In the first episode of the ubloquity podcast we hear from cofounder Kieran Kelly.
Kieran is a successful tech entrepreneur having worked with multiple organisations to help deliver positive economic change through digital transformation.
The three things that neatly sum him up are butcher, IT nerd and TEDx talker.
After spending almost two decades designing and delivering enterprise security solutions for Government, Defence and Aerospace clients, Kieran has been focusing on the benefits of distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and Blockchain to support and enhance supply chain security and digital asset management.
For the past six years, he has developed and deployed commercial Blockchain solutions for global brands across the food and beverage sector.
An established International speaker Kieran has been recognised by Forbes, Bloomberg, The Times and more recently TEDx as an innovator and thought leader in the development of Blockchain for asset identification and security.
Kieran has now begun work on identifying how emerging technologies can be utilised to reduce operational complexities and challenges across the enterprise to support frictionless trade, and harness the trust economy.
Kieran outline how the genesis of the blockchain is that it can’t be corrupted, and although it’s distributed it remains a single source of truth.
Consumers want to know not only where their food comes from, but that it is safe not only their food, but components. The objective therefore is to support frictionless trade, to pre clear goods to support a trusted trader, a good actor, and to remove that administration, but also to address the fraudulent activity that’s in the marketplace.
Unfortunately fraud is increasing year on year, a recent PwC reports shows there’s been a meteoric increase.
The pandemic has helped the sector innovate more in 14 months than it has in the last ten years. And people are now becoming more focused on their their food, where it comes from, their components, their clothes, the sustainability, the environmental impact.
And for traders to be able to communicate that story, whilst supporting frictionless trade is transformational, and can take so much cost and risk out of that supply chain.
Dom Burch, Kieran Kelly
Dom Burch 00:00
Okay, here goes. Welcome back to the ubloquity podcast with me Dom Burch. Absolutely delighted this week to be joined on the podcast by Kieran Kelly. Now Kieran is one of the founders of ubloquity. And I guess Kieran how would you describe yourself? Because job titles are a thing that we don’t really go in for, but what would be your three words? Or what would be how you would introduce yourself to the listeners of the podcast,
Kieran Kelly 00:34
Dom I think those three words would be butcher, nerd and TEDx talker.
Dom Burch 00:41
Love that. So what brings you to ubloquity Kieran?
Kieran Kelly 00:43
So what started life as a butcher followed my father into the family business, I learned the practice, but very quickly, got an inkling for taking things further studied, being a master butcher. So that’s across all livestock sectors, bovine, equine, porcine or ovine. And a lot of the interesting things that got me Dom were how, expansive cuts can be how much variation there is across the livestock sector and I went into the factories to look at how you could support export of Northern Ireland produce, I guess my inquisity pushed me further into that sector. And then obviously, BSE, hit. Challenges were around sustaining services and the agri sector get really badly hit. So I decided to retrain. And you can see the the natural transition from a butcher into technology! But focused heavily on application forensics, and application performance. And over the years, I have expanded that I’ve had a very varied career, but in and around security national infrastructure cyber. And from about 2010, the whole cryptographic space for data at rest and data transit. And I’ve had the pleasure of travelling all over the world Dom looking after some of the largest companies and their information. And I just had that itch to utilise technology across the supply chain sector, so that that’s what’s brought me to ubloquity.
Dom Burch 02:22
I guess ubloquity started out in life as a food provenance platform, which enables people to trace products back to wherever the most relevant start point is. But it’s become more than that, hasn’t it? What does that look like?
Kieran Kelly 02:34
It’s a good question Dom. I guess the provenance engine becomes the foundation of trust. What we found very quickly was through your work in the livestock sector and asset identification, we could utilise that same engine rate across the supply chain to support frictionless trade. So taking food from a producer in wheels, for example, into Northern Ireland, and sharing that single source of the truth with the relevant departments and the government agencies that need to see that. And typically, you know, before the B word or Brexit, there was no customs, there was no declarations, it was just free trade. As we know, things have changed. The UK has left the European Union. And so we have the complete declarations, multiple administrative documents that have to travel and transit with lorries and containers. And we find that the actual core engine and our functionality, as well as our methodology, can actually pre clear goods at the earliest level. So supporting the trusted trader model, we can actually help transits food and produce and components exit the UK into Northern Ireland and into EU. And likewise, from EU into GB and GB into the EU. And that engine has started to grow, the services and the integration have started to expand. And again, it’s all based on trust.
Dom Burch 04:06
And actually that trust economy that is talked about quite at lot, and probably has been talked about for four or five, maybe even six years, it’s becoming increasingly important, isn’t it for people in every sector, whether you’re the consumer, the processor, the supermarket retailer, to know that the things that you’re purchasing are the things that you intended to buy that they haven’t been manipulated or twisted or, you know, broken or whatever. And actually, the technology that exists now is enabling I guess you to pull in lots of different feeds of reliable information, but put them somewhere, that means they can’t be tampered with. They can’t be changed.
Kieran Kelly 04:45
The genesis of the blockchain is that it can’t be corrupted, and it’s distributed but it remains a single source of truth Dom. Consumers want to know not only where their food comes from, but that it is safe not only their food, but components. Can you imagine aircraft components, or components for an automobile that are registered on the chain? Again, the objective there is to support frictionless trade, to pre clear goods to support a trusted trader, a good actor, and to remove that administration, but also to address the fraudulent activity that’s in the marketplace. Unfortunately, it’s increasing year on year and recent PwC reports show that meteoric increase. If I have to say Dom, the pandemic has helped us innovate more in 14 months than we have in the last 10 years. And people are now, and consumers are now becoming more focused on their their food, where it comes from, their components, their clothes, the sustainability, the environmental impact. And for traders to be able to communicate that story, whilst supporting frictionless trade is transformational, and can take so much cost and risk out of that supply chain.
