Mobiquity launches a blockchain layer for maintaining a data trail
The location data provider is one of the first to actually use blockchain technology for enhancing its platform.
Many blockchain projects in marketing or advertising are still in the stage of raising money, writing white papers or lining up partners.
But mobile location data intelligence service Mobiquity Networks has launched a blockchain layer for its platform — and it has announced its first data customer for this new enhancement, attribution provider and current customer Barometric.
The blockchain layer assists the Mongo database in Mobiquity’s Passage Platform, CTO Paul Bauersfeld told me.
Passage is the collection, analysis and distribution platform through which Mobiquity acquires anonymized location data via third-party permission-based mobile apps, primarily shopping apps. And it is the platform through which the data is combined with other data and sold to clients.
Brands employ Mobiquity’s location data for such purposes as detecting footfall traffic in their physical stores after an online ad campaign, triggering an alert to consumers at the right time or attributing consumer activity after an ad (as Barometric does).
From Mobiquity’s point of view, Bauersfeld said, it’s constantly a challenge to keep track of all the separate data streams.
For instance, Mobiquity could receive data from two publishers’ permission-based apps on a single phone, but it has to track them separately because of the revenue split. Or there could be overlaid data, like demographic data that Barometric might add to the location data when it assesses attribution.
Barometric has a similar problem of separating and tracking data streams, CEO Anthony Iacovone told me.
If another vendor takes a feed from Mobiquity that includes location data plus Barometric’s own demographic data, he said, the primary way to track if Barometric’s data has been employed has been the honor system.
That is, the vendor might say it didn’t use the demographic data, and Barometric’s only recourse is to take their word for it. He added that this tracking of what data gets used is even more complicated in, say, data management platforms.
The new blockchain layer is designed to solve the data separation and auditing problems by acting as a massive digital ledger. It records an essentially immutable record of each event, which can then be seen by any participant so that it offers a complete data audit trail.
Iacovone said this is the first time a vendor has offered a blockchain enhancement, which he said provides “a more reliable tech, more traceable, and more transparent.”
Instead of using a popular blockchain protocol like Ethereum, Mobiquity is employing a blockchain-based tech called Big Data dB.
It doesn’t use human/machine “miners” to record and add data segments, as many blockchain protocols do, which has been one factor in the slow transactional speed of most blockchains.
Instead, Bauersfeld said, it employs “a federation of machine voting” to provide a comparable kind of consensus in support of data block additions. As a result, he said, its processing speed is much, much faster than that of a typical blockchain, with Big Data dB capable of writing about a million operations a second.
Bauersfeld noted that the key idea has been “not to change how we’re doing anything,” since Mobiquity has spent years developing a system that can handle about 60 billion events monthly.
So, pointers to the data are written to the blockchain layer, but the data still resides in Mongo. Sometimes, related data elements are handled by a single pointer, such as a configuration of app ID, IDFA identifier and location data from a single phone. When Barometric provides demographic data as an overlay, Bauersfeld said, it also supplies a structure to guide the pointers.