"Hyper-Network for electro-Mobility" or NeMo for short is an EU funded project that has built and piloted an infrastructure platform for participants in the electro-mobility market to develop, trade and execute IT services relevant for the operation of a large population of electric vehicles. NeMo aims to replicate the success of seamless roaming in the mobile telecommunications world in the domain of electro-mobility services.
What it does
NeMo Partners like energy producers and distributors, charge point operators and e-roaming providers, manufacturers of electric vehicles as well as road operators or navigation service providers have formed a Business Alliance for Electro-Mobility which offers the NeMo Marketplace for their members. The purpose is to improve the situation of the owner/driver of an electric vehicle and make e-vehicle driving more attractive by service offerings contributed by the members of the NeMo Alliance.
The NeMo Alliance provides the NeMo Hyper-Network comprising of:
- the NeMo Network with its constituting NeMo Nodes. Each such NeMo Node provides the NeMo Core components for developing, trading and executing NeMo Services.
- the NeMo Common Information Model (CIM) has been created to provide a comprehensive uniform data model for representing a rich variety of concepts relevant in the electro-mobility space.
- the NeMo Marketplace where partners can trade their electro-mobility NeMo Services.
- the NeMo Service Execution Environment for enabling execution of and inter-operation between the NeMo Services and electro-mobility applications owned by the NeMo Partners.
The NeMo Partners implement their NeMo Services based on the infrastructure and development tools provided by the NeMo Alliance.
NeMo aims at improving the B2B relationships between the NeMo Partners; the partners in turn can maintain other B2B relationships outside the NeMo context and also B2C business relations for end-consumer business.
Technical capabilities developed in NeMo address the following aspects:
- the creation of NeMo Services and the semantic description of their capabilities. These semantic service descriptions allow for intelligent search for ‘best-fit’ services: at development time services that meet ‘semantic requirements’ can be determined by the NeMo Service Creation Tool. At service execution time, ‘best-fit’ services can also be determined dynamically: in this way, an invoking service may call a target service that may not have existed when the invoking service has been developed.
- The execution of service-to-service invocations is enabled by a distributed Integration Bus of which an instance is deployed to each NeMo Node. This bus initiates the data translations to and from the CIM representations of the data being exchanged and transports service calls and their results across the NeMo nodes of the respective NeMo partners.
- The master data of the NeMo Marketplace is maintained in the NeMo Service & Contract Registry. This registry is implemented using a Blockchain approach to replicate and synchronize all data relevant for the NeMo Marketplace between the participating NeMo Nodes. This ensures that all transactions on the marketplace can be executed locally and that the same data is available on each NeMo Node. NeMo employs a ‘permissioned' Blockchain approach underpinned by Hyperledger Fabric and Composer where the business partners in the Blockchain network are known to each other. The Blockchain implemented in NeMo comprises of all transactions for managing the market participants, their services, service offerings and contracts.
The NeMo Services are electro-mobility related IT services that are registered, traded and executed on the NeMo Marketplace. They are implemented as web services providing a REST or a SOAP interface which is – ideally – based on the NeMo CIM. Such ‘full CIM’ services expose interfaces that only recur to CIM entity types and semantic descriptions of their capabilities which allow for searching and finding them based on semantic search criteria. For services which are not directly based on NeMo CIM, NeMo offers so-called Translation Specifications between CIM entity types and proprietary entity types as used by the service provider. In this way, CIM based service finding and invocation is possible within the NeMo Integration Bus.
The B2B nature of NeMo assumes that the NeMo services are traded between the organizations participating in the NeMo business network. The services may implement capabilities that are directly facing end-consumers of the service owner, but that ‘consumer side’ of the service is not relevant for NeMo. The envisaged setting is sketched in Figure 1 above: the NeMo services interact with consumer-oriented e-mobility applications and interact with other services in the NeMo Network.
The functionality of the NeMo services is of course determined by the business model of the NeMo partner offering the service. Examples of services developed in the context of the NeMo project include:
- Manufacturers of electric vehicles typically collect driving data about their cars to other partners interested in such driving data. Parties interested in driving data may be insurance companies, navigation service providers or others.
- Charge Point Operators provide data regarding usage of their charge points to electricity producers or distributors so that they can perform respective capacity planning tasks to assure that vehicle charging does not face power capacity bottlenecks.
- Navigation service providers may collect travel route information from electric vehicles and notify vehicle drivers about charging stations on their way from A to B. Such navigation service providers may contract services from larger cities or roaming providers to obtain recent charging station or traffic information.
- Highly specialized companies (often still in start-up mode) may offer dedicated services of route planning, traffic prediction, power availability forecasts which they can sell to other e-mobility IT providers on the NeMo Marketplace.
The NeMo project has created a prototypical network of eight nodes operated by project partners. Currently, there are about 30 e-mobility services and applications published to the marketplace.
The demo video linked below illustrates Use Case 42: Itinerary Planning. NeMo has defined > 60 separate use cases.
How I built it
The NeMo platform is built with Hyperledger Fabric and Composer by a team based at the IBM facility in Boeblingen, Germany. Other NeMo Partners have made invaluable contributions to this project; including creation services that connect from their own systems to the NeMo platform.
Challenges I ran into
- Blockchain/Hyperledger skills were fairly scarce in the early stages of the project, this required substantial training on the job
- Use of Open Source Hyperledger framework for multi-node/multi-cloud deployment faces complexity that commercial offerings hide from exploiters of the technology
- Blockchain/Hyperledger had to be de-mystified a bit, as it was considered as a catch-all cure for many problems of establishing a distributed marketplace
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
- Getting the Hyperledger implementation of Blockchain 'under control' and meeting the project objective of establishing a distributed marketplace with this new technology
- Being able to establish a Hyperledger network of 8 nodes operated on different clouds and on premise without reverting to commercial offerings
- Establishing the technology for a business consortium who were all newcomers to the Blockchain approach
What I learned
- The effort for using the Open Source Hyperledger implementation was quite high; using commercial offerings would have saved resources for implementing more business functionality, e.g., for implementing Blockchain-based electro-mobility services and thus widen the scope for applying Blockchain technology
- The testing and validation of Hyperledger applications (functional, integration, performance, high-availability) is still pretty much a greenfield area that needs more experience and best practices
What's next for NeMO
- NeMo is seeking broader opportunities to scale and commercialise the work done up to this point.
- A live demonstration for MGC2 judges and other interested parties will be available upon request.
- The consumer facing use case demos [like Search and Find Chargepoints] require permission from NeMo business partners for us to share a live demo URL [hence a demo video is linked below].
- For MGC2 Judges we have created a read-only ProSumer (Service Provider/Consumer) user to view the services available via B2B Marketplace.
- An API access demo to test out the NeMo REST APIs will also be available upon request.
Use Case 42: Itinerary Planning demo
- TomTom Itinerary Planning demo is available at Try it out link below. Please select Login and then choose a demo vehicle to begin. This is a real use case for such technology within the ACEA (European Automobile Manufacturer Association) working groups. Here, the itinerary planner is able to connect with a remote neutral server, collect data from the vehicle in real time and use them in the routing algorithm.
B2B Marketplace demo access for MGC2 Judges
- B2B Marketplace live demo link available to MGC2 Judges on request by email
- Video of B2B Marketplace demo viewable here https://youtu.be/fEyBrAWHMyQ?t=2701