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FAQ

What is Kochi Open Mobility Network (KOMN)?

Kochi Open Mobility Network (KOMN) is the world’s first open protocol enabled mobility network. This, first of its kind open mobility marketplace is enabled to create many possibilities and equal opportunities for all the participants – customers, drivers and service provider applications. In short, it is an open network where Kochi passengers, Kochi drivers and the service providers in Kochi can come together and access each other seamlessly and transparently. KOMN is enabled to empower the local mobility community in Kochi from taxis to buses to auto-rickshaws to ferries to metros to even bicycles.

Why do we need an open mobility network?

The cities are expanding every day. Rapid urbanization is demanding people to either own their own garage or hop onto the available choice of service providers, overlooking the transparency and efficiency. 

Although mobility has become a digital service with almost every booking and transaction happening through few applications, this has largely resulted in transporters working in isolation. The way the mobility sector has adopted technology has only accelerated a ‘winner-take-all’ race and created exclusion. 

If we need to reduce the traffic on the road, then public buses, metros and local private transporters like auto rickshaws and taxis have to be integrated to ensure door-to-door journeys are made easy and seamless.

On the other hand, the customer now has a varied choice of applications to find the ride. But this hasn’t been a real solution to door-to-door journeys. The customer needs to access several interfaces, digital or physical, to stitch their journey from start to the end. This is a highly frustrating process which eventually leads them to own a personal vehicle. This will defeat the purpose of building an inclusive mobility system.

For transporters, it is a constant struggle to access the demand trends and organize their business for efficiency. They can’t even set their own rules and justified fares since those are controlled and decided by a few platforms.

 

The open mobility network is aimed to create a solution not as a separate product, a platform or as another aggregator, but by bringing all of them, from the existing applications to the local driver communities to the urban customers, together, on one open field. It is an all-inclusive, unified solution, connecting all forms and modes of transport to create a seamless experience.

What are key points one should know about an open mobility network?

  1. An open mobility network runs on fully open lightweight and interoperable specifications
  2. This is an open digital marketplace that allows transport providers from local taxis to metros, to offer their services based on their own respective terms and rules and yet be packaged as a unified set of services for the customer to pick and even choose them together in a single journey as a multi-modal multi-operator trip
  3. It’s simply an open network and not a platform or a platform of platforms acting as one big aggregator. Any provider, big or small, public or private should be able to get onto this platform and become naturally discoverable at one place- in an app of customer’s choice
  4. It’s a decentralized network with no intermediaries to exercise control over other participants. In other words, the driver and the rider can be on different platforms of their choice and yet interact with each other without being forced to be on the same platform. Think of it as UPI or email system
  5. The open network doesn’t collect your data. The interactions between the platforms are secure. The platforms that operate on the network can secure the data of their customers and business.. It’s important to note that it doesn’t flow through any central platform of any kind
  6. The network allows for enabling some simple rules that are fair, transparent, and equally applicable to all network participants, thus restricting a lop-sided play by any player
  7. The open network will tremendously help the local service providers and new applications to be discovered by customers quite effortlessly. They will be able to cut down their heavy marketing and customer acquisition costs by embarking on the network
  8. The open network doesn’t intend to standardise services of every provider. It doesn’t set one price or pricing terms. It allows each provider to operate autonomously, retaining control on the service they offer
  9. The open mobility network allows the local transport and business ecosystem to maintain autonomy and control in the digital world that they are deprived of presently.  This is the need of the hour for the local businesses to stay afloat during the pandemic and rise to a whole new digitally inclusive world

What are the other examples of an open network ?

  1. The World Wide Web which we call as Internet uses HTTP ( Hypertext transfer protocol), a clear example of open network
  2.  Email network through SMTP ( Simple Mail transfer protocol) is another example, which enables emails to be seamlessly sent between different email platforms
  3.  UPI ( Unified Payment Interface) is another closer to home example. It allows money transfer between any bank to any bank through the customer’s choice of third party apps

Who can participate in Kochi Open Mobility Network ?

Any rider can download the Yatri app launched on Kochi Open Mobility Network. Today, the rider can download the Yatri app from Google Playstore. and start booking mobility services in Kochi Open Mobility Network. The riders can book the rides from a number of other apps that will be joining the network soon.

 Any service provider with permission to operate in the city of Kochi can join this network and start offering their services via Yatri app or their own apps linked to the open network.

