Podcasts > Ep. 113 - Enabling mobility business models with DLT
Ep. 113
Enabling mobility business models with DLT
Tram Vo, Founder & Board Member, MOBI and Rajat Rajbhandari, CTO, MOBI
Friday, January 21, 2022

In this episode, we discuss the concept of a trusted trip or a trip whose attributes are certified by authorised entities or devices in a decentralised network. We also explore early use cases such as supply train parts traceability for EV batteries, trusted carbon emissions tracking to verify emissions claims and usage-based fees, such as tolling, insurance and electric charging. 

Our guests today are Tram Vo, Co-director and Founder of MOBI of MOBI and Rajat Rajbhandari, MOBI Working Groups Lead. MOBI creates standards and builds the digital infrastructure for connected vehicles and IoT commerce, with the aim of preserving data privacy and enabling new business models.

IoT ONE is an IoT focused research and advisory firm. We provide research to enable you to grow in the digital age. Our services include market research, competitor information, customer research, market entry, partner scouting, and innovation programs. For more information, please visit iotone.com


Erik: Welcome to the Industrial IoT Spotlight, your number one spot for insight from industrial IoT thought leaders who are transforming businesses today with your host, Erik Walenza.

Welcome back to the Industrial IoT Spotlight podcast. I'm your host, Erik Walenza, CEO of IoT ONE, the consultancy that helps companies create value from data to achieve growth. Our guests today are Tram Vo, co-director and founder of MOBI, and Rajat Rajbhandari, MOBI working group lead. MOBI creates standards and builds the digital infrastructure for connected vehicles and IoT commerce with the aim of preserving data privacy and enabling new business models. In this talk, we discussed the concept of a trusted trip or a trip whose attributes are certified by authorized entities or devices in a decentralized network. We also explored early use cases such as supply chain, parts traceability for EB batteries, trusted carbon emissions tracking to verify emissions claims, and usage based fees such as tolling insurance and electric charging.

If you find these conversations valuable, please leave us a comment and a five-star review. And if you'd like to share your company's story or recommend a speaker, please email us at team@IoTone.com. Finally, if you have an IoT research, strategy, or training initiative that you'd like to discuss, you can email me directly at erik.walenza@IoTone.com. Thank you. Tram and Rajat, thank you so much for joining us on the podcast today.

Rajat: Thank you for having us.

Tram: Thank you for having us.  

Erik: I'm really interested in this topic of consortiums initiatives around blockchain because this is very much a collaborative effort just in principle. But before we get there, I would like to understand a little bit more your backgrounds and how you ended up arriving at this concept that this is required, and that you're the people to build it. Who it makes more sense to start with? Maybe Tram, I understand that you're the I guess you're both to some extent cofounders or very early initiators, but maybe Tram, if you would like to kick off and just give us a little bit of the roadmap that led to the founding of MOBI.

Tram: My name is Tram Vo, and I am a co-director and founder of MOBI, Mobility Open Blockchain Initiative. I didn't start out in tech actually. I started out in chemistry when I moved on to art conservation and heritage preservation. About 2015, I started looking into blockchain for track and trace of intellectual property for content creators, and at the time was mainly for artists. As you know, in a digital world, we are all content creators, what we purchase on the internet, our movement, our search, everything is trackable, and monetizable. But unfortunately, we don't own those data. So this is one of the reason why MOBI was started to create a better way so that we can be in control of our own data, our own movement data, our own purchasing power, and be able to have a say in that

bErik: Tram, so your background is interesting, so you have a very deep history and art conservation. And obviously, Blockchain right now has a very strong role there or there's a lot of innovation in in that space right now. But MOBI is focused on mobility, so how is it that you took mobility as the challenge to tackle as opposed to the art space?

Tram: I actually did start DREAM, which stand for Distributed Registry for Entertainment Art and Media back in 2017. And looking back, I think I was a little bit too early for my time, because you can see the NFT markets today. That was in 2007. 2018, MOBI was launched because my husband who's the other cofounder, his background is in mobility, and he worked at Toyota for over 10 years, and he was CFO of the financial services, and then moved on to the Toyota Research Institute where he was our head of the innovation new technologies in mobility, and we both got into blockchain around the same time.