Dom Burch 06:08
And it keeps on coming back into sharp focus doesn’t it, I mean recently, we were talking about opening up different countries based on having a passport that effectively shows you’ve had two doses of the vaccine. And then some concerns, where was the vaccine produced? What batch of vaccine did you have when you had the shot in your arm. And that information is now digitally held and you know, if you live in the UK might have that on your NHS app, with the use of the technology that now exists in the future at the touch of a button, you will be able to go right back wouldn’t you to the factory that it was produced in the place that it was stored in the pharmacy that it was held in probably even the person who stuck it in your arm.
Kieran Kelly 06:48
Correct Dom that that chain of custody works across all aspects of the supply chain from food components. And as you’ve rightly said, medicines, and for the like of PPE. If you take a look at the fraudulent material that’s in the market and some of the products that have been tested, that are not fit for purpose that are currently in circulation. The trust economy is somewhere where we can unlock value, protect the consumer, and actually start to drive positive economic behaviours from from the very start of manufacturing or from the very start of life.
Dom Burch 07:25
Now it must be hugely exciting for somebody that’s come from a farming background, then got yourself into this technology world of security and data. And then understanding how using things like blockchain have real life value real life purpose, what’s your hopes for the future Kieran? And because I guess you’re looking sort of slightly over the horizon than the rest of us mere mortals, what are the what are the elements that are beginning to come together that are really going to revolutionise how we live, how we create products, how we become more sustainable as a planet,
Kieran Kelly 08:00
I think consumers are becoming more switched on Dom. They want to know more information, but they want the information to be correct. So it is consumer driven. We’re starting to see the evolution of NFTs or non fungible tokens. For example, the art word, or memes, as they’re called, are registered cryptographically. So that the person that that owns the source of that meme, can can generate revenue and protect that asset. Again, it’s about it’s about understanding the source, it’s about protecting that source. And for us, it’s being able to trade on trust to remove third parties, intermediaries that add complexity, that errode or irradicate trust, that increase cost, and at the end of the day, impact the consumer, whether it be an increased price on product, whether it be a cost of sale, or whether it be economically, barriers to trade. We believe that the ubloquity platform and its partners, and its services have a way to help redefine and reshape trade.
Dom Burch 09:11
Let’s talk a little bit about the company because the company you’ve created is also interesting in the way that you’ve structured it the way that you founded it. And also the kind of talent that you’ve attracted to the organisation. Tell me a little bit about, you know, what are the values? What is it that makes ubloquity special, the things that make you proud,
Kieran Kelly 09:29
We are people first organisation and we all share the same passion to showcase how we can use technology for good, not technology for technology’s sake, but technology for good, how we can use it as an enabler as a driver as an enhancement, but also to create better outcomes. For example, right down to the primary producer or farmer today, how we can unlock value for them and actually help the local and the regional economy grow from within that community. So our core values are people first; transparency; and trust; across our own service delivery, our own company ethos, our own management, our own team, and across everything that we do.
Dom Burch 10:19
And in order to keep you on the right lines, you’ve also assembled a team of external advisors, some of you who, who, I guess, are there to challenge your thinking, you know, hold you to account obviously, but also to connect the team at ubloquity with the into their networks. And that I guess, helps you innovate even faster, doesn’t it?
Kieran Kelly 10:36
We call them our critical friends. We should not and cannot mark our own homework, and as a governance model they are experts from across industry from high performance, global technology companies, academia, policy, information system integrators, and the compliance and conformance sector. And each one of them brings a unique digital fingerprint to the service. And that helps us create that foundation on which we can share. It is a two way street. And information is bi directional, but they are critical friends, they challenge us at every turn. And they’re helping us to push the boundaries of what could be possible and what is possible in today’s society and with today’s global challenges.
Dom Burch 11:28
And if there are people listening to this podcast, who perhaps up until this point, haven’t really got their heads around how blockchain, how provenance platforms, how using integrated data in this way, is going to change economies and change the way that people actually trade with one another. What would your advice be to somebody listening to the podcast who is genuinely interested but kind of struggling, I guess to conceptualise, what does this thing mean, for me? In my in the real world?
Kieran Kelly 11:57
It’s an expansive question, I guess that for a consumer that whenever you’re picking up a product or a brand, that you have 100% assurance that that product is authentic, it is safe it’s genuine, it hasn’t been tampered with or altered, it has, it has a value on all the way down that chain the attributes from every actor that has touched that are ingrained in the fabric of the product that you’re either purchasing or consuming or using. And for that level of transparency, there’s a great shift. If we look at a ride sharing apps, or those ups that provide accommodation away from your home, you know, we were always told never to get into the car with strangers. But yet we took that trust leap. And we use ride sharing apps, we consume accommodation services from a company that owns no property, but yet works on trust ratings. So I guess from a consumers point of view, it’s all built on trust.
Dom Burch 13:01
Kieran, it’s been brilliant catching up. It’s been really interesting. Obviously, this podcast is about We Connect Everything and been able to help people connect the dots here and work out, ah I see where this thing’s heading and where this is going. You must be really excited about the future.
Kieran Kelly 13:16
I am Dom, some some challenges and, and some fear, but a little a little fear is good. I guess the future is what we make it and you know, you can’t ignore the changes that are coming. And certainly the ones that are with us have helped us innovate very, very quickly. And that’s something we remain humbled.
Dom Burch 13:41
Thanks for coming on to the ubloquity podcast.
Kieran Kelly 13:43
Dom thanks for your time.
Fri, 7/16 2:54PM • 14:00
dom, kieran, technology, trust, consumer, sector, people, blockchain, support, trade, podcast, product, transit, guess, components, engine, challenges, northern ireland, services, supply chain