McLeod Software introduces smart contract business process automation for blockchain

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As the term blockchain continues to be bandied about in the transportation industry, many are wondering where we may see the first impact of it. Payment processes are one area where blockchain is likely to have near-term impact; smart contracts are another.

Smart contracts are, in essence, digital contracts that include automatic triggers to execute conditions set forth in the contract. In the case of freight moving through the supply chain, a shipper and carrier may enter an agreement that is executed through a smart contract. That contract may include triggers such as paying the carrier immediately upon successful delivery of the load; making partial payments could be made based on achievements in the contract, such as a certain number of miles traveled; or even penalizing the carrier if conditions are not met such as temperature control or late delivery.

Building those smart contracts, though, requires coding, and incorrect code could turn a good deal into a not-so-good deal. To help alleviate that problem, McLeod Software this week introduced FlowLogix Smart Contracts.

FlowLogix Smart Contracts turn that code into visual representations and workflow design to help designers and business process owners create the correct contract and test that contract against a blockchain distributed ledger before implementing that contract.

“One weakness in smart contracts today is that they are difficult for business process owners to articulate in a way that translates into perfect code, and then for process owners to validate how they work, because they are written in software languages that are hard to understand,” McLeod said.

“The McLeod FlowLogix Smart Contracts product will enable McLeod customers, who want to structure, validate, and test their smart contract interaction with the permissioned blockchain distributed ledgers, to do so before they are implemented,” the company added.

Using the FlowLogix Smart Contracts enables McLeod customers “to build the logic, data mapping, formatting, business triggers, API’s to the blockchain frameworks, and automated communication mechanisms to meet nearly any required interaction with a smart contract embodied by a permissioned blockchain,” it said.

McLeod is part of the Blockchain in Trucking Alliance, which is working with industry leading companies to develop blockchain standards. McLeod said that as standards for data definitions, API’s, smart contract structures, and technical architectures are developed, it will build API’s within FlowLogix Smart Contracts to support those standards, allowing customers to build new applications and business process automation solutions to interact with permissioned blockchains.

Current users of the McLeod FlowLogix business process automation software will be able to adapt their existing solutions to a permissioned blockchain environment if they choose.

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Brian Straight

Brian Straight covers general transportation news and leads the editorial team as Managing Editor. A journalism graduate of the University of Rhode Island, he has covered everything from a presidential election, to professional sports and Little League baseball, and for more than 10 years has covered trucking and logistics. Before joining FreightWaves, he was previously responsible for the editorial quality and production of Fleet Owner magazine and Brian lives in Connecticut with his wife and two kids and spends his time coaching his son’s baseball team, golfing with his daughter, and pursuing his never-ending quest to become a professional bowler.