So the mobility part was his passion. For me it was more of intellectual property and smart city initiative. And as you know, smart city and mobility do intersect a lot, and that's how MOBI evolved into our passion project.

Erik: Rajat, I know that you're also cofounder of a technology company dexFreight as well as CTO of MOBI. When were you involved in the initiative?

Rajat: It's kind of interesting story, because right at the time, Chris and Tram were talking about launching MOBI, I was talking with my, my other cofounder to start dexFreight. I became official involved with MOBI mid last year. And my role is to lead the various working groups. We have over seven working groups, and also lead the pilot and use cases.

So my background is very much engineering. I did my PhD in transportation. And then after a PhD in transportation, I went to work for Texas A&M University as a research engineer. I was there for about 13 years and I've worked with federal government, state government, Homeland Security, and some international government on various mobility related projects, R&D, and some consulting.

Then I started dexFreight, which is a logistics tech company built on blockchain. And then Tram and Chris asked for my assistance to work on these working groups. So I've been involved with some ever since.

Erik: We had recently one of your member companies. So we had Harry Behrens from bloXmove on the podcast, I think, in October. But maybe as a starting point into the topic, you can just give us the background of why is blockchain interesting here? And what are the problems in the transportation space that are seeking a solution that hasn't been found using the traditional technologies on the market?

Tram: Actually, the mobility industry interest in blockchain goes back to 2015-16. And in 2017, a lot of mobility leaders and vehicle manufacturer did POCs of blockchain. They were dozens of them, and they all had a press release that got a lot of attention. And then after the press release, nothing happened and scaling was a problem.

And looking back is really hindsight is 2020. The problem is not the technology, the technology works as we all know. And putting an asset on chain is easy, again, the NFT market today. But the problem is that before you can adopt a technology, you have to have standards that agreed all the parties within the ecosystem, agree on how to do things, how to share data, how to transact with each other. And it could be very simple like driving on the left side of the road or the right side of the road. And it could be much more complicated.

So MOBI was launched in 2018, to have these standards so that all our members can agree on how to do business digital transaction together. Standards, I like to say it's no matter how good they are, at the end of the day, they're just pieces of paper with writing on them. And to be able to implement them and adopt them is a necessity to open up monetization opportunities for the ecosystem. To do that, we have started two new digital initiatives within the last year and a half; one is called mobiNET and one is Citopia.

Mobinet is to be able to validate decentralized identities that we all need for digital commerce. And then Citopia is a platform where we can onboard the DIDs and also to generate verifiable credentials and pass it from user to user and also be able to do payments on the platform. So those are the two things that we have been building out so that our members can start doing business in the ecosystem using blockchain.

Rajat: Just to add to Tram’s comment very quickly, she mentioned that the POCs, our members quickly realized that blockchain is a team sport. So the reason they were not able to scale is they have to collaborate with other suppliers, other companies into their POC. And so there was no standard of how that collaboration was going to happen. There was no data exchange protocols. There are no governance and so it's really stopped the POC is on its tracks. And that's why MOBI started the development of those standards. And we've released a whole bunch of them. And Tram just alluded to the fact that we're now putting those standards to work. So we're making those standards, turning them live with various pilots, and those pilots all focus on what we call multi-party applications where even peer companies and partner companies can…

Erik: So, as I mentioned bloXmove on recently, if my understanding is correct they're approaching this from a protocol perspective. I guess standards and protocols are related concepts. But standards don't necessarily have to be technical. They can provide direction for how technology can be developed, whereas a protocol is more of a technical means of determining how information is transferred.

When you're releasing the standards, what level of technical depth are you go into? Are they more directional in terms of defining, maybe more the legal frameworks or the business frameworks of how collaboration should be structured? Or do they go into significant technical depth about how information should be, for example, standardized for particular applications?

Rajat: We go full technical up to the level that we define data schemas for various data exchanges that could occur for that particular use case. So we also provide high level requirements for different use cases that the working group members select. And then we also provide reference implementations of how to use those schemas including use of things like verifiable credentials anchored on top of blockchain/DLT. We go pretty technical on those standards in terms of reference implementation.

