A Nasdaq-listed company says it is creating a blockchain-enabled platform designed to decentralize data and empower consumers — all while giving brands an alternative to Facebook and Google in the quest to reach the public.
Phunware says it is leveraging 10 years of mobile technology experience to enable brands to deliver relevant content to a highly targeted audience, increasing engagement and resulting in a more memorable experience. Customers who share their data with a brand or build loyalty by engaging in profitable behavior, receive incentives, the team adds. Businesses can also begin to benefit from the technology by “supercharging” their current mobile apps with Phunware software add-ons, helping to reduce the cost of embracing a new approach to advertising and marketing.
At the beating heart of the company’s cloud platform for mobile is its Knowledge Graph. This graph database leverages machine learning to curate information that is gathered from a broad range of datasets, such as those acquired from smartphones and tablets that have Phunware software installed. From here, brands can unlock new features and data — safe in the knowledge that it is accurate, auditable and verifiable.
According to Phunware, its solution is designed to not only reimagine how brands engage consumers, but also to address the issue of ad fraud — a problem that the World Federation of Advertisers predicts could cost firms $50 billion a year by 2025.
“Phunware represents ‘a better way’ and the alternative to centralized authorities that perpetuate ad fraud, waste and abuse,” the company says. “The era of data collection through surveillance and exploitation is coming to an end. Phunware is ushering in a new era of data collection through collaboration and compensation.”
One important element of the company’s quest to save businesses money is by focusing on relevance — and eliminating what it regards as a flawed model in which brands end up paying internet giants even when their promotions reach someone who would never have any intention of purchasing their product.
As emphasis continues to shift to smartphones and wearables, Phunware says it wants to get a head start by building the infrastructure it needs for a new age of digital transformation into a mobile-first world now. The company compares its ambitions to those of Amazon, which built huge distribution centers early on and left other retailers struggling to catch up — and says its goal is to build a decentralized network to distribute data so that brands can better “identify, engage, manage, monetize and retain consumers forever.”
This is achieved by offering businesses deeper audience insight than they could ever hope to achieve through search engines and social networks. Brands can convert would-be shoppers into paying customers by delivering context-aware notifications and content that fully reflects the characteristics and habits of their target audience. Phunware is also a leading provider of indoor positioning technology, so branded content that is displayed to consumers can be personalized by weaving in this intelligence in more engaging ways, including based on location.
Phunware believes that such one-to-one interactions have never been possible on a global scale before — let alone in real time. The company’s latest statistics suggest that its Multiscreen-as-a-Service platform (or MaaS, for short) managed to reach an estimated 1 billion unique devices per month in the first quarter of 2019 alone.
A blockchain system with purpose
Phunware was one of only 10 companies selected by IBM for its new IBM Blockchain Accelerator. Part of the Columbia-IBM Center for Blockchain and Data Transparency, the accelerator is designed to provide enterprise companies with access to the assets, knowledge and support they need to build sustainable blockchain businesses and enterprise-grade blockchain networks.
Phunware says it offers a dual token economy in which one digital asset, PhunCoin, is a compliant security token that enables consumers to “monetize their digital identity,” while Phun is a utility token that enables consumers to “monetize digital activity” as they engage with brands by completing surveys, viewing branded content and participating in marketing campaigns.
Randall Crowder, chief operating officer of the United States-based company, said:
“We are excited to introduce Phun as a new utility token to not only support our ecosystem’s commercial launch worldwide, but also to position Phun for future exchange listings and enable the international community to get more actively involved as we drive towards mainstream adoption beyond our domestic borders.”
Phunware’s blockchain-enabled data exchange and mobile loyalty ecosystem was launched this week, all with a view toward enabling consumers to take control of their digital identity, “be compensated” for engaging with brands and wrestle power back from “untrustworthy intermediaries.”