What is Fl@World?

Fl@World (pronounced FlatWorld) is a cloud technology that you use to make your data, Smart Data. You do this by uploading your data (structured or unstructured) to Fl@World where it will be stored securely; Fl@World will then create a ‘Smart’ version of your data.

What is Smart Data?

  • Smart Data is data that has been uploaded to and ‘flattened’ by Fl@World so that it can be read by any application or platform. Your ‘flattened’ Smart Data is now vendor neutral and platform agnostic so that you no longer have to worry about the cost and complexity of compatibility issues.
  • Smart Data is machine readable and can be combined, through Fl@World Smart Data Connection Points, with any other Smart Data. This means huge savings in time and money by avoiding the need to ‘fix’ the formatting of your data.
  • Smart Data allows you to control, in real-time, who has access to it and what, if anything, they can do with it.
  • Smart Data activity is logged in real-time so it is auditable and compliant with international regulatory requirements.
  • Smart Data is inherently valuable, so Fl@World encrypts it securely to disk.

Why did you call it Fl@World?

We were inspired by the book, ‘The World is Flat: A Brief History of the Twenty-first Century’ by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and author, Thomas L. Friedman. Published in 2005, it describes how globalisation has levelled the playing field in business, with traditional borders no longer mattering as they did in the past. We took this idea and ‘ran with it’ to what we were saw as its logical conclusion once you added the obstacles and advantages realised as the digital and data realities were added to the global business arena.

Why did you build it?

It all began with the idea that we wanted to make change - BIG change. And to do that, we knew companies, communities and countries all need money - but we’re were, and are, in a position where everyone had to do more with less: less time and less money. So we decided to create a piece of technology that would enable change without expecting a great chunk of cash or time. We wanted to save both.

The consistent problem every organisation (no matter its size) seems to face is the fact that there systems, processes and applications don’t work together - and the data they produce and/or hold is incompatible. The cost and complexity around trying to solve this was massive and took up huge percentages of budgets. We built Fl@World to solve this.

Fl@World is focused on enabling anyone (or anything – think IOT, AI etc.) to be able to participate in the global, digital/data economy without the need for expensive and largely failing, old-school technologies, processes and approaches. That is why it was important that Fl@World be affordable.

Our goals were to enable anyone, anywhere to a) participate in the 4th Industrial Revolution or second machine age, which is digital and data driven; and b) to participate in the value chain that is derived from the ownership of their data.

We take it as a given that each of us, as endusers, have come to expect  a hyper-personalised service delivery. We want what we want, when we want it, delivered how we want it on the platform we want to use. This ultimate user experience requires data collaboration by a number of service vendors systems, companies and participants.

Old school (BFW - Before Fl@World) approaches didn’t address the fact that Smart Data is currency. We believe that everyone who contributes Smart Data to the enduser experience should be compensated - in currency, services, etc. That is why it was equally important that Smart Data be shareable and auditable.

What exactly does Fl@World ‘do’?

It creates ultra-secure real-time, hyper-personalised Smart Data views that are comprised of Smart Data that is provided by participants. Each of the participants can supply as much, or as little (or none) Smart Data as they choose to. Everyone in Fl@World has complete control over their Smart Data, how it is used, with whom it is used by. Fl@World controls the security around everyone’s Smart Data and provides the process that allows you to create these real-time hyper-personalised views yourself and also contribute to other participants views.

You can use Fl@World to share your SmartData as many times as you want, with as many participants as you want while selectively sharing only what you want to each time. Think of it as reusing and repackaging your data for each specific use e.g. what Smart Data a customer would have access to is different to what customer accounts person would have access to.

What are Smart Data Connection Points?

Fl@World makes your data (the data you’ve uploaded to Fl@World), Smart Data, via Connection Points. You can think of Connection Points as ‘hubs’ where Smart Data is combined and viewed with other Smart Data (from your own sources or sources outside your ‘firewalls’) that you’ve agreed to work with.