Tram: [inaudible 12:32] mentioned we are we have very technical standards. But we know that our audience is very varied. So if you go to the standards page of MOBI’s website, we have four different types. And the first one is what we call white paper and that one is very high level. It's meant for anybody to be able to read it and understand what we're trying to do in that specific working group. And then it goes to the next level of technical and the really technical stuff, which Rajat is one of our main standard author. That is mainly for Rajat and the engineers and the developers in our community to work with.

Rajat: Yes, she reads them and finds all kinds of issues.

Erik: This is a good point on that there's a lot of stakeholders here. And my instinct is that with a lot of these initiatives to facilitate new business models using technology, the bottleneck is not so much the technical teams. As you said, the technology is often relatively mature, and the technical teams often buy in, although they might have arguments around how things should be done.

But often, not to vilify them, but it's the lawyers, it's the management team, which has more difficulty, first of all, understanding the technical aspects and then sees a lot of different business risks or strategic risk around okay, if I open up a model, am I cannibalizing an existing business? How do I align with a model where I might be collaborating with traditional competitors? So there's a lot of challenges, I think, from stakeholders that are not going to be reading the technical documents but really need to be involved here. To what extent are you engaging them? Or what are the different mechanisms to engage the different stakeholders beyond the publication of white papers here?

Tram: On many different ways we are engaging them. One of the main thing why we have a community is because they all see that centralized platform, which is what we really have now. It could be private like Google always sample, or public really smart city initiative, either way, it just usually one entity controlling the platform. And they all see that there's a problem that, scaling would be a problem for that because integration cost is really high for each one of these number.

And they are here because they are see the vision and want the vision of decentralized mobility platforms. And to be able to do that, they have to collaborate. They have to come together and work together to come up with the standards and then have the standard be able to come up with new business models that they want to aspire to mobility services. And one of the things I want to solve is, of course, bridging the private and the public together on something like multi-modal mass application where you have different entities with different databases, different ways of different business models.

But how do you provide them a safe platform so that they can all come together and feel safe about that? They all see the value in that and that's why they all come together. And then on working groups, as Rajat mentioned, we have seven of them. The first one was vehicle identity. It has to be because we need the digital twin of the vehicle first before you can do any of these digital columns. That was the first standard we push out. We use the international accepted ISO been standard that auto vehicle makers use it for the vehicles. And then how do you make that into something that is machine readable and then you can transport it in the digital world?

And one of the main thing about our working groups that I think is different, and make MOBI successful is we have staff that do the work. And we have the subject matter experts from our community that come together because we don't claim to know everything about an EV, for example, we know very little. We need the people to actually work on the EV to come together. What MOBI staff is there to continue to push through on other initiatives. We have a working group lead, which is Rajat. We have a technical leader to advise them on the technical issues. And then we also have a fellow which do a lot of research and administrative for the working group. And every single one of the working group also have multiple MOBI team member attend to be able to learn and also to help when necessary. We don't expect our members to pay dues and volunteer their time to do more things that they already paid of us to do.

Rajat: Coming back to, Erik, your question about the business model, we have co-chairs from our working group members. And what we've realized over the past years is that most of the people that represent the members are actually individuals who sit between the business side and the tech side within their companies. So they're familiar with the technical constraints of the company, but they're also familiar with the business needs of their companies.

So oftentimes, they will tell us during our conversations is like, we've been thinking about this business case and that business case. And we also need to be cognizant of the fact that most of our members are big companies like Fortune 50 companies. So they have to be careful about various things like trade compliance, and sharing trade secrets. There is a technical challenge, which we're obviously solving is to be able to balance between sharing trade secrets and to be on the same platform as well as collaboration. So there's a tradeoff between those two.

And obviously, lawyers have a role to play, but we're also solving some of the technical challenges associated with those two aspects of collaboration between peers: some of our working group members are competing against each other.

Erik: I've been deeply involved in the industrial IoT Consortium for a number of years. And I can certainly understand that competitors can collaborate very effectively, actually, right at the individual level. They're individuals and they have shared interest and the organizations understand that. There's a burning platform to some significant extent in the transportation area.

