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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2019

A distributed ledger for peer-to-peer IoT networks and real-time data transactions: Flowchain

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Flowchain was established in Singapore in 2018 with the core team coming from Taiwan. Jollen Chen is the founder and CEO of the company. He is particularly interested in the development and changes of technologies with his professional background of System Architect based on Linux and Android Open Source systems. In 2015, he was aware of the growing needs of real-time data communication from machine to machine. Jollen started with the research of Web of Things combined his knowledge of blockchain and finally conducted the prototype of Flowchain. He further published his researches on peer-review journals and gave speeches at Hyperledger conferences and other open-source commits to examine his technologies. With the foundation he laid in the past few years, Jollen officially established The Flowchain Foundation in 2018.

Jollen Chen explains what a “smart company” means to him

“The proficiency of POC, proof-of-concept, is crucial to be a Smart Company, especially for emerging IT industries. Product marketing is easier with a clear image or an object; however, to explain and express well about the POC of your company to the potential customers is quite challenging. In particular, mainstream technology development changes rapidly and is quite unpredictable. How to examine the concepts and extract the best solutions and further prove the feasibility for the customers is time-consuming and highly depends on the key technology you can provide. Therefore, to build a solid foundation for the POC of your company needs strong R&D capabilities and the full support from the company.”

The challenges on the stairway to success

Initially, Flowchain was puzzled as to how to find the next mainstream technology and be ready ahead of the curve. It is difficult to let the public comprehend the concept of cutting-edge technology. Therefore, to accumulate experiences with practice and observation on business and foster R & D capability for the key technology are the most important factors for Flowchain to tackle the challenges. No matter how fast the mainstream changes, a company with key technology can easily adapt to the new impacts with better flexibility.

Since Flowchian’s business model focuses on B2B, the firm is often asked with the question about how to keep the sustainability of the enterprises. The sustainability is indeed the major concern of every company even for Flowchain. In the early years as a technical consultant for many global enterprises, Jollen, the founder and CEO of Flowchain, found that the key to building a sustainable operations system is to develop the key technology. The strategy Jollen learned from the cases studies and the business experiences led him to stays focused on the R&D capability when he started Flowchain.

The golden rule to earn trust and respect of customers

Jollen says, “Have a team with strong R&D capability is the golden rule to earn trust and respect of customers all around the world.” Own the key technology with strong R&D capability is the new smart for the IT industries nowadays. The mainstream technology development changes rapidly and is quite unpredictable. The smart company has to keep eyes sharp all the time and has the ability to react fast confronting the new challenges. With the key technology and strong R&D capability, the company would be able to adjust its direction and even its own structure to adapt the new impacts.

Furthermore, Jollen stresses on the need for CSR, he explains, “It should be a duty for any company, organization and even a person who has the ability and resource to attend the CSR activities. Flowchain’s advantage is the IoT Blockchain offering a real-time and secured data flow mechanism. Therefore, we have cooperated with several associations in Taiwan, like environment and wild bird protection with the integration of IoT sensors and the collected open data on the purpose of research and education.”

The future roadmap

Flowchain is going to launch its first hardware product, Flowchain USB Dongle, in September this year. Flowchain USB Dongle works as a Network Co-processor (NCP) of the border router to connect Thread Network with Internet (such as Wifi or Ethernet). By connecting with a PC with Flowchain OS installed, Flowchain USB Dongle can also activate the PPKI in the Flowchain OS to audit the data collected by the full end devices. Moreover, with the upcoming 5G technology, the Flowchain USB Dongle will be able to act as a gateway allowing the users to control the end devices remotely. That is, the technology can apply to Smart Home, Smart city infrastructure, Industrial mesh network, Smart Agriculture, Advanced surveillance system, Connected Health, Wearables with wireless payment and other IoT scenarios in the condition of real-time data transaction and data security.

The company is ready for the age of 5G and IoT with software and hardware products combined with blockchain solutions. In the future, the firm envisions a Flowchain City with efficient energy exchange systems, such as electricity, gas, water, transportation, city security, health system, community services and smart homes with environment-friendly IoT blockchain infrastructure.

CEO Corner

Jollen Chen is the creator and CEO of Flowchain, open source-based IoT blockchain solutions. Before Flowchain, he has been working on embedded software and full-stack web development for many years. His research interests are the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and IoT data security, and he also published several academic papers on IoT and Blockchain. 2 of the research papers are published in ACM SIGBED Review. In 2016, he conducted Flowchain’s open-source projects on IoT Blockchain and is selected as the Top 10 Blockchain Companies to Watch in 2017. Under his leadership, Flowchain is not only recognized as APAC CIO Outlook Top 10 IoT Solution Provider 2019 in the APAC region but also published as the Cover Story of IOT Special Edition.

“We aim to implement the IoT blockchain technology and already proposed the virtual blocks technology that can ensure data stream transactions in a near real-time manner.”