To combine Smart Data you simply create a Smart Data Connection Point. This creates a unique address. (Think of it like creating an ultra-secure, empty house on a street - only you know its there, what the address is and you have the only key).

Then you select what Smart Data you want to add to this new Smart Data Connection Point. For example, you might decide to share certain customer information that you’ve loaded into Fl@World - you’ve uploaded the customer’s name and address but decided that you only want to share the customer’s name not the customer’s address.

Simply add the participants that you would like to give access to the Smart Data Connection Point. Fl@World creates a unique address and key for each participant (using the house as an example, each participant has their own unique address and key to the house – what they see in the house is the customer name  as they selected to share above).  

Permitted participants, using their own key to your Smart Data Connection Point, can view the Smart Data that is there and, if you’ve given them permission to, can also add their own Smart Data to it.

How is Fl@World different from other data platforms on the market?

Data sharing technologies such as Drop box allow you to share files. This is akin to shipping containers around the world. They allow you to store goods but they don’t enable you to setup your own ship (or shop) that will likely have a wide range of goods in many different containers (or shelves), each with their own contractual terms and conditions.

Data exchange technologies enable data providers to share their data securely – they sometimes even provide function like data masking etc. Again, as with Data sharing technologies, they stop short of solving a huge underlying need and pain point. Data is truly valuable when the consumer of the data has exactly (and only!) what they need – even if this data is coming from different systems, in different formats and, potentially, from different companies, while dealing with data security and government privacy and compliance laws. The functionality of creating these real-time, virtual data views for the consumer is not provided by these platforms. Instead, that is left up to the company that it utilising the data.

Technologies like SharePoint blur the boundary of the data sharing and data exchange, and may also add in an MS programming environment as well as web server hosting etc. But generally SharePoint customisation is lengthy, expensive and more often than not, completely vendor locked.

Fl@World, unlike data sharing technologies, enables you to selectively share specific Smart Data held within files and combine it with other specifically selected Smart Data that you have loaded or data from other participants (security permitting). This combined Smart Data creates hyper-personalised data view for end users.

Fl@World is non-opinionated and vendor neutral. It enables any UX, server technology, deployment technology etc. to utilise its capability even though they do not offer similar functionality to Fl@World.

Fl@WorId is revolutionary in terms of its design and simplicity of use compared to data sharing and data exchange platforms, which are unlikely to achieve similar functionality to Fl@World, if they could it would entail a large, proprietary technology build. Fl@World is vastly cheaper and extremely simple to implement and use, and it doesn’t lock you into a proprietary vendor framework and/or technology stack.

How does putting my data into the Fl@World system change my data into some other, proprietary format, that will make it difficult to retrieve or use if I stop using Fl@World?

Fl@World creates a Smart Data version of the data that you put into it. It securely stores your original data ‘as is’, along with your Smart Data version of it, in your own individual Fl@World data vault. You can always retrieve, update and delete your data at any time.

Where are you storing my data?

All of your data - your Smart Data and any Smart Data Connection Points you created along with any Smart Data Connection Points that you have been granted access to - is stored in your individual data vault. Your data vault may be replicated onto other storage devices only for fault tolerance reasons (e.g. if a server farm and/or storage devices went offline) but it is never backed up onto offline storage.

Your data vault and each item inside your data vault is individually encrypted – it is only by you giving explicit permission that Fl@World can enable other participants to utilise your data. Simply put, there is no ‘back door’ method of reading your data.

How quickly can I see benefit from the platform?

Fl@World is the simplest, speediest way for you to create and offer integrated, hyper-personalised, relevant, customer-centric offerings through Smart Data Connection Points.

The fastest way for you to see the benefits of using Fl@World is to create a Proof of Concept by choosing a customer-facing project that focuses on an integrated, omni-channel, real-time (i.e. a dialog) offering. (Generally you will find that there is always a segment of your customer base that is happy to trial new projects for you.)