Maybe we can drill into the topic of vehicle identity to get a bit more into the underlying problems here. So why is it necessary for there to be a unified vehicle identity in order to enable more business innovation and more efficient business models?

Rajat: The only true identity which is kind of global, for vehicles is the VIN, the Vehicle Identification Number. And they're basically governed by two standards, one from the United States and other one is Europe; they're very similar, and is the 17 characters that we see in our cars. So those are publicly decipherable IDs. But if we're going to build decentralized mobility applications that can interact with blockchain infrastructure, whatever the infrastructure is, the blockchain infrastructure uses a very different kind of identification system based on public private keys.

And so obviously, that VIN is not compatible with the identification system that's native to blockchain infrastructure. So what we created was vehicle identities structured around decentralized identity that was standardized by the W3C Foundation and we include VIN as one of the attributes in the VID. So it has other attributes such as who's the manufacturer, where was the manufacturer, and including VID and it also has cryptographic signature from whoever is creating what we call vehicle birth certificate.

So basically, it's a sensually a JSON file with VIN and cryptographic signature from whoever issued it. So it stays alive in the blockchain. As it gets tossed around, it goes to the dealer and from dealer, it goes to the vehicle owner, and it may go back to the vehicle owner. It may be associated with different components in the car. So it's compatible with the crypto wallet or digital wallets that is also being widely used. And there are some automotive companies that are thinking about putting embedded wallets in the cars to interact with decentralized systems. Like Tram said, VID was our first standard and is the base standard for almost all the POCs and pilots.

Erik: Tram, maybe you can share some of the more interesting use cases here because I suppose the traditional VI it's probably used for things like if a vehicle is stolen, or when you're transferring ownership from person A to person B, but I would assume quite infrequent use. I suppose the use cases that we're envisioning going forward are their daily use. So if I need to park and I need to make a payment, so there needs to the two systems that communicate. And so these transactions are, at least in theory, they're going to be happening very frequently, and they need to be happening in a secure and automated way.

So maybe you can walk us through some of the earlier use cases that you see either in use today or on the very near horizon and just give us a little bit of visibility in terms of where we are today and maybe what work also needs to get done in order for these use cases to scale up. Maybe what work needs to get done is we can handle that separately. But if you could just help us understand where we are today?

Tram: [inaudible 23:35] that the birth certificate of the vehicle, the VIN number is the least interesting thing about the vehicle. It's just like your birth certificate and my birth certificate. Our birth certificate saying is that who our parents are, when we were born, where we were born, and maybe our weight and our height and that's it. And then everything comes afterwards. That's much more interesting. Where did you go to school? Where do you work?

So the same thing for MOBI in the vehicle, after the birth certificate, we have a VID two working group, which determine what happened to the vehicle as it go through its lifetime. Did it get into an accident? Did it get submerged in salt water, for example? All these things that the owner will not never report, but it determine the value of the vehicle. And then we have the supply chain working group which even before it becomes a vehicle, where do these parts come from? All the way back to the mining of the material and tracking it back there and how did it get to the vehicle.

So now that we can map it all out, we have use cases that we are working on. The first pilot we completed back in October of this year, and that was how you on chain be able to charge an EV and then be able to pay for it, and then be able to report out the battery state of health? Which is very important now as you know, with the EV market on the rise, and the battery is worth anywhere from a third of the value to half of the value of the vehicle, how do you determine the value of the batteries so that you have resale value of the vehicle? So that was the first pilot.

The second pilot we are working on is how do we track the EV battery from the supplier, the producer of the battery to the vehicle manufacturer, the OEM, and then from the OEM to the dealer, and then from the dealer to the vehicle owners? And then later on when it needs service, how do you track backwards if you need a recall, for example, of the battery?

And then we also were working on mass and multimodal transportation. How do we integrate all these different stakeholders onto the same platform, public and private? And how do we enable a user like me or you can be able to plan our trip from point A to point B purchase all the tickets that's necessary for different model, and then be able to use it and then pay for it at the end of your trip without having to get off from one platform and you happen to get onto another platform?

