Last Wednesday we had the pleasure of traveling to Bonn to the Deutsche Telekom Headquarters for the official launch of Xride, a fully decentralized e-mobility pilot. This pilot project was initiated by Telekom’s Innovation Laboratories, or T-Labs, and built in collaboration with RIDDLE&CODE, Bundesdruckerei, Simple Mobility and us here at Jolocom.
The launch marked the rollout of a four-week pilot in Bonn and Berlin that will showcase the future of mobility. With Xride, historically centralized functionalities like identity, payments, and charging are fully decentralized, allowing for a less costly, more secure, and more efficient scooter sharing system that benefits both the user and providers.
Why decentralize e-mobility?
Be they passwords, usernames, or ID cards, how many login credentials do you hold? The likely answer may be: too many. Riders of mobility services also face the same challenges with popular ride share applications that rely on classic approaches to user management. In these centralized mobility systems, riders must register new identity and payment credentials with each new service. Lengthy and frustrating on-boarding and verification processes result in reduced conversion rates for mobility providers. At the same time, providers are also required to store this sensitive user data in siloed backends that are costly to maintain and subject to attack.
Payment and charging are also problematic for centralized mobility services. Because of high transaction costs and fees, short rides become economically unviable. “Juicers” are also required and add to corporate costs — employees who drive around during off-peak hours to redistribute scooters, exchange depleted batteries, and collect vehicles requiring maintenance.
Decentralized technologies like blockchain enable new forms of ride sharing that resolve common pain points related to identity, payment, and charging. The mobility industry is a natural entrant into the decentralized world.
Solving for identity
Decentralized technologies, including blockchain-backed self-sovereign identities, effectively mitigate many of the above-mentioned pain points. Jolocom, together with Bundesdruckerei and Riddle&Code, step in to solve for identity.
In the Xride system, users are onboarded in three steps:
- First, a user downloads a pair of apps — the Xride app, which enables access to the ride share platform, and the Jolocom SmartWallet (Android | iOS), which allows users to manage their own verified credentials in a fully privacy-preserving way.
- Users are then verified in person by Bundesdruckerei, whose software and hardware scanners digitize riders’ German ID cards and upload them to the SmartWallet.
- Users then exchange their verified credentials directly with the Simple Mobility-provided scooter, which contains a combination of Jolocom software and RIDDLE&CODE hardware to equip the scooter with its own decentralized identity; in this way the rider and the scooter are able to communicate directly with one another without needing to go through a central service. Users perform the same action when exchanging batteries at the Swappable Battery Stations, also provided by Simple Mobility.
Under this new, fully decentralized system, users remain in full control of their ID information and, after the first verification, on-boarding becomes instantaneous.Imagine a world where you can use a self-sovereign identity single sign-on from any SSI provider for your scooter ride share, your online shopping, to register for university. Companies can now onboard more users faster, while at the same time reducing high data management costs.
Transaction fees are reduced by 90% in a decentralized ecosystem, making even very short rides significantly more viable for both consumer and company. At the same time, with users in control of swapping out batteries and recharging their own scooters, the need for “juicers” is dramatically reduced, if not eliminated.
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Piloting the ecosystem
From 11 September 2019 through 11 October 2019, a fleet of Xride scooters as well as Swappable Battery Stations have been provided for use to a select group of Deutsche Telekom employees to create two small decentralized mobility ecosystems in Bonn and Berlin. Participants will interact with the Xride app and scooters, swap batteries on the go, and share their feedback and insights.
This is the first step toward realizing a fully decentralized infrastructure for the mobility world, and we at Jolocom certainly hope to see it adopted, perfected, and expanded as far as it can go.
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Celebrating the launch
To kick-off the pilot, T-Labs, Xride project partners, potential customers, friends from the mobility sector, staff from Deutsche Telekom, and press gathered together in Bonn at the Deutsche Telekom headquarters for a day of speeches, deep diving into the tech at partners’ booths, scooter relay races, and networking over popcorn and drinks.
Claudia Nemat, Deutsche Telekom Board Member responsible for Technology and Innovation, set the day in motion with a speech about the power of coopetition and ståx, the technology that makes it possible in Xride. ståx makes possible the creation of decentralized IoT ecosystem infrastructures and enables all participants (e.g. producers and consumers) to connect with each other in a decentralized manner.
Following this, we heard speeches from John Calian (joined by Alex Jin-Sung Choi, Dr. Alexandra K. Mikityuk, and Julia Isabell Neumann in the background), Agnes Heftberger of IBM, Riddle&Code CEO Alexander Koppel, Stephan Noller of UBIRCH GmbH, Simple Mobility Founder and CEO Marvin Metzke, and our own Kai Wagner, who co-presented Jolocom’s approach to self-sovereign identity and verification in the mobility sector alongside Jörg Rückrieman from Bundesdruckerei.
Lastly, we had a great time on-boarding soon-to-be riders into the Xride ecosystem with their new Jolocom identities at our booth before we took the train home.
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In the news
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For more information on Xride visit: https://laboratories.telekom.com/de/blockchain-scooter/
For questions on how you can implement self-sovereign identities into your mobility system (and beyond!) email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.