Your product systems, machine learning and channel technologies (call centres, bots, emailing, SMS etc.) will each have a specific data view for their capability and requirements (i.e. SMS channels will need/use different data than Email) regarding your offering.

Fl@World processes any response to your offering from the customer and notifies the data-owners in real time. The data-owners (i.e. your product systems, etc.) then formulate their response and publish it to all stakeholders in your Connection Point and then the cycle repeats.

The success of this deep hyper-personalised focus can be measured in many different ways, not least of all in the lowered costs compared to using conventional technologies or products to attempt to achieve the same outcome.

Another easy to measure cost saving is that of data science/analysis. Data Scientists can spend up to 60% of their time just trying to format data and equally costly is that once they’ve compiled one data set, they are rarely able to reuse it so the cost of analysis around your data compounds. Additionally, all to often Data Scientists are unaware of the data-provenance, data security etc. issues around much of the data they use - thus leaving organisations open to issues around international regulatory compliance.

Fl@World solves the data formatting challenge out-of-the-box as it automatically converts raw data into Smart Data, which makes the data universally understandable and infinitely reusable. Fl@World also has extremely strong provenance controls that enable only the ‘correct’ data to be made available for use – be that by a Data Scientist or a Machine Learning algorithm.

Fl@World removes the cost, time and complexity of getting data into a useable format so you can start utilising/analysing the Smart Data within hours and see corresponding benefits in relation to strategic decisions, innovation metrics, customer/market insights and general trends through amalgamated research.

What does my IT team need to do to implement FWI?

Your IT team simply downloads their licensed version of Fl@World and confirms some simple parameters (i.e. disc information, etc) and runs the supplied script. Fl@World will then start automatically.

Using REST commands you can use Fl@World immediately (load data, view data, check Fl@World’s health, etc.) so you should be in business in under ten minutes.

For large, bespoke installations, Fl@World is deployed as containerised technology. You simply run as many containers as you need to satisfy your inbound load. Modelling is as simple as: how many sources of data are your bringing together and how many people and processes are going to the reading/interacting with the data.

Who should use the platform?

If:

  • Data is of real value to your business.
  • Offering hyper-personalised services, delivered through both existing channels and via external eco-systems (think Google Home ,Amazon Alexa etc.), can add to your businesses bottom line.
  • Data privacy and security is important to your business.
  • You engage in joint ventures or shared offerings with partners who, in other circumstances, may also be you competitors - so you only want to share select data/information with them.
  • You require security and agility in dealing with the increasing complex challenges around business models and data:
    • systems,
    • processes,
    • privacy,
    • compliance, and
    • eco-systems

then Fl@World can help you today.

What impact will the platform have on my day-to-day?

The Fl@World platform is designed to be low-maintenance and should fit in easily with your existing operations workflows. To utilise Fl@World your usual project teams can manage the relatively simple effort of working out what data is to be uploaded to and shared within your Fl@World Connection Points and what data views are required. 

Who should be the owner of the data?

Fl@World always tracks data ownership. In Fl@World terminology if you load the data Fl@World deems you to be the data-owner. The data-owner controls precisely how their data it utilized.

How would different industries use it?

Here are some examples, but to be honest, we see Fl@World like the grid for the Digital Economy - it will power whatever you want to plug into it!

Asset Management

  • Document/database realtime reporting
  •  Integrated management console
  • Multiple system connectivity including building management, incident reporting systems, contractor monitoring, mobile web systems, automatic backlogging of maintenance databases
  • QR Code/RFID management of assets

Construction/Transport and Logistics

  • Automatic data control
  • Track and Trace
  • Supply chain management and ‘throttling’ information for alliance contractors

Data Brokering

  •  Anonymised/Tokenised data for research
  •  Personalised data sold/shared with permission of data owner
  • Government non-public selective data sharing

Education

  • Personalised, private, out-of-classroom, education-ecosystems
  • Controlled connections and collaborations over specific content, coursework and exercises between student(s), teacher(s), tutor(s) and parent(s)
  • Private, directed discussions and monitoring by teacher(s), tutor(s), parent(s), of the personalised performance, progress and needs of student(s)