Another use case that we working with the EU Commission is sustainable transportation lab is doing research. And they want to make sure that blockchain is mature enough to be able to use for tailpipe emission tracking. And so they have worked out a use case and they are working with MOBI be able to run Decentralized Identities, DIDs, for up to 280 million plus vehicles in the ecosystem. And if you have that many vehicles, how do you handles their identities and the about to report their missions to the government?

From then we are actively working with states in the US on both usage charge. As you know, the gas tax is going away as vehicles become more efficient and electrify. And worldwide, road infrastructure is in the trillions; I think one time I looked it up and it was about $26 trillion of road infrastructure around the world. Up until not too long ago, all those road infrastructures was built and maintained based on the gas tax and now the gas tax is going away. How do you make money to be able to pay for that?

And the best way that we could think and the government could think about is road usage charge, pay as you use. There’s 16 western states in the US make up a coalition called the Road Usage Charge Rock West, and recently they received a small grant from the US government to pilot blockchain for road usage charge. That is an immediate use case that probably will be needed soon. We also talk with EU on that kind of use case.

And then in South Korea, they were the first country in 2020 to announce that they will use blockchain power all the toll payments on their highways. And also, they announced also that summer that they will offer blockchain base driver license to the citizen, and that was in May. And by August of last year, more than a million South Korean are the opt in to have blockchain driver license.

So we've been doing this for a while, And around the world, is really positive to see that government entities as getting more and more into blockchain for mobility use cases. At the end of the day, no matter how exciting we think this technology is, and we're doing a lot of exciting things, we need buy in from the government. Without them, a lot of this won't go very far for mobility anyway.

Erik: It really exemplifies, I guess you could call this kind of internet 3.0, but the potential of decentralized network to do things that companies through a bilateral or small group collaboration can't really accomplish. You mentioned a number of pilots or initiatives in place. It sounds like the one in South Korea, at least among the ones you mentioned, is maybe the furthest along. What is in use today in the world where one of our listeners might be maybe using a technology without knowing it? Are there any other use cases that are already in widespread adoption today or we still primarily in the pilot phase?

Tram: Supply chain and logistic, Rajat, do you want to talk a little bit about that?

Rajat: I mean, most of them are in pilot stages, I would say. But there are several logistics-related projects, including putting bill of lading which is a legal document, moving goods, moving freight, onto blockchain. It's already happening in the US and Europe. And dexFreight is a good example of we're using Blockchain, Bitcoin and Ethereum network infrastructure for develop smart contracts for brokers, shippers, and carriers. And then we're able to turn those accounts receivables into NFTs and source liquidity from DeFi pools.

And most of them are enterprise projects, so they don't really come into the picture that much. IBM trade lens has initiative that's got quite a bit of attention. It's fully functional, they processed millions and millions of shipment information for lots of freight forwarders and carriers as well as shippers.

In terms of general mobility, the roadie says charging things that involve local government. Those are in very early stages in simply because these could get the public project. So that those projects typically startup, it's slow. But the enterprise projects like trade lens and dexFreight and Cargo X and a whole host of other logistics projects are there beyond pilot phases, they're already in action.

Tram: I think that any blockchain project is working right now, well, I'm talking about enterprise or not public is it tends to be one single entity, or maybe something like a Walmart who is the big enterprise that has a lot of supply chain entities that [inaudible 32:47]. And then they can enforce that. However, when you start getting more than one big entity trying to communicate together, what would need to happen is you have to have the standards. This is why MOBI started. And then you have to have infrastructure to be able to communicate, and transact.

And that's why MOBI is building mobiNET, and Citopia. Without those, you will not be able to do multi-party transaction. The way we're doing it, I think is the right way. But I'm biased, of course, is that we build an ecosystem. And then once we have the ecosystem, we build the standard and then we want to get from A to Z by building the plumbing in between, and the plumbing is the digital infrastructure and the standards, and then how all these enterprise will be able to…

Right now, piloting what we're able to communicate with each other, and you mentioned like lawyers and ITs area, and of course, a lot of what we do right now is to show the IT and the lawyers of this enterprise that what we're doing is safe, and that it will open up data breaches for the user or the providers. And once we get past that hurdle, I think it will be much smoother sailing. I think that we are about a couple years out. But in the meantime, we'll continue to build a plumbing for this kind of transaction.

