It has been 35 years since the Internet took TCP / IP as its core network protocol in 1983. After the introduction of smart phones, network links have become a daily task available to mankind every day. However, the painful experience of dial-up Internet access in the infancy of the Internet is likely to become the bottleneck of the development of the Internet of things (IOT) in the next few years.
Seeing this historical proposition, Zhu Yizhen, the founder of Nanxing speed maker (SSX), who has more than 20 years of software and hardware experience, Huang Jingqun, an open source software expert, and Lin Hongquan, the co-founder of unknown small station and the founder of flyingv, a fund-raising platform, jointly founded Taiwan’s start-up biilabs and sought solutions with distributed ledger technology.
Biilabs has laid a good foundation for the next generation of scientific and Technological Development and positioned itself as red hat in the blockchain era. What do they see as the future bottleneck of the Internet of things? What are the blockchain application scenarios you can see now? The following is an exclusive interview with DIGITIMES by Zhu Yizhen, CEO of biilabs.
Q: you are all entrepreneurs who have successfully started businesses for many times. What opportunities does blockchain give you? What problem do you want to solve?
A: I studied chemistry in college. Later, because I was interested in making open source software, my longest working experience was as a product manager in an industrial computer company. Later, I was also responsible for the Asia Pacific business of embedded hardware in a foreign company. Embedded hardware is actually the predecessor of the term Internet of things (IOT).
He also started a business with senior students to provide special base stations for railway and high-speed railway control. Originally, he wanted to design a base station in Taiwan and find someone else to work on it. However, because there is no base station industry in Taiwan, everyone will not do anything. As a result, he will do everything by himself and turn a team originally expected to be 20 people into hundreds of people.
Now I go back to software and blockchain. I feel that some of the capabilities developed at that time, such as the difficult technology of radio, are cross domain applications, which are now in use. We think the Internet of things (IOT) has great opportunities, but we want to find opportunities for start-ups.
By the end of 2015, we will converge to the era of Internet of things, and we will certainly encounter some challenges. Is it information security? Later, it was found that the same thing had happened in the Internet age. When the Internet was first designed 30 years ago, I didn’t expect so many people to use it. Introduction to calculator tells us that the network has various shapes, but in 1983, TCP / IP was set as the standard protocol internationally. As a result, people now think that there is only one kind of network. In fact, it is not. The network used to be very diverse.
However, after the international standard was set as TCP / IP, the problem came. People in those years did not expect that so many people would use the network, so now there are various technologies to make virtual networks. In order to solve the shortage of the initial design scale of the network structure, find an expedient measure.
The cloud is a good example. For example, if we want to talk, we can talk immediately, but in the online world, it is not so easy for two computers to have a conversation. You have to go through the central end of a cloud, tell us that we can talk, and tell us what the handshake is, English? mandarin? Or Taiwanese? If we use different computer languages, we have to shake hands again to get a new agreement.
However, in the era of the Internet of things, it is claimed that 50 billion devices will have a dialogue in 2020, so tens of billions of devices have to shake hands through the central system, which is essentially like being attacked by a network, and they attack themselves.
Seeing the business opportunities of the Internet of things, many businesses in Taiwan want to transform from equipment manufacturers or component suppliers to operators, so they are promoting their own Internet of things platform, but their network processing ability is definitely not as powerful as Google and other technology leaders.
If the assumption of “Internet of things device handshake = cyber attack” is correct, why don’t Google and Amazon tell you? After our research, we think they may think it’s useless to talk to you. When you find that it’s a problem and come to the solver, they are willing to pay more money.
From the perspective of Internet history, centralization and Cloud Architecture and historical strategy, we all think that no technology in history can dominate and lead the future era. If the cloud and centralized architecture have reached the extreme, what is the opposite?
If you want to find a topic that has the opportunity to subvert the mainstream, you should not follow the direction of Google and Amazon. This is what we are exploring. So far, we think the blockchain seems to be the answer, and we haven’t even dug a mine from the perspective of “money”.
Blockchain itself is the concept of P2P. It seems that the Internet of things can use it as an answer. However, the concept of blockchain can be solved, but the blockchain itself still cannot be solved, because its topology limits its solution, requires queuing authentication, and its production capacity is limited in the first place.
Therefore, we continued to search, filtered more than 6000 projects on GitHub, and later found the iota technology. In 2016, we began to participate in the development of iota foundation in an open source way to understand what they are doing and their plans for the future.
These things have also happened in the Internet era, that is, open source Linux. Taiwan’s hardware industry has always been interested in “what” without asking “why”. As long as customers give specifications, they will try to do it. But we participate in open source to know “why”. Ask the right question and the answer will come out.
I think the story of blockchain is a replica of Linux. In the past, everyone thought that Linux should be done from scratch, but later everyone learned to buy it directly from red hat, because your know how shouldn’t be to understand how to build linux from beginning to end, because that’s what red hat does. How should your know how use Linux to make your vertical products or services.
Therefore, we position ourselves as “red hat in the blockchain era”. Red hat’s business model is B2B. Several of our entrepreneurial partners have rich experience in the science and technology industry. We know that B2B is a mature and stable market, but the B2C market needs favorable conditions and people, and there are too many uncontrollable variables. However, B2B2C is a feasible model. Therefore, we decided to focus on the B2B market.
Like red hat, we package the underlying technology of the blockchain as a semi-finished product such as Linux, so that customers can build their vertical products or services through the API we have made for them.
Q: have you started any projects yet?
A: several corporate clients have expressed their willingness to cooperate, such as the consulting company of a large accounting firm. They also embrace blockchain around the world, but technology is not their strength, but consulting services. So work with us to help them solve technical problems and focus their energy and time on other expertise.
We believe that there will be a wave in the future, and blockchain is the infrastructure. The infrastructure of traditional cloud is all kinds of servers, and the infrastructure of blockchain is also related to servers, but it becomes distributed, while the traditional cloud is centralized. So we choose to cooperate with software as a service (SaaS) industry. What we do is platform as a service (PAAS).
Several applications currently under discussion, such as Taipei digital ID, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU). We came to Europe in July to participate in the POC program of a digital identity of the United Nations with iota foundation and multiple equipment manufacturers and system integrators, and use blockchain to manage the ID of staff from multiple countries. And also received inquiries from many countries.
We also cooperated with nextdrive, another start-up company. Their smart meters have successfully entered the Japanese market. In the power liberalization market, everyone can conduct P2P power transactions through the blockchain, and the settlement and payment are carried out on the blockchain.
In addition, we also help a listed company verify whether the discharged wastewater meets the environmental protection standards by using Internet of things (IOT) sensing and blockchain. These data will be directly recorded on the blockchain by the sensor.
In addition, Bosch, a big Internet of things manufacturer in Germany, also invested heavily in iota foundation to explore and verify the application of Internet of things in blockchain. In Europe, Volkswagen also uses blockchain technology to establish car ID. in the future, it does not need to pay with mobile phone, cash or credit card for car refueling. As long as it is automatically sensed, all transactions, maintenance records and mileage are on the blockchain.
We believe that the block chain is a future, but at present, we are focused on speculation. We are pragmatic idealists and hope to solve practical problems in a down-to-earth manner. No one could have imagined 20 years ago that Microsoft would be the company that most supported open source.
As a result, Linux is super successful. We believe that blockchain also needs to solve customers’ pain points and problems before it can expand the market.
Responsible editor: CT