Three Innovations

The patented Monal Location Based Transaction Method introduces three innovations:

  1. A new way of metering
  2. Optimizing Travel Schedules
  3. Transacting Variable Pricing

How it works in practice can be best illustrated considering our Parking Service. Watch also our Rockstart Demo Day pitch!

Smart Metering

Our approach is to deploy the Monal e-Vignette to our subscribers. This device is attached to the windscreen of the car and identifies uniquely the car, like a license plate that can be read out from a distance. It acts as a payment instrument, similar to the transponders seen in road tolling. It can:

  1. Locate the position of a car with high precision of up to 10 cm
  2. Authenticate the identity of the car from a distance.

When the vehicle is in a managed location. like a parking lot, the e-Vignette interacts with Monal Beacons. These are Internet-of-Things nodes deployed in the space (either indoor or outdoor). The transponders broadcast periodically encrypted messages to the beacons. The supporting backoffice identifies the pinging transponder and  locates it using  Multilateration TDoA ("Time Difference of Arrival") method.

Transponder Beacon

When the vehicle is in the open space, like on the highway, it interacts with the public-domain LORA network. This Internet-of-things network can exchange messages to the e-Vignette, and localize it with a precision of 30 meter, which suffices to track the vehicle.

Optimizing the travel schedule

The Monal SaaS platform (Software as a Service) is therefor aware of the routes that travelers follow. The destination is automatically determined, e.g. a commute from home to work or back.

These routes are broken down in route segments, corresponding with the capacity resources to be managed. Evidently, capacities closer to the destination are more prone to congestion since traffic becomes denser. Please refer to the figure on the side.

The Optimizing Scheduler reserves the required Resources and transacts the use. It relies on a very sophisticated optimization algorithm which analyzes millions of combinations to yield the (overall) optimum resource utilization plan against a target function. This target function can be customized for each corporate and reflects its mobility policy (minimal costs, CO2, waiting time, ...) Calculation time for a batch of 1000 commuters takes less than a minute.

To yield a correct schedule, the Scheduler needs to have a real-time view on the capacity utilization of every possible resource. Since the tool serves a specific community of say 1000-5000 commuters, the list of tracked Resources is trimmed down to manageable sizes. Resources are guarded by our Location Based Transaction platform, which "meters" the presence of a commuter at a certain location.

Scheduling and feedback are integrated in a loop, processing deviations in real-time (predict-correct).

As a result, a short-cyclic loop is obtained (“Choose-Use-Pay”) which is unique (and patented) to our proposition.

Transacting variable pricing

Therefore, the vignette reports in real-time which capacities are currently being used to fulfil the journey at hand. These capacities are typically operated by third-party mobility operators such as parking operators, public transportation companies, public roads etc. To those service operators, the Monal infrastructure acts as a virtual ticketing terminal, transacting the space around every individual capacity resource which the service provider operates. For a parking operator, this is a parking dock, for the highway this is the road between two exits etc. The transaction starts when a vignette shifts into the zone (thus occupying the capacity), and closes when the vignette leaves the zone (thus freeing the capacity).

Hence the ticketing can occur taking the momentary capacity situation into account, promoting the use of underutilized assets, e.g. by charging variable pricing based on the target function used by the Optimizing Scheduler..