Features
15 Jun 21

The smart mobility ecosystem - powered by technology

The Smart Mobility Conference 2021 emphasised just how instrumental technology is to the smart mobility ecosystem of the future. Companies that were once strangers to it, such as oil (Shell) and car manufacturers (BMW), are currently ploughing huge investment into tech to create the fleet landscapes of the future.

You can get insights on this and more and watch all presentations from the Smart Mobility Conference here.

BMW has invested in quantum technology and joined forces with nine other German firms, including: BASF, Bosch, SAP, Siemens and VW, to create the Quantum Technology and Application Consortium (QUTAC). The goal of which is to exploit the promise of quantum computing and develop industry applications, such as automated driving.

Frost & Sullivan tracks trends in corporate mobility. Connectivity and digital technologies have opened up the development of new mobility business models and this includes integration of multiple solutions with a fully digital, seamless platform that underpins everything, from planning trips to expense management.

“Seamless mobility. That is what we all want.” stated Steven Schoefs, Editor-in-chief at Nexus. Sigrid Van Veen, Sr. Global Product Marketing Manager, at location intelligence data and software provider HERE Technologies, agreed and added that it’s about creating attractive mobility services that appeal to everyone.

The ’on-demand’ economy

Van Veen underlined the impact the ‘on-demand’ economy has had on mobility. On-demand services, such as ride-hailing, are convenient and complementary to public transport, micro-mobility enhances these flexible and personalised ways of traveling and technology plays a crucial role in developing mobility solutions.

“Many innovations that lead to increased efficiency, convenience and safety are made possible by new technologies, such as IoT, AI, machine learning and 5G but it’s actually by combining these technologies that the magic happens and value emerges.” Van Veen observed.

Improving driver safety in smart cities

The existence of mobility in a smart city that can coincide with V2X communication, enabled through 5G, will facilitate the deployment of automated vehicles and advanced driver assistance systems to improve safety in smart cities. A recent project HERE worked on with Bosch and Transport for London (TFL) enabled them to extract information and insights about traffic flows and air quality from IoT centres and algorithms.

Exploiting data

All of these systems generate data, which is valuable but cannot be used to its full potential when stuck in silos within companies across the eco-system. This has created an increased need for collaboration and data sharing, which companies are nervous about.

Currently, data is generated by multiple providers across public and private organisations and many are keeping it to themselves. As a result the data cannot be aggregated and will only have limited value. In order to be of value, this data needs to be contextualised and merged on a neutral platform, while ensuring privacy requirements are met.

Moving from a fixed to dynamic landscape

New mobility opportunities mean moving from a fixed fare, schedule-based model of service provision to a dynamic, ‘as-a-service’ model, with contactless payments and an orchestrated eco-system. This means piecing together the currently fragmented eco-system.

“This needs to be done, even if they seems like creating competitions at first.” said HERE’s Van Veen.

What HERE does is stitch together elements from mobility as a service with individual transport options. “Users don’t want to juggle with multiple applications to plan a journey.” Van Veen added. “Intermodal applications can be built that will enable them to find and select the best options for them from a single interface.”

When mobility data is merged with map data and enriched with other data, such as traffic, road regulation, or point of interest, it can generate insights used to plan which vehicles are needed where and when. It can also help identify optimal locations for pick up and drop off points.

Navigation isn’t just about knowing where roads are, it needs to be enhanced with details like one-way streets, turn restrictions, bus lanes, taxi lanes, pedestrian walkways, to name a few. A true mobility eco-system needs all this information to be integrated into a single solution.

A plan for launching corporate mobility

OviDrive has devised a seven step plan for launching a corporate mobility offering. Bearing in mind that every business is unique, these steps include:

  1. Rationalising data - understanding utilisation of vehicles by analysing mileage data, frequency of use, employee needs and expectations in terms of transport, and the needs of the business in terms of how customers are served, business vs private mileage of vehicles.
  2. Improving the status quo - reviewing existing fleet in terms of utilisation, car eligibility, car-pooling needs and options and how to improve fleet management from within.
  3. Strategy - “you need to know your why?”; the desired outcomes you want to achieve by offering a varied mobility solution. This can include sustainability, employee flexible benefit, improvement of fleet and mobility management, cost management, operational optimisation and electrification.
  4. Information - involving employees in surveys to discover what their expectations are; involve stakeholders to assess readiness. Examine options (there is no one-size-fits-all).
  5. Evangelising - using the data to build the roadmap to your mobility offering: categorise employee groups; transaction plan and timeline for each group; understand risk and risk mitigation.
  6. Prepare - amend (or create if necessary) your mobility and commuting policies, understand your supply chain; operational infrastructure; technology - the various data streams that will be coming in to your business (how they will be managed and analysed against budgets); integration, both internally and externally with the various systems that will be required to support mobility; understand changes to reporting, implications for taxation governance and compliance. Keep in mind the future and that this is an ever-changing landscape.
  7. Implementation - you need an agile and collaborative implementation plan, aligned to your business needs and realistic.

There’s no doubting the significance the role technology will play in the future of smart mobility and smart cities but now is the time for preparing the groundwork. This involves making friends with technology, using it instead of being run by it and learning to collaborate in partnership with counterparts in the eco-system.

You can also enjoy the content from the recent Global Fleet Conference on-demand.

Image: courtesy of Shutterstock

Authored by: Alison Pittaway