11 juin 21

Innovation in corporate mobility will lead to consolidation

There was plenty of innovation in evidence at the first Smart Mobility Conference, organised on 10 June, and the spotlight was firmly on corporate mobility.

A raft of post-pandemic activity from leasing companies, technology providers and car manufacturers is laying the foundations for how employees’ transport needs will be met in the future. What is blindingly apparent is that not one of them can do this alone, collaboration is front and centre.

You can watch the recordings of the Smart Mobility Conference on our YouTube channel. For more global insights from fleet managers, leasing providers, supplier and more, visit the on-demand recordings of the Global Fleet Conference.

Mobility providers thrive in symbiosis

Leasing companies have the customers and access to funding but they need the technology to provide innovations in data, fleet and service management. Technology providers need the leasing companies and car manufacturers to install and use their systems so they can keep collecting and absorbing data, and car manufacturers need access to corporate markets that demand flexible mobility solutions. These relationships are thriving on symbiosis.

Relaunching the Sixt Mobility Club

In terms of MaaS, Stuart Donnelly, Sr Director Group Corporate Sales in Europe and the US, Sixt, emphasised the need for continued flexibility. The company has relaunched Sixt Mobility Club, a scheme for corporates that enables them to try MaaS before making the leap.

Based on a mobility payment card, the initiative incentivises employees to give up their company car for a short time and try mobility modes, such as ride-hailing, car sharing, rental and public transport. At the end of the trial, prizes are handed out for the greenest, fastest and so on. The Club went live just before the global pandemic hit in 2020 so Sixt withdrew it from the market but Donnelly announced that it has started up again.

Greater flexibility in how cars are owned and used

ALD Automotive is more than just a global leasing specialist. The company is also a leading provider of corporate car sharing in Europe and Brazil. ALD Automotive is also offering several micro-mobility products combined with other lease or finance options across several markets.

And ALD provides a mobility card in the Netherlands in partnership with Radiuz Total Mobility Solutions, which enables integrated mobility and reporting. Using the system, employees have access to multiple mobility services offered through partnerships but their employer has only to pay a single invoice.

The lease company has also launched Ricaricar in Italy to offer pay-per-use mobility. Customers select and manage a vehicle through a dedicated platform and agree a monthly mileage cost, inclusive of insurance and maintenance.

Creating seamless mobility for everyone

Sigrid Van Veen (pictured right), Sr. Global Product Marketing Manager, at location intelligence data and software provider HERE Technologies, talked about how MaaS and location technology is gearing up to support corporate mobility.

“This is about creating seamless mobility for everyone.” She stated while highlighting that solving barriers to MaaS means adopting a more flexible and dynamic approach, including: moving away from a fixed fare, schedule-based service for public transport to a dynamic as-a-service model. This will include contactless mobility and the creation of an orchestrated ecosystem to replace the fragmentation of network operators we currently have.

The fleet manager’s digital assistant

OviDrive, described as “the digital assistant of the fleet manager”, provides an ERP platform that collects, absorbs and controls data and fleet transactions globally. Laura Friebe, Enterprise Solutions Manager, at OviDrive highlighted the importance of technology for extracting the value of data.

Rather than managing by exception, which has traditionally been easier, fleet managers will have to embrace compound data management. This requires data to be processed rather than stored. The OviDrive platform manages the vehicle and employee (even those who don’t qualify for a company car) and delivers what it calls a “triple S strategy - savings, safety and sustainability”.

Giorgio Delpiano, Senior Vice President Fleet Solutions and E-mobility at Shell announced that the energy company and fuel card provider has acquired OviDrive. Shell will be integrating OviDrive’s platform into its own fleet solutions offering.

“Smart mobility needs to come together and really be smart.” said Delpiano. “They [OviDrive] have a fantastic solution that complements Shell mobility solutions. Their technology edge and presence, combined with ours, is a strong solution.”

The need for best practice alongside innovation

In and of itself, technology is only part of the answer. Without best practices, trying to manage various assets that make up a mobility solution can be messy. Ridecell, provider of fleet IoT automation solutions, presented a best practice roadmap towards efficient corporate mobility. It includes four steps: streamlining the user experience; improving vehicle utilisation; increasing efficiency and lowering costs, and enhancing compliance and security.

The mobility budget is real, not a myth

The concept of a ‘mobility budget’ (instead of a company car) is causing HR managers and finance departments to scratch their heads and ask the question “but how will it be managed?”. FreeNow has come up with the answer in its platform for managing mobility budgets. Its app-based platform provides employers with the ability to give employees a mobility allowance, which they can use to pay for a variety of travel options. It also provides a partnership ecosystem that means corporates only pay a single bill at the end of the month.

Innovation in corporate mobility is a busy space right now with an abundance of technology companies providing numerous solutions for a variety of challenges. Inevitably, as we have seen with Shell and OviDrive, there will be a raft of consolidation before we see a truly single solution for managing corporate mobility emerge.

Image: Shutterstock. Step 6 to implementing corporate mobility - courtesy of OviDrive

Authored by: Alison Pittaway