Rajat: In the enterprise world, there's two categories of obligations, one is very vertical. So Walmart's example is very vertical. Basically, Walmart tells its suppliers that you either use the system or you’re out. So they can push the requirement up to its suppliers. But in the horizontal side where we have large suppliers working with enterprises and then enterprises, bidding enterprises, trying to use a use case like vendor onboarding or risk profiling, things like that. You cannot push the concept. So it has to be through an collaborative ecosystem that Tram just mentioned. And for that, it requires standards that they all agree to.

And on top of that, all the data privacy, the trade compliance rules, those requirements have to be met before they start doing real transactions. And that's why the pilots are really important. It's not they show the technology works, but it also to show that their legal team, their business team that yes, this is possible without having to break those trade compliance rules.

Erik: Maybe we can get a bit more into mobiNET, and Citopia. Because then if I understand MOBI is the building this ecosystem and setting standards. mobiNET is the network. But what exactly does that mean? Because it's protocol agnostic, so you're not defining protocols, I guess it's the network of standards, or is there a technical infrastructure here that you're building? And then Citopia is a decentralized platform? But going maybe just on these two, you can just go into a little bit more depth on what is the underlying technology? And is it something that you're building? Or is it that you are working with partners to define a set of standards, and then facilitate the development of this technology for mobiNET, and Citopia?

Tram: mobiNET, think, that's why it is technology agnostic, layer two infrastructure for decentralized identities validation. We have, as you can see on our website, 100 members, and counting. And every one of those member have their own preference of what changed for us. And we are not here to tell them which one to use.

We, from the beginning, have said that we are technology and vendor agnostic. We don't know what's going to last 5 years from now, 10 years from now. And then our members don't want to be locked into any technology or vendor under at the moment. mobiNET is a layer to digital infrastructure for ID validation. And then Citopia on the top of that is also a digital infrastructure. Just think of it like a decentralized app store. So decentralized apps are where we are building the store and then our members can build out application that they want to use on the platform under store to be able to directly communicate with that end user customer.

Rajat: mobiNET, so it's like a base layer for us. So it's one of the core services it provides is the identity verifications and assurances for our members. So we have a development team that has deployed it. There's a GitHub repo, that we've passed it to our members so that they can run their own nodes and be part of the network.

So it is actually in development, we have the code, it utilizes the whole concept of DID, that were 3Cs DID. So that's our layer zero, I think we're going to keep continue adding different core services. So we're obviously started with the identity. And then Citopia is the layer on top of mobiNET. So like Tram mentioned, the members can build their own applications and come to the Citopia platform and what they will get is they'll get access to the mobiNET core services. So depending on the application, they will use the core services, smart contracts, ID verification assurances directly from the mobiNET. We have a development team. And if you remember, Tram mentioned that MOBI does have staff, we have development team, which is very different from other consortiums.

Erik: I’m probably asking the same question two or three times here, it helps. I think this topic it's like ranks very highly on both ambition and abstraction.

Rajat: Just to add to what Tram mention about the European Commission project about 250 something million and vehicles. And our development team is testing whether mobiNET can handle 250 million dictate creation in the high turn environment like mobility. So we're looking at some very interesting protocols that allows us to do that.

Tram: We are working actually with another consortium telco to build up mobiNET. And we will be able to announce it early next year and this is very exciting for us. Because I think the future for what we're doing requires the three legged stool. The first leg is MOBI members. And then the second leg has to be telco because they will be the one that bring the messaging for connected vehicles, connected infrastructure. And then the third leg is the infrastructure owners and operators. And that's why we working with government entities, the policymaker and infrastructure owners. And we actively working with all three of them. We very much looking forward to next year to be able to announce the new mobiNET to everybody.

Erik: Could we touch quickly on the mobile grand challenge? I understand phase two it's either completed or near completion, and then you're planning the phase three? What's the concept behind this?

