharing ecosystems open their insights exponentially and will advance ahead of their competitors by utilizing data held by other organizations.”

But where does blockchain come in?

Blockchain technology guarantees that the shared data cannot be accessed by anyone who is not allowed to see it. Ever. Blockchain’s vault-like security can ensure data is private and protected from unauthorized users and bad actors, making sharing possible between people and organizations.

For example, auto giants General Motors and BMW together announced their support for blockchain as a means of safely and effectively sharing data between themselves and other manufacturers, as reported in Coindesk. According to these leading car manufacturers, sharing data will help get electric cars on the road faster. The information can additionally be used to make cars even smarter by leveraging vastly more amounts of data for design-thinking and decision-making.

“With the advent of blockchain, decentral[ized] data management can be implemented in a privacy-preserving and efficient way,” Andre Luckow, blockchain lead at BMW Group, told CoinDesk. “Further, emerging technologies, such as decentral[ized] machine learning, secure multi-party confidential computing, and decentral[ized] data markets, will provide the fabric for data processing in the autonomous age.”

In other news, Singapore-based startup Ocean Protocol recently announced the beta of its blockchain-based data-sharing platform. According to the company’s announcement, the “Beta network paves the ground for a series of private and public partnerships from the research, insurance, retail, and healthcare sectors to deploy their Proof of Concept solutions on the blockchain-enabled data-sharing platform. Existing collaborators include AI Singapore, Aviva, Unilever, Johnson & Johnson, and Roche, all aiming at using Ocean Protocol to set standards and demonstrate how to share data safely and securely without compromising privacy or ownership.”

When harnessed properly and ethically, data sharing opens up new ways of working together and new collaborations between parties—both internally and externally. We’ll continue to monitor both of these exciting developments on data sharing and keep you updated on new developments in data sharing right here on the APEX of Innovation.