Inspiration

In the past 35 years, global losses due to natural disasters has reached an estimated USD $1 trillion per year. Disasters, such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Haiti's earthquake in 2010, Fukushima’s Nuclear Meltdown in 2011, and Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines have incurred billions of dollars in losses and hundreds of thousands of casualties. Despite the last several decades‘ technological growth and rise in international cooperation, no comprehensive tool exists for relief/nongovernmental institutions and involved goverments.

What it does

LifeMesh is a disaster management platform that facilitates transparency between nongovernment organizations and government institutions. It does this by connecting, verifying and tracking resources needed for effective disaster management. Our platforms supports key representatives from the government and nongovernment institutions, in getting and verifying the resources they need to stabilize the situation further. Additionally, we help NGOs coordinate efforts as supply and demand can be globally published.

Locally (Philippines) we have noticed that there is little to no standardized coordination/communication between Providers and Recipients of Disaster relief. This creates a waste of resources and a lack of transparency, which in many cases leads to corruption.

How we built it

Currently LifeMesh is not fully implemented, and most parts are still under design. Following are the elements that make up the Dapp, and our design views/plans.

Blockchain

The foundation of LifeMesh, its smart contracts, live on the Ethereum Blockchain.

Identity management

To allow easy but secure user authentication, authorization, we are integrating existing identity APIs.

Challenges we ran into

Permissioned vs Permissionless blockchains

Storing data in the public blockchain is quite expensive nowadays. Since LifeMesh is not FinTech, and serves mainly non-Profits, the tendency is to limit operational costs. For now, we decided to choose for the Ethereum MainNet (Permissionless) as this would make it easier to get LifeMesh up and running. Here are our considerations:

  • Permissionless is (if gas price is paid for the user by Meta Transactions!) very easy to sign up and start using.
  • Permissioned is cheaper when it comes to transaction (gas) cost. More data can be stored on-chain, increasing technical/architectural options regarding application functionality
  • Permissioned takes a greater effort needs to be made (up-front costs) to build a community of Validator nodes, and manage this community. This adds more “moving parts” and politics to LifeMesh.

Unavailability of key technical elements

At the time of inception of LifeMesh, uPort is in Alpha and not generally available on mobile phones. As developers can use the Alpha, this is not a major issue. The SupplyChain solution from Consensys is not available at all. If this does not happen timely, LifeMesh will have to develop an alternative layer for Asset Tracking.

Accomplishments that we’re proud of

  1. Gain strategic insight from a Domain that is often overlooked, and how Blockchain can play a role in bridging gaps.
  2. Conceptualize and design an application that really improves human lives and can change the way people help each other - on a large scale!
  3. Within a few weeks, go from 0 to understanding Blockchain application development.
  4. The diversity in the team became an advantage in moving the project forward, in leaps and bounds.
  5. Willingness of main users in testing beta version of the platform affirms that there is indeed a problem that needs to be solved.

What we learned

  1. Blockchain development requires continuous learning to be able to utilize its full potential.
  2. The technical ecosystem is very young, it is unpredictable and undocumented. There are a few great companies with great resources that lead the way, which can provide guidance on the subject matter.

What’s next for LifeMesh

We hope our submission to BSIC inspires others to also start thinking about improving non-financial elements of our society, using the new paradigms blockchain brings. Naturally, we hope LifeMesh will be recognized as the start of the disintegration of “Data/Influence Silo’s” in Humanitarian Aid, when global Aid organizations will see the benefit of sharing their information amongst each other. We hope to see the day that global humanitarian aid is coordinated and matched on LifeMesh!