Tram: Phase two which was actually Citopia and having developers build apps on the platform. And since then, we haven't planned phase three yet because we are so focused on doing these to show a members that the technology work and probably will work together. So right now, phase three is on hold.

Erik: This is basically challenges that you host in order to activate the innovation ecosystem to create apps, and solve technical problems?

Tram: Correct.

Erik: So I personally feel a bit more educated here about MOBI and about the challenges. What haven't we touched on yet that's important for the listeners to understand?

Tram: You're pretty complete in your questions. I think the hardest part to understand is probably what are we trying to do here? And I'm going to try and summarize that in one sentence to see if that would entail what we do. And essentially, what we do is we create standards, and build digital infrastructure for a Web 3.0, and connected vehicle and IoT commerce.

Erik: Yeah, this is maybe last question because this is such ambitious initiative. We're talking about telcos, we're talking about OEMs, tier one, tier two component providers, we're talking about insurance agencies, public infrastructure, so a lot of different potential stakeholders that could be providing services or generating value through this type of network, that's probably going to take very long to pull all together. But what timeline do you see for when the first significant stakeholder groups will have some critical mass on the network? But are we looking at the next couple years? Or do you think really, this is more of like a five year timeline to achieving some degree of critical mass? What should we be looking at in terms of moving beyond smaller experimentation towards more significant disruption in terms of how we build businesses around mobility?

Tram: I think it depends on the use case. Also, when we first started, I remember in 2018, we were having dinner with a colleague, professor and a researcher, Chris and I, my cofounder, and also husband and I were discussing with his colleague at the time, this is back in 2018, that I thought we were 5-10 years out and Chris thought we were 1-2 years up. And so I think it's dependent on the use case. As mentioned earlier, use cases that are vertical like Walmart, for example, that is being used already.

What we trying to do here is more bilaterals between businesses. And the most simple use case like tracking, let's say of a vehicle from a dealer floor plan audit, which is one of the pilot that we are doing, I think that one will be able to be in production and be useful within the next year also. But that's just the first step in many, many usage-based mobility use cases from there. From there, you can start using the data from the vehicle for the insurance company. From there, you can start reporting on road usage charge to the government. From there, you can start tracking tailpipe emission. So I think it's very dependent on the use case and how complicated the stakeholders require for that use case.

Rajat: Exactly, it's very much dependent on the use case. For example, the supply chain use case that we're working on, it has so many components, so many stakeholders, so many questions and whether the technical part can solve those questions or not. But again, that kind of use cases, obviously, is going to take a while to scale simply because of the complexity of it. But once we show that it's technically feasible and legally feasible, and all that, there's a lot of incentive for these companies to move forward. There's a whole bunch of regulations coming their way and they have no way out of not doing this use cases. For example, EU battery recycling regulation that's going to come into effect next year, and that's just going to force a lot of these companies to move by faster.

There's external impetus coming in as well as some internal incentives as well for with regards to EV battery, and providing service to EV batteries, which if you think of it, it's the most expensive component in EV car.

Erik: It depends, but good to see that there's already going to be some initiatives on the horizon that people can engage with. If some of our listeners are interested in either learning more about MOBI or getting involved in the community, what's the best way for them to do that?

Tram: Yes, our website has pretty much everything we do on the website. So go to dlt.mobi and learn more about MOBI. And if you would like to join Moby there is a form that's called membership inquiry form and you're not committing to anything. Once you fill out that form, we'll be in contact with you within the next 24-48 hours and to schedule a call to answer any questions you might have about MOBI and the membership and what that's entitle you to have

Erik: Well, Tram and Rajat, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today and give us this update on MOBI.

Tram: Yeah, thank you.

Rajat: No, thank you for having us.

Erik: Thanks for tuning in to another edition of the industrial IoT spotlight podcast. If you find these conversations valuable, please leave us a comment and a five-star review. And if you'd like to share your company's story or recommend a speaker, please email us at team@IoTone.com. Finally, if you have an IoT research, strategy, or training initiative that you'd like to discuss, you can email me directly at erik.walenza@IoTone.com. Thank you.

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