Financial Industry / Crypto Currency

  • Realtime inter-institution transfers and data updating
  • Provision of control and auditing requirements
  • Standardised/secure way of handling multi-party data integrity
  • Secure ‘clearing house’ enabling realtime back transfers to be set up with no need for point-to-point solutions or open distributed transaction ledger
  • Provision of infrastructure and controls removing need for open/openly exploitable technology
  • CRM/Back Office integration (file based CSV)

Event Management

  • Matching in-store inventory with online/special offers
  • Skip the line e-ticketing
  • Integrated concierge servicing
  • Multilingual emergency assistance
  • BYOD interaction with available facilities, services and applications

Healthcare

  • Integrated healthcare delivery systems & the consolidation of medical records [See IoT]
  • The viewing & following of healthcare processes via process transparency
  • Self service and self help to customers/employees/suppliers
  • A greater level of service to the consumer thus reducing service costs.

 (Here’s an example of Fl@World’s Smart Data Connection Points being used in the healthcare/wellness arena):

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IoT

  • Smart Clothing
  • Smart sensor networks
  • Personal heath (record and device) management
  • Docketless invoicing
  • Environment monitoring
  • Emergency Response management
  • Disaster impact measurement and relief management

Retail/eCommerce

  •  Knowledge base and supply chain integration
  • People, products and services interaction
  • Hyper-personalised, realtime, multilingual, multi-currency interaction
  • Unified product/service offerings
  • Matching in-store inventory with online/special offers
  • Provenance tracking as a brand (where did my shirt come from; who made it; etc.?)
  • Provenance tracking for luxury items - confirmation of authenticity.

Smart & Connected Buildings/Communities/Cities /Connected Transportation

  • Energy management
  • Maintenance scheduling/notification
  • Facilities/equipment monitoring
  • Emergency handling
  • Health and safety monitoring
  • BYOD interaction with available facilities, services & applications
  • QR Code/RFID management of assets

Is it meant for SMEs or Enterprise sized organisations?

If you need to bring your data together from more than a couple of data sources and/or you spend a lot of time and/or money trying to merge spreadsheets or connect API’s together then Fl@World is the solution for you.

If you want to leverage this unified data to create personalised, Smart Data that your customers, partners etc. can securely see and update, then Fl@World is the cheapest, easiest, most scalable and secure way of doing this.

Are there drawbacks to using Fl@World?

The digital economy requires organizations to think about data as the focal point of their service and value instead of thinking only in terms of API integration (a.k.a process focused). This isn’t necessarily a drawback, but it may require you to shift your perspective slightly.

If data is the new oil, is Fl@World the well?

Fl@world transforms your data into a reusable data asset that can be combined as often as you want. Unlike a can of oil that can only be used once, Fl@World Smart Data can be used an infinite number of times and never ‘runs out’.

 How and why did you build it to scale?

The big wave business is currently undergoing is the push to truly-digital where commerce and services are, at the very least, negotiated and purchased online, and where global eco-delivery-systems (such as Amazon) are available.

If we combine this reality with an exponentially increasing amount of data (structured and unstructured) business are faced with the relentless challenge of being required to scale as quickly as their market demand does. Because tomorrow’s multi-national is probably being built now we created Fl@World to enable them to hit the ground (or the cloud!) running!

Is it Blockchain or Ethereum?

No. Blockchain and Ethereum are distributed ledgers (i.e. shared databases) where everyone can see everyone else’s ledgers and transactions – if they can’t the system doesn’t work as they all have to agree that the ‘current world’ that they see is the same world that everyone else sees.

Ethereum builds on Blockchain technology in that it can execute more advanced code (Smart Contracts) with the idea that everyone can see the code, and therefore give confidence to the parties involved in the contract executing correctly.

