Introducing The IoMob Blockchain Protocol — An open protocol for the Future of Mobility

At the core of the Iomob architecture is the IoMob Protocol. This open protocol is used by mobility providers to announce the services they offer. The protocol supports various modes of mobility. For example, a taxi cab can declare its availability and current location, a bus can announce its route and schedule, and a carsharing company can publish the position of the cars in its fleet. IoMob aims at being general and permissionless so that any organization or individual can participate in the network.

Messages in the protocol are standardized. Announcements of mobility services are sent to mobility hubs run by independent companies. Hubs receive and store such messages, and offer a standardized API for end-user applications (usually, mobile apps in the hands of citizens) to request the mobility services they require. Hubs return suitable providers to apps; users can then purchase such services via the apps, again with standardized messages that are sent to hubs and relayed to mobility providers.

In practice, there are more stakeholders than the mobility providers, hubs, and end-user applications we have identified so far. We shall focus on these three for now for the sake of simplicity.

All of the three stakeholders provide value to the end-user. Therefore, they must be compensated for their efforts in order for the ecosystem to be sustainable. Usually, the mobility provider provides the bulk of the value in actually delivering the required mobility service. Hubs contribute to the discoverability of such services, and incur costs in building and operating the computer infrastructure to that end. Finally, applications offer an interface for end-users to request mobility services, usually via apps that they have to develop, maintain, and promote to grow their userbase.

IoMob is agnostic to how revenues are split among the players, as it does allow parties to negotiate the revenue split as they see fit, and enforces the agreed terms. Since the smart contracts of IoMob can enforce the agreed revenue splits, participants do not need to establish explicit partnerships nor trust a counterparty to respect any agreements.

By standardizing the roles in the mobility ecosystem, as well as the processes and communication interfaces for them to interact, we enable a free market where players both collaborate to deliver mobility services and compete to fulfill certain roles as efficiently as they can. Stakeholders that bring value for the lowest cost will be favored over others that are more inefficient or attempt to capture a disproportionate share of the value of a mobility service. All players are to an extent commoditized; no player can abuse a position of dominance, since it can be readily replaced.

How is revenue split in practice? As explained, mobility providers send messages called mobility offers to announce their services to hubs. End-user applications request mobility services to hubs via messages called mobility requests, to which hubs reply with a list of matching offers. Hubs attach to these offers a hub fee they expect to collect if a service is actually booked. When a user books a mobility service, the app attaches an app fee and sends a booking request to a hub.

The booking request includes, then, a hub and app fee (and, possibly, others; this will be later discussed). A booking request from a user is then forwarded to the provider. It is then up to the provider to accept the booking, considering the fees it will have to pay for the whole service. If the provider accepts the booking, it signs an acceptance message with its private key, thereby accepting the responsibility of both performing the service and paying the required fees to the other stakeholders. Mobility services can be cancelled by the provider or the passenger, according to pre-established rules called cancellation policies embedded in mobility offers.

Like what you’re reading? This is just a preview. IoMob will be launching our White Paper in June 2018 — watch this space for the offical launch news!

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The Fine Print:

The information set forth here is not exhaustive and does not imply any elements of a contractual relationship. The contents of the White Paper will not binding with respect to IoMob. We expressly reserve the right to change, modify, add or remove portions of this White Paper for any reason at any time.