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Updates

posted an update

_ italics _ [rough UI screen flow]https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1I3pz7HXcZAA8jdkI-1LefJNkancCbhG2HcYXgUytd4U/edit#slide=id.p), feel free to provide feedback! InVision prototype and working UI desktop website in development

Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

The minimum functionality of our product consists of the following components that make up an immutable, verifiable and coordinated disaster response tool on the blockchain:

  • Provider (NGOs)/Recipient (gov't units) can access/login to our service to post an Offer/Need for disaster relief materials/funding
    • a global "Google Earth" or "Maps" type overview showing disaster relief Needs (from Recipients) or Offers (from Providers) ongoing around the world

bold Functionality to immediately follow:

  • Mutual Reputation/Rating mechanism between the recipient and provider that shows up after a Recipient's Need is matched by a Provider's Offer
  • Mutual Reputation/Rating mechanism between on the ground disaster victims and Recipient (gov't unit) that facilitated the relief operations. This takes place immediately after a Recipient indicates (in our platform) to the Provider that the Need satisfied by the Offer has been delivered to the disaster victims. Reputation/Rating of the Recipient will take a hit if they don't report to the Provider at all. More on this as we progress, could implement a multi party verification mechanism for this.

Marketing Tests:

While the actual working prototype is still in development, we plan to start talking to some NGOs (aside from the main one we're currently working/consulting with) that we have immediate access to. We plan to send them a working UI that they can play around with and get their exact feedback via an initial website with a feedback (type) form. This should give us a better idea of their basic use case/needs. The value for them in helping to validate our design will be that they will have firsthand access to a disaster funding vehicle that gives them better visibility over where their funds go.

While that's progressing, we also need to get the government use case polished. We plan to approach local government units in the Philippines who are more "disaster aware". We will identify these LGUs as those in active preparation for earthquake drills and the like. The group will also tap our consultant NGO for LGU contacts they may work with. The value for them in helping to validate our design will be that they will have an easier time presenting data to Providers (NGOs) then they currently do, essentially making their jobs easier.

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posted an update

Who​ ​are​ ​your​ ​clients/users? Our​ ​primary​ ​users​ ​will​ ​be​ ​the​ ​nongovernment​ ​organizations​ ​(Suppliers),​ ​government institutions​ ​(Consumers)​ ​and​ ​disaster​ ​victims​ ​who​ ​rate​ ​the​ ​government​ ​based​ ​on​ ​actual funds/relief​ ​efforts​ ​received.

What​ ​are​ ​their​ ​pain​ ​points? Governments​ ​always​ ​find​ ​themselves​ ​in​ ​need​ ​of​ ​outside​ ​support​ ​during​ ​disasters.​ ​It tends​ ​to​ ​be​ ​difficult​ ​for​ ​government​ ​units​ ​to​ ​coordinate​ ​with​ ​NGOs​ ​during​ ​critical situations.

NGOs​ ​rely​ ​heavily​ ​on​ ​government​ ​units​ ​for​ ​accurate​ ​data​ ​while​ ​responding​ ​to​ ​disasters. Disaster​ ​victims​ ​currently​ ​have​ ​no​ ​way​ ​to​ ​actually​ ​hold​ ​their​ ​gov't​ ​accountable​ ​for supposed​ ​relief​ ​funds/materials/efforts​ ​donated​ ​by​ ​outside​ ​sources

What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​product's​ ​value​ ​proposition? Our​ ​product​ ​is​ ​​a​ ​platform​ ​for​ ​NGOs​ ​and​ ​Government​ ​to​ ​coordinate​ ​with​ ​transparency through​ ​the​ ​blockchain​ ​in​ ​order​ ​to​ ​address​ ​the​ ​lingering​ ​issues​ ​of​ ​proper​ ​communication and​ ​transparency​ ​during​ ​funding/relief​ ​efforts​ ​(see​ ​our​ ​previous​ ​update)

What​ ​is​ ​your​ ​distribution​ ​and​ ​go​ ​to​ ​market​ ​strategy?​ ​Who​ ​can​ ​you partner​ ​with? We​ ​have​ ​an​ ​existing​ ​non-government​ ​institution,​ ​Waves​ ​for​ ​Water,​ ​a​ ​global​ ​organization that​ ​provides​ ​access​ ​to​ ​clean​ ​water​ ​to​ ​communities.​ ​​ ​Currently,​ ​​ ​they​ ​are​ ​present​ ​in Marawi,​ ​Philippines,​ ​providing​ ​clean​ ​water​ ​to​ ​displaced​ ​communities​ ​due​ ​to​ ​the​ ​ongoing armed​ ​conflict.​ ​​ ​They​ ​are​ ​willing​ ​to​ ​prototype​ ​our​ ​solution​ ​with​ ​their​ ​existing​ ​partners​ ​and relief​ ​efforts.