Both constructs require you to have a ‘wallet’ with the concept that you will create a onetime anonymous ID for each time you want to transfer or receive money.  If you lose your wallet you have lost your money for good.

Having totally anonymous IDs is a very controversial idea from the perspective of, for instance, a government. The issues of transferring bitcoins into real money in terms of transaction costs, time (you don’t get you money instantly even if you do get get a bitcoin), scrutiny (Anti-Money-Laundering and other forms of funding monitoring) and governing laws (what if someone doesn’t deliver the product or the product broken etc.) are real barriers to the adoption of this technology.

Bitcoin and Ethereum are slow and, currently, not able to handle present transaction loads in finance. Additionally, and understandably, a lot of businesses do not want to share with anyone what smart-contracts they are executing or the amounts being transferred; however, without doing so Bitcoin and Ethereum currently can’t function.

Fl@tWorld deals this problem differently - either party (there can be as many parties as you want) maintains their own ‘wallet’ in Fl@World. You can have as many different parties as you want in each transaction and each of the parties has their own ultra-secure data container that only they can access. Using FlatWorld Smart Data Connection Point’s a transaction can be created where ‘Party A’ requests an update of ‘Party B’s’  balance for X amount with transaction details Y. ‘Party B’ can accept the update (or not). If they accept the update the updated amount is reflected for ‘Party A’ and ‘Party B’ can post details of the transaction to ‘Party A’. Fl@World generates individual receipts for each party for each aspect of the transaction so both parties can validate the data.

The primary business difference is that transactions are private between the transacting parties and that the associated compliance logging, generated by Fl@World along with the user IDs, would enable banks/clearing houses and government regulatory functions to clear transactions much faster than Blockchain or Ethereum.

The primary technical difference is performance: Fl@World is horizontally scalable resulting is a transaction volume thousands of times faster than with Blockchain or Ethereum.

The applications for Fl@World are far more diverse because it provides chain-of-evidence, proof-of-ownership and change histories (i.e. how did the data change, what changed it etc.) and it deals with any form of data – not just Bitcoins.  Additionally, is much cheaper and faster than a Blockchain solution. That notwithstanding Fl@World can be integrated with Bitcoin as easily as any other data provider/consumer can be.

Is it part of the ‘trust economy’?

Fl@World acts as a trust broker:

  • It protects and encrypts your data uniquely.
  • It enables data owners to decide who they will share data with, what data they will share, and how long they want to share it for.
  • It makes sure that data is only shared with the selected participants and also makes sure that the participants are who they say they are.
  • It logs all activity around your data so that you know exactly how your data was used, when it was used and who it was used by.
  • It can also do this for your customers, clients, partners, suppler, in fact anyone you do business with.

This capability opens the way for a) trusted data collaboration, b) new business models, c) better service with up-to-date data and d) potentially deeper business relationships as your clients and customers can see how their data is being used.

What’s the founders’ story?

Kim and Michael met in Amsterdam and decided that, together, they could change the world; they also fell in love at first sight and and got married in Sydney Australia a couple of years later …. but that's another story!

Over a couple of glasses of red wine they visualised a digital economy and an easily accessible tool that would be able to power it. That tool is Fl@World.

If you ask Kim, she’ll describe it as ‘Star Tech’. Why? Well, let’s let her explain:

For me, the easiest way to visualise Fl@World was to think about the difference between Star Wars and Star Trek.

In the Star Wars universe things, people, organisations, almost everything is in a perpetual state of war - everything is fighting everything else. Technologies and systems don’t work together, at best their held together by duct tape and a wing and a prayer in hopes that they don’t fall apart or, at worst, blow up.

And then you have Star Trek. In Star Trek, you have a multitude of civilisations, organisations and worlds working together in a federated way. They each are able to use their own technologies, languages and systems because they have the Universal Translator that lets them communicate and work together in real time.

That’s what we created. To me, though I know its not ‘tech talk’ to say it, Fl@World is the Universal Translator for the Digital Economy.