FAQ – frequently asked questions
- What is contained in the ARXUM® Suite?The ARXUM® Suite is the first turnkey supply chain solution that enables 100% audit-proof and fully automated cross-company processing of information in your supply chain. Based on a common backend, the ARXUM® Suite offers ready-made plug-and-play modules for your supply chain applications. The following components are part of the ARXUM® Suite:
- Web interface for easy management of your ARXUM® Suite modules
- Up to four ARXUM® Suite modules (Tracking, Traceability, Transfer and Tokenizing)
- Pre-defined Smart Contracts per module for the execution of your services / use cases
- Connectivity Agent to connect your IT infrastructure with the ARXUM® Suite
- User management system to manage users and roles. A connection to an external identity provider is possible.
- Access to a Block Explorer service, for monitoring and checking the ARXUM® Suite transactions and smart contracts.
- What is the Connectivity Agent?
The Connectivity Agent is a piece of software that is installed on premise or in your corporate cloud. It connects your local or external data sources (e.g. file systems, databases, ERP and MES systems, etc.) via REST API to the ARXUM® Suite blockchain. Technically, the Connectivity Agent observes your ARXUM® Suite modules and forwards requests made to your Smart Contracts, to your IT infrastructure, and vice versa.
- What is the purpose of the Tracking Module?
The purpose of the tracking module is to provide real-time information on relevant events along your supply chain. Track an object along a pre-defined process path. Get real-time informationabout WHO is the current owner of an object (tangible or virtual) and WHERE it’s currently located by tracking all supply chain events. Through secure and immutable information storage, all steps, pathways and state transitions can be visualized along the tracking chain (e.g. WHO, WHEN and under WHICH conditions did the state of the object change).
- What is the purpose of the Traceability Module?
The purpose of the Traceability Module is to enable seamless traceability of products and sub-components within your supply chain.
Keep an overview at all times in complex, multi-stage productions and supply chain processes, regardless of your industry sector. By back-tracingthe end product, you always see which components, parts or ingredients have been installed or used. Or, by forward-tracing, you can also see in which end product they were installed or used.
- What is the purpose of the Transfer Module?
The purpose of the transfer module is, to fully automate the exchange of data across company boundaries. Securely provide files or data from your internal data sources (ERP, MES, CAQ, DBMS) to authorized recipients. Yourdata remains safely stored in your own IT system until called up. Smart Contracts within ARXUM® transfer module implement business rules you define, according to which data may be transferred & retrieved. Various conditions and business rules can be programmed and the data owner remains in full control and sovereign of own data through cryptographic access keys. Please note that the transferred data is never stored on the blockchain.
- What is the purpose of the Tokenizing Module?
The purpose of the tokenizing module is the secure digitization of physical objects.Digitize any assets, such as produced materials, products, machines, or even intangible assets such as hours, events & errors using digital tokens. Token and values can be tracked along digital storage locations and ownerships. Smart Contracts define permissions and conditions for the creation, transfer, and deletion of your digital assets. This allows for determining HOW MUCH is in WHICH digital storage location at any given time, or allows for immutable certification of material.
- What are Smart Contracts?
Smart Contracts are programmed self-executing scripts that are natively deployed on a blockchain. They allow enforcing conditions (similar to „If…then…else”) and executing arbitrary automation codes. The Smart Contracts allow trustworthy transactions and agreements between different parties to be carried out. Smart Contracts make all transactions traceable, transparent and irreversible, as all transactions are stored on the blockchain. However, your own process and product data is never stored on the blockchain. As the Smart Contracts themselves are stored onthe blockchain, a contract owner has full traceability on all changes ever done (e.g. to programmed conditions).
- How does a Blockchain work?
Blockchain technology makes it possible to share information with the helpof a decentralized database in a tamper-proof way with many participants. The data storage network is also known as a distributed ledger technology.Data is stored on many nodes (cloud and/or separate computers) in a
peer-to-peer network, whereby each new node has a complete copy of the blockchain. A cryptographic consensus algorithm synchronizes all nodes and makes sure that only one single version of the state („the true data“) exists.
Further Information on blockchain can be found here:
- What is IPFS?
The Inter Planetary File System (IPFS) is a peer-to-peer network and protocol for storing and sharing data in a distributed file system, and is organized much like a blockchain. Storing data on an IPFS cluster returns aunique hash of the data as its identifier, the concept is known as „reference by content“. IPFS is an ideal storage solution for blockchain applications.
Further Information on IPFS can be found here:
- Is my data stored on the Blockchain?
No product or production data (e.g. process or product data of your supply chain) is stored on the ARXUM® blockchain infrastructure. Only the necessary Smart Contracts, including the carried-out transactions, are stored on the ARXUM® blockchain infrastructure. On-chain data can extend to your supply chain events with references to data you may securely store in your internal data bases.
- Which Blockchain does ARXUM® use?
Currently ARXUM® uses the EOSIO blockchain technology in version 1.8.6 (Status June 2020), which runs on ARXUM®’s private cloud infrastructure. We have extended the EOS Blockchain with additional components required in industrial supply chain applications, such as e.g. user administration, a dedicated IPFS cluster or a block explorer.
Further Information on EOS Blockchain can be found here:
EOS Website: https://eos.io
- How is the performance e.g. in transactions / second?
At present, the EOS Blockchain can execute over 4,000 transactions per second. (Status 2019) However, since this is being developed daily, this number will continue to rise. In comparison to peak times, VISA executes about 2,000 transactions per second.
- How scalable is the ARXUM® Suite?
ARXUM® is working with the highly scalable EOSIO technology stack and constantly adapts the infrastructure to the required conditions. Scaling takes place in a very short time, as the ARXUM® Suite is completely basedon a cloud infrastructure, which can be adapted at short notice and as required. Depending on global geographical requirements, on the number of transactions sent or on the complexity of your smart contract code, ARXUM® can hyper-scale to most likely any condition.
- Will other companies get direct access to my database?
Although the ARXUM® Transfer Module fully automates inter-company data exchange, no other company will get direct access to your database! All data access requests are handled by the ARXUM® Transfer Module’s smart contract. The Connectivity Agent establishes a connection between your IT system and the ARXUM®Suite smart contracts. A request for data access is not sent to your IT, but is handled by the smart contract. The requested data is transmitted via a separate channel (e.g. IPFS) to the requestor. In fact the ARXUM® Suite services do not necessarily need full access to your data for a transfer!
- Will I have to open a port in my firewall to give access to external partners?
You do not need to open any firewall ports for a connection from the outside. You only need to allow the Connectivity Agent access to the ARXUM® blockchain network. After that, the data transfer always runs from internal to external. No external partner can directly access your databases. The external partners submit a data access request to your ARXUM® smart contract. If your defined rules are all fulfilled, the Connectivity Agent pulls the data request from the smart contracts into your IT system.
- Can I run my own IPFS cluster?
YES! ARXUM® operates its own IPFS cluster, which can be used for variousARXUM® Suite modules. However, if you want to integrate your own IPFS cluster, this is possible at any time. ARXUM® can create a customer-specific IPFS cluster, which can be managed for you or you can take over the management yourself.