TIBCO’s blockchain projects

During TIBCO Now in Singapore last month, Tibco’s Chief Operating Officer, Matt Quinn, had talked about the industry spending the last 50 to 60 years “polishing” the apple, or simply fine tuning and tweaking existing inventions, instead of making real breakthroughs.

For example, he observed that we may still be beholden to core programming concepts of yesteryear and talked about the way we approach and treat Artificial Intelligence, as one example of us being still unable to break free of the shackles which hold back our innovation and creativity.

He opined, “The systems we build should prepare for the unknown – not polish the apple or help us build a better wheel.”


Enter Tibco Labs, a programme designed for customers and partners to participate and collaborate together with Tibco.

Launched last September, this programme is meant to be a platform for active participation by customers and partners.

Global CTO, Nelson Petracek had described it as a new era in innovation at Tibco. “With TIBCO LABS, we offer our customers and partners an active voice in cultivating the future of the TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud.

“We’re excited to collaborate with our broad ecosystem to build the next wave of relevant, valuable integration and analytics offerings.”

The TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud is an overarching concept that encompasses a lot of the capabilities that Tibco offers. To understand its three categories of Connect, Govern and Augment, is to understand how Tibco breaks down its portfolio of products.

As for TIBCO LABS, ideas for its projects can come from multiple sources; Petracek had shared about an airport approaching them about a potential identity project which may kick off any time this year.

But besides this, there was a recent survey conducted by the analytics and integration vendor, that gave a sneak peek into what execs are prioritising in terms of critical and innovative enabling technologies.

Critical Tech priorities

The TIBCO CXO Innovation Survey  was a global research programme that tapped into the innovation strategies and challenges of 634 respondents. These respondents are professionals in business and IT functional areas with job titles like CXO, senior VP, VP, senior director, and director.

The majority of respondents also came from companies in the USD50million and below revenue band. Almost 5 percent have revenues of over USD10 billion.

What the survey discovered was, when it comes to technologies used to move the digital transformation (DX) strategies of these companies, cloud, artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and open source technologies were the top obvious choices.

But blockchain, an immutable record technology which is often associated with financial technology solutions, was also a top choice for businesses that were in mature and even beginner phases of digital technology adoption.

Blockchain and Cognizant

Tibco’s IT partner, Cognizant had shared about a travel insurance solution that was based upon the blockchain technology, Hyperledger.

Developed in collaboration with Tibco and their joint customer, the blockchain element enables a transparent and rules-driven process that is automated.

Cognizant Director of Projects, Premkumar Arunachalam described the solution as storing information as smart contracts on the blockchain.

“Insurance claims can be a tedious process, and because it is done manually, there are a lot of inconsistencies and delays especially as there can be up to hundreds of insurance claims to be processed every day,” he explained.

A blockchain layer allows insurance claims process be executed in a decentralised way.

All the relevant parties like travel agency, customer, insurance provider and so on, will look at the same contract and work on it in a concurrent manner, instead of the usual conveyor belt manner, whereby one party has to complete a process before the next process by the next party can start.

Records of transactions cannot be erased or tampered with, so a blockchain-based travel insurance solution, saves time, whilst enforcing accuracy, compliance and trust.

Premkumar admitted that this solution is still in the works, although they are approaching other relevant customers with Tibco, to develop the solution for each of them.

TIBCO’s blockchain ambitions

TIBCO Lab’s Project Dovetail announced last September, in essence will allow a blockchain application to be written once, and then be able to run in any other blockchain environment.

Focusing on R3 and HyperLedger versions of blockchain for now, this community project can output something potentially useful for industries like trade and finance that really require standardised blockchain environments across all the banks, across different geographies.

Blockchain smart contracts are like business rules around an agreement that enforce contract obligations in an automated way.

Project Dovetail is meant to make it easier to write Smart Contracts which is quite difficult to do today. Significantly, TIBCO LABS’ blockchain project seems to work toward overcoming current challenges around implementation of blockchain technologies.

On top of that, its potential work around authenticating identities of airport visitors as they move across customs checkpoints, looks infinitely interesting as it will have to navigate certain regulation’s  personal data and privacy requirements.