What is the current status of KOMN? What is Yatri?

You can access KOMN through the Yatri app, the first app on the network. Within such a short span since it’s entry, over 1000 taxi drivers across 5 transport unions in the city have voluntarily come together to be a part of KOMN, by registering themselves on the Yatri partner app. Customers can install and use Yatri to locate these local drivers and book the ride of their choice. The drivers wouldn’t need to pay commission and can play by their rules. The customers will have a list of agencies and cabs to choose from.

However, very soon, KOMN will have the Kochi metro platform, an auto-aggregator app (adopted by Autorickshaw co-operative), a parking app and MyBYK – the bike sharing app, among the many that are being built.

How does KOMN encourage the start-up ecosystem?

KOMN, as the first model of open mobility network, is a game changer in many ways. The possibilities are endless. From the existing applications to the many aspirants out there, KOMN opens a world of countless opportunities. You only need an inclusive heart.

Yatri, the first of many consumer apps on the network will act as a reference for other app providers, especially young startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to look at and start building apps that cater to different requirements of the population.

KOMN is already encouraging the local developer community to broaden their imaginations and build platforms for the network. The National Urban Startup contest has several apps being built as well.

In a way, KOMN has opened a new dimension of possibilities for the developer and startup community. Now, we will wait for the innovations to surface.

How will the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority use KOMN?

Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority is the first of its kind in the country formed to integrate, plan and regulate different modes of transportation in the city.

KMTA is an example of pioneering leadership by the state to rethink urban mobility and to have a legally backed governance framework to bring all forms of transport – public and private mobility providers together.

Kochi Open Mobility Network is introduced and anchored by the Kochi Metropolitan Transport Authority. KMTA will aim to streamline and unify the entire urban mobility in Kochi through this open network.

KMTA will be the registrar managing the open network and will also be building policies for KOMN. KMTA regulations will ensure privacy, security and safety. This will also guarantee no poaching of customer data.

KMTA launching KOMN, especially during this pandemic, will definitely help the local communities to stand back on their feet and explore the potential of this open network.

Is KOMN accessible to all kinds of service providers?

In consultation with Kochi MTA, anyone can build an application based on these specifications and join the Open network. Any existing application can also join the network by making the application interoperable in the Open network.

Will the open network follow privacy and data protection rules?

Kochi MTA will ensure that all participants in the open network will comply with the policies and regulations and applicable laws of the land.

Does Kochi MTA collect data?

Kochi MTA doesn’t collect the customer data. Kochi MTA can ask Network participants to share open anonymised and aggregated data to Kochi MTA for policy and research purposes.

Why Kochi?

Kochi, at present, is the only city to have a legal authority that aims to integrate and regulate the mobility system. Citizens will soon be able to enjoy many convenient and smart mobility services like the single ticketing system to access multiple modes of transport, using an application. Kochi is one of the very few cities that even has a water metro as part of surface mobility and urban transportation. It is a privilege that the Govt. of Kerala has picked Kochi as the city to demonstrate the possibilities of an open mobility network.

What is the nature of support offered to KOMN by Tech companies such as Juspay?

The taxi associations agreed to have Juspay build the rider app for them. The Data from the rider app will be owned  by the drivers.

The service providers  have the choice to select any platform in the future.

In order for the several apps to discover each other on the network, you need a router application called Gateway, which does not collect data but exchanges the data between the platforms. This Gateway is provided by NSDL E-Gov. No customer data goes through this Gateway.

What is Beckn protocol?

Beckn protocol is a set of documented open specifications for interoperable, decentralised digital commerce transactions. It is similar to UPI. It is not a software or a platform.

Does Beckn Protocol collect data?

Beckn protocol is only a set of documented specifications. Beckn protocol doesn’t collect any data from the open network.

Is Beckn protocol data collection software?

It is neither a platform nor a software. It does not do data collection.

What is the role of Beckn Foundation?

Beckn Foundation is a not for profit organisation that has initially written the open specifications of Beckn and today they collect inputs from various voluntary organisations as part of open community to update and evolve the specification. Beckn Foundation is offering pro bono assistance to taxi unions, application developers and Kochi MTA in the form of basic guidance to understand and implement open specification of Beckn protocol.

Does Beckn Foundation collect data?

 Beckn Foundation does not build any software or application that is connected to Kochi Open Mobility Network and has no access to customer and transaction data on the Kochi Open Mobility Network.

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