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MOBI standards guide innovation in blockchain services for growth in smart mobility industry
Staff reporter 0

Blockchain technology is based on programmed computation and cryptography, and its transactions are both immutable and irrevocable. The technology also makes use of peer-to-peer network (P2P) protocols to ensure that the functionality of the entire network remains highly stable even when any individual node is damaged or lost. When applied to innovative business models such as charging stations in the electric vehicle (EV) market, blockchain technology provides a stable, secure, and large-scale management system for different consumers such as vehicle manufacturers, government regulators, energy providers, banks, and the general public.

The mobility industry is in the midst of a revolutionary change driven by artificial intelligence (AI) and self-driving technology. The active development of blockchain technology has given rise to important opportunities, signaling the start of a software-driven evolution. The booming electric vehicle market is one such example, wherein it created a successful business model that generates profit by introducing software upgrades and value-added services. The future development of the entire automotive industry will likely hinge on such profit models as well.

Because the mobility industry is so large, accounting for 10-15% of the global GDP, the business opportunities it presents are also staggering. Be it electronic payments, data exchange, and information sharing and preservation, blockchain technology will be playing an emerging and crucial role. Thus the establishment of an industry standard for blockchain technology has consequently become a pressing necessity. The Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative (MOBI) was established in 2018 as a nonprofit organization to set new standards for blockchain technology in the mobility market, with the expectation that a universal standard will allow the industry to jointly develop value-added services that use blockchain technology for more efficient, lower cost, greener, and safer intelligent transportation.

VID standard creating new profit modes

MOBI co-directors and founders Chris Ballinger and Tram Vo jointly attended this interview. MOBI currently has six working groups in charge of setting blockchain-based standards, with their foremost important standard being the Vehicle Identity, or MOBI VID. Other standards the initiative have created include Usage-Based insurance (UBI) and Electric Vehicle Grid Integration (EVGI), and an effort to set a standard in the globally recognized fields of carbon tracking and smart contracts is also underway. Digital wallet and electronic payments for the data market as well as integrated standards for supply chains are also prospective areas for the initiative. MOBI is leading the conversation in the global mobility industry and has created significant investment and business opportunities in booming start-ups.

MOBI's first-generation VID standard was announced in August 2020, and Ballinger noted that MOBI has integrated the standards established by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to quickly reach the market. For the industry, the increasing ubiquity of the Internet of Vehicles (IoV) allows vehicles to share real-time services such as weather, traffic, maps, and parking information on public networks with complete security. While IoV makes a variety of other smart services possible as well, reliable identification is indispensable for business applications such as electronic payment or applications in insurance and finance.

As VIDs create reliable vehicle and passenger information, new forms of application have also been emerging. Take for example the cooperation between auto brands, banks, and insurers: VID has allowed for more flexible terms in car insurance and travel insurance policies that can better meet client demands. At the same time, the second generation of the VID standard has been released. It aims to quickly realize other forms of application such as used car trading by allowing for the exchange and sharing of car maintenance data. The current scope of applications includes the fields of insurance, IoT, supply chain, finance, and asset securitization.

BiiLabs cuts out the middleman between owners and service providers with its digital wallet service

Tram Vo believes that the most important contribution of MOBI standards is implementation and integration of services. The mobility industry has a market worth hundreds of billions of dollars and is highly influential. To enable such an influential market to rapidly integrate various established technologies and communities, MOBI is now actively promoting mobiNET infrastructure and Citopia Applications Marketplace Platform. mobiNET aims to establish a B2B network between industries and encourage data interoperability and integration through open application programming interfaces (APIs), while the Citopia Platform provides a public trading model for different terminal software in the large and competitive market of telematics software, helping to make MOBI standards more widespread.

The introduction of blockchain technology has been met with some resistance because it has not been as immediately successful commercially as other emerging technologies that have been able to quickly capture large amounts of revenue. Given this, Ballinger believes that while the technology does contain a very high potential for profitability, its main strength will derive from the interconnection and collaboration between communities to create killer applications in the industry. Tram Vo adds that she has seen government agencies around the world start to use blockchain for new applications. The South Korean government, for example, is already using it to issue digital driver's licenses and for highway toll payments. Nearly 100 related proposals and initiatives have also been popping up in different markets around the world, demonstrating a truly uplifting landscape for innovative applications of blockchain technology in the future.

New startups are also investing in the MOBI standards in full swing. BiiLabs, a Taiwanese startup company, is reducing meaningless middleman fees by applying blockchain applications to mobility technology and driving behaviors. The company is already making a name for itself in China's charging station services, helping energy service providers and car brands create electronic wallets exclusively for charging stations and vehicle owners. The code-based car charging payment technology restores the simplicity of offline payments and improves convenience for both parties. With such collaborations between the private sector and the government, MOBI standards are aiming to become an important driver for change in the smart mobility industry.

MOBI was established in 2018 as a nonprofit organization to set new standards for blockchain technology in the mobility market

MOBI was established in 2018 as a nonprofit organization to set new standards for blockchain technology in the mobility market

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