After​ ​the​ ​initial​ ​prototype​ ​testing​ ​stage,​ ​we​ ​plan​ ​to​ ​go​ ​to​ ​reach​ ​out​ ​to​ ​other charitable/non​ ​government​ ​organizations,​ ​such​ ​as​ ​AISEC.

As​ ​we​ ​test​ ​our​ ​prototype,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​be​ ​collating​ ​all​ ​data​ ​​needed​ ​during​ ​disaster​ ​response situations​ ​on​ ​behalf​ ​of​ ​governments​ ​who​ ​still​ ​do​ ​this​ ​manually.​ ​Once​ ​we​ ​bring​ ​in​ ​more and​ ​more​ ​NGOs,​ ​we​ ​can​ ​market​ ​it​ ​as​ ​the​ ​easiest​ ​place​ ​to​ ​look​ ​into​ ​the​ ​needs​ ​of​ ​a certain​ ​place.

What​ ​are​ ​the​ ​risks​ ​associated​ ​with​ ​your​ ​solution? Our​ ​team​ ​recognizes​ ​that​ ​the​ ​following​ ​factors​ ​could​ ​negatively​ ​influence​ ​the​ ​success​ ​of our​ ​solution;

  1. Governments​ ​might​ ​not​ ​see​ ​the​ ​point​ ​of​ ​asking​ ​for​ ​funds​ ​on​ ​our​ ​platform​ ​due​ ​to (1)​ ​a​ ​bad​ ​user​ ​experience​ ​or​ ​(2)​ ​simple​ ​lack​ ​of​ ​education/awareness​ ​of​ ​our solution
  2. NGOs​ ​would​ ​rather​ ​stick​ ​to​ ​their​ ​current​ ​routes​ ​than​ ​learn​ ​our​ ​platform​ ​altogether
  3. Not​ ​enough​ ​victims​ ​(are​ ​able​ ​to)​ ​make​ ​the​ ​effort​ ​to​ ​hold​ ​their​ ​government​ ​units accountable​ ​via​ ​LifeMesh’s​ ​2​ ​way​ ​reputation​ ​system
  4. LifeMesh​ ​having​ ​no​ ​existing​ ​reputation​ ​in​ ​the​ ​space

What​ ​is​ ​the​ ​impact​ ​of​ ​your​ ​solution?​ ​How​ ​will​ ​it​ ​be​ ​measured? Our​ ​primary​ ​key​ ​performance​ ​indicators​ ​will​ ​be​ ​the

  1. Number​ ​of​ ​successful​ ​and​ ​verified​ ​transactions​ ​based​ ​on​ ​​our​ ​two​ ​way reputation​ ​score​ ​(equation​ ​to​ ​follow) a. Two​ ​way​ ​reputation​ ​score​ ​for​ ​entire​ ​situation​ ​from​ ​NGO​ ​donating funds​ ​to​ ​gov't​ ​unit,​ ​all​ ​the​ ​way​ ​to​ ​the​ ​overall/average​ ​rating​ ​scores from​ ​victims​ ​on​ ​the​ ​ground
  2. Cost​ ​saving​ ​analysis​ ​when​ ​LifeMesh​ ​is​ ​applied​ ​to​ ​a​ ​given​ ​disaster

Technical​ ​specifications​ ​and​ ​development​ ​roadmap Our​ ​team​ ​will​ ​be​ ​prototyping​ ​a​ ​fork​ ​of​ ​OpenBazaar​ ​(built​ ​with​ ​Electron)​ ​that​ ​runs​ ​on​ ​our own​ ​IPFS​ ​chain.

For​ ​the​ ​first​ ​prototype​ ​milestone,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​be​ ​ensuring​ ​that​ ​the​ ​base​ ​OpenBazaar​ ​local server​ ​and​ ​desktop​ ​client​ ​run​ ​on​ ​our​ ​own​ ​IPFS​ ​chain/fork.

