Full Speed Ahead for Interface App
In November, WhenHub started a public Token Sale for Interface, our new blockchain-based product for connecting Consumers and Experts using micro contract-based video calls. Our Token Sale uses a SAFT (Simple Agreement for Future Token) model. In this model, we issue tokens to buyers upon release of a product in which the tokens can be used, kind of like a Token IOU. Since many Token Sale participants are anxious to get possession of their tokens, we have accelerated our product development timeline for the Interface mobile app. For the past month, the WhenHub team has been working hard on the Interface MVP (Minimum Viable Product) release. In this post, I’ll tell you about the features and capabilities we have planned for this release.
Our goal for the WhenHub Interface MVP release is to make the core product features available in the shortest time possible. Think of it as a preview of the most important features, but not an implementation of the overall vision. We also want to be as open and transparent as possible to participants of the Token Sale so they can see our progress, provide feedback, and yes, download and install interim preview builds on their phone very soon. Here are the highlights of what you will find in the Interface MVP release:
- Real-time matching Allow real-time matching of Experts to Consumers. An Expert can use the app to announce that they are “online” and available for taking calls. In the final app, we will offer the ability for Experts to promote future time slots that can be booked in addition to real-time.
- LinkedIn profile All Experts will need to have a LinkedIn profile which we will display in the app. In the final app, we will provide a user interface for managing profile information and LinkedIn will not be a requirement.
- Video only Meetings will be video only. In the final app, we will have chat, audio and in-person meetings, but for now it’s video calls just like FaceTime or Duo.
- Seed Tokens We want everyone to download and try out the WhenHub Interface app and we want Experts in every field to promote their expertise even if they are not familiar with crypto tokens. Therefore, per our network seeding strategy, we will grant tokens to users for completing specific actions such as creating account, referring other users, completing a transaction etc.
- Search Search will only be available within the app. Later, when we activate the WhenHub Interface Network, we will have search in the app, on Interface Hub on our website, and across the web on many websites using WhenSense.
Now that you have context for what’s going to be in the MVP app, lets walk through rough wireframes that provide a more tangible look at the app. Two things to keep in mind: the wireframes are intended to convey the workflow of the application and not design; and the MVP app, by design, has only the most basic functionality.
1) Signing-In and Start
After standard signup and sign-in views, users will navigate one of the two primary paths of the app: Find an Expert, or Be an Expert. These paths reflect the real world…you might be an expert on some topic(s), but on other topics, you might want to get advice from an expert on that topic. Interface will let you have it both ways.
2) Expert — Going Online/Offline
If you choose the Be an Expert path, the app will check to see if you have connected with LinkedIn. For the MVP app, we will not have any ability to edit your profile in the app. Instead we will import and display those aspects of your LinkedIn profile that are permissible according to LinkedIn’s Terms of Service. Once you connect your LinkedIn profile, you can define the topic of your expertise, your hourly rate and your self-rating for that topic. After providing these values, you can Go Online. Going online tells the app that you are ready to appear in Consumer searches for your expertise topic. This is similar to an Uber or Lyft driver “checking-in” and letting the app know that it can send ride requests to them. Similarly, once you Go Online, the app knows that you are ready to take calls from Consumers on the topic of your expertise.
3) Consumer — Search and Connect
If you choose the Find an Expert path, you are taken to the search view. The app displays the number of Experts currently online. You can then search for a topic for which you need to speak to an Expert. If there are any Experts for that topic currently online, you will see their profile. For each Expert, you can see their name, languages spoken, self-rating for the topic, hourly rate, minimum call duration and if you scroll, additional information from their LinkedIn profile. You may swipe left or right to view more Experts (although this does not currently have Tinder-like meaning, we might add this in the future).
Once you have found an Expert you like, you can Interface with them. You will need to specify the approximate time you wish to speak (must be equal to or greater than the Expert’s minimum duration requirement) and provide a brief statement about the purpose of the call. You will also have to consent to depositing the approximate WHEN token value of the call into an Interface smart contract for the call. Finally, you can invite the Expert to Interface.
4) Getting Connected
As you would expect, once a Consumer invites an Expert to Interface, they will see a notification on their device indicating the expected call duration and the purpose of the call. Until the Expert answers, the Consumer will see a view indicating that the app is waiting for the Expert to respond.
5) Interface Call
If the Expert accepts the Interface invitation, an Interface smart contract is created. The smart contract will contain the WHEN tokens deposited by the Consumer, and the WHEN tokens provided by the Expert as surety for the call. After the call completes, both parties are required to rate the other party. If both Consumer and Expert rate each other at or above a network-defined threshold, the Expert’s surety tokens are returned, and the Consumer’s deposit tokens are transferred to the Expert after deducting any applicable commissions or fees (none in the MVP). If either party rates the other one below the network threshold, the contract may be analyzed and potentially flagged for manual review.
6) Extending a Call
During the call, the Consumer who is paying for the call, has the option to extend the call and pay the additional fee. The Expert will be notified of this and may accept or decline the call extension. The Expert can also extend the call, but the Consumer will not incur any additional cost.
7) WIN Wallet
We want users of the Interface MVP app to get started with the app right away, even if they know nothing about crypto currencies. Therefore, when a user signs up to use WhenHub Interface, we will automatically create an Ethereum address (“WIN Wallet”) and link it to the user’s Interface account. We will add a small number of WHEN tokens to this address to enable the user to make 2-3 Interface calls. Later, when the user has a better understanding of the app and crypto currencies, they can use WIN Wallet to deposit or withdraw WHEN tokens. We expect that most users will keep just enough WHEN tokens at this address to facilitate their use of the app, but store and manage a bulk of their WHEN tokens using another wallet such as MetaMask.
The tokens that will be added to user WIN Wallets are allocated from our network seeding strategy (described in the white paper). I’ll provide more details on seeding in a future blog post.
Hopefully, these wireframes have given you a good idea of what to expect in the WhenHub Interface MVP release. In addition to the ability to find/connect with an Expert, or go online as an Expert, we are also investing engineering resources to ensure that the video call performs flawlessly and works in a variety of connectivity situations. For speed to market and efficiency, we are building the app using the Xamarin platform. This enables us to write code once, but simultaneously build a native app for both iOS and Android. Here’s a look at what the C# code for managing the video call looks like in Xamarin with the Microsoft Visual Studio editor:
Since the WhenHub Token Sale is still in progress, we don’t yet have all the resources we need to develop the Interface mobile app and the WhenHub Interface Network. But that hasn’t prevented us from getting started and going full bore into development. We are doing what we do best — use the resources we have as efficiently as possible to build something amazing that is helpful to people and solves a real problem.
Do you want to help us build the WhenHub Interface Network, and get access to early releases of the Interface app? Click below and participate in our token sale.