Lastly,​ ​we​ ​will​ ​be​ ​replacing​ ​the​ ​OpenBazaar​ ​UI​ ​with​ ​our​ ​own​ ​implementation​ ​to​ ​suit LifeMesh’s​ ​use​ ​cases;

  1. 2​ ​way​ ​reputation/rating​ ​system​ ​between a. governments​ ​and​ ​NGOs b. disaster​ ​victims​ ​and​ ​governments
  2. posting/listing​ ​of​ ​needs​ ​by​ ​a​ ​gov’t
  3. the​ ​funding/provisioning​ ​process​ ​by​ ​which​ ​an​ ​NGO​ ​can​ ​satisfy​ ​a​ ​government’s listing/post

If​ ​our​ ​group​ ​makes​ ​it​ ​past​ ​the​ ​qualifications,​ ​then​ ​we’ll​ ​be​ ​adding​ ​the​ ​following​ ​features next: 1. Different​ ​"layers"​ ​to​ ​LifeMesh​ ​as​ ​added​ ​features​ ​that​ ​can​ ​be​ ​accessed​ ​by​ ​NGOs and​ ​Governments​ ​(e.g​ ​heatmaps,​ ​reports,​ ​updated​ ​real​ ​time​ ​deployment​ ​reports etc.)

  1. Implementing​ ​Consensys​ ​Supply​ ​Chain​ ​(https://supplychain.consensys.net)​ ​to manage​ ​the​ ​​asset​ ​tracking​ ​that​ ​takes​ ​place​ ​between​ ​NGO’s​ ​and​ ​governments

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Define specific problem you're addressing

  1. LifeMesh supports NGOs (Suppliers) and governments (Consumers) in need by connecting, verifying and tracking resources needed for effective disaster management.

  2. In addition to that, it helps NGO's to coordinate their efforts because supply/demand are globally published

  3. There is little to none standardized coordination/communication between Suppliers and Consumers of Disaster relief. This creates waste, lack of transparency and corruption.

Why use the Blockchain?

The nature of blockchain technology is perfect for bridging the gap in transparency and communication between NGOs providing funding and governments in need of funding before, during or after disasters. A distributed ledger solves the issues of transparency such as corruption, fair and assured distribution of resources, and accountability for parties that are involved.With the blockchain, we are able to address 2 key issues in disaster management.

Communication. Our solution aims to provide a publicly verifiable distributed marketplace/platform, on the eventual level of Amazon/Alibaba for governments and NGOs to easily, but securely communicate, when gathering funds for disasters.

Transparency. In order to keep interfering politics out of the actual relief efforts, we aim for an immutable and objective reputation system between the governments and NGOs during their funding activities. We will be verifying if services have been provided to affected communities and given by governments. These can be reconfirmed with the assigned NGO.

A reputation system will be positioned in place to verify accountability between the two parties, government and NGOs.

When government funds are received, affected citizens have an avenue for reporting the actual relief for their communities. These are some of the key functions that the reputation management can cover:

a.) Reports on confirming received relief on the ground, b.) verification of government reported disaster situation,
c. ) Rating NGOs based on their self initiated reports on their funding activity, etc

All of which will reinforce the transparent, accountable and exact trade of resources.

What is the size of the market? Effectively the market are all charities and NGO’s globally, the “suppliers” of aid in any form.

Other Available Solutions

In The Philippines, private citizens have access to key NGOs and are able to source and deliver donated good personally to avoid talking to the government. There are also smaller groups aiding forgotten areas through on their own. Both efforts can remain untraceable and unconfirmed. Additionally, there are also other applications that address disaster management. Item as follows:

Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System (GDACS). This iPhone App provides users real-time information about disasters and gives them the possibility to send information in the form of a geo-located image and/or text back. Targeted users include professional emergency responders of GADSC, as well as general users affected by disasters. This App intends to tap the abundant information about disasters available from people who actually experience them.

Disaster Alert (PDC). Current global disaster info on an interactive map.

Humanitarian ID. An app that provides a self managed approach to contact lists.

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