The annual MOVE America event took place virtually last week. Key mobility players set out how the industry has survived the pandemic and what further transformations are in store over the coming months. A renewed focus on customer centricity was at the heart of many of the talks. And data was clearly defined as the key enabler to successfully adopt this approach.
Nick Albanese (Bloomberg NEF) explained how shared mobility has major growth potential. The market is now worth more than $60 billion as investments from VCs and private equity funds have flooded in over recent years. Such intense investment has led to rapid consumer adoption. For example, global users of digital ride-hailing services such as Uber increased from 60M in 2017 to almost 100M in 2020, and there are now 425,000 fleet-based car sharing vehicles dotted across the globe.
Even in the face of the ongoing pandemic, this industry has flourished. Yes, public transit demand fell by over 70%, but demand for micro-mobility options such as e-bikes and electronic scooters has experienced a boost. Ethically conscious consumers are making the shift to sustainable lifestyle choices.
Private passenger cars are typically parked for an average of 23-hours per day. Zipcar President Tracey Zhen made the compelling argument that for every shared vehicle Zipcar puts on the grid, the need for 13 personal cars is removed. As Zipcar members opt for cost-efficiencies and convenience over private ownership, each member’s carbon footprint is reduced by 1,600 pounds per year.
The success of the mobility industry is entirely dependent on consumer uptake, demand, and belief in the system. Therefore, service providers’ business models must offer low-cost, quick, and scalable solutions. How can they achieve this? With the right technologies that contribute to a seamless consumer experience. According to Jim Adler from Toyota AI Ventures, machines are key to amplifying the human experience.
People-centric multimodal mobility
A recurring theme throughout MOVE was customer experience. As people move from point A to point B, they may need to use multiple forms of transportation for example, from an urban air mobility vehicle, to ride-hailing EVs to shared bikes or scooters. Olabisi Boyle (Hyundai Motor America) placed great emphasis on how a seamless connected experience is vital to multimodal mobility’s survival.
Others from Getaround and Metro St. Louis touted the need for a single app or platform per city to plan, book and pay for all mobility needs in one go. For this to be successful, partnerships are key to providing a simple, no fuss experience for the user.
How can enhanced mobility experiences be achieved?
In short, through data insights enabled by 5G.
With 5G and cellular V2X technologies minimal latency, high bandwidth use cases become a reality. Like your smartphone, your car can be upgraded with the latest software Over-The-Air. 5G enables this at scale across any mode of transport. With up-to-date software vehicles remains secure, whilst accessing vital technologies to prolong lifecycle value.
Other use cases include fast, low latency access to navigation, parking, infotainment, and in-car payment systems. Each feature generates significant amounts of data.
As set out by Shyam Sundar (Faraday Futures), the connected journey generates data from multiple sources, such as user behaviour data, vehicle performance data, sensor data etc. If carmakers and mobility providers use this ‘cocktail of data’ in a clever and secure way, they can make informed choices relating to price, variety, and convenience. Thereby continuously optimising user-experience.
Adopting a data-driven business model
If the data can be fundamentally understood, providers can make appropriate use of it and incorporate it into business models. Jim Adler contended that data could inform which types of multimodal mobilities to scale, and which to pull back on. He commented, ‘there is always value in data’ in using it to inform strategic decisions for urban mobility planning.
Cubic’s data traffic classification service PLXOR provides visual, digestible data on how content services are consumed across global fleets. Armed with this contextualised data, PLXOR helps carmakers and mobility providers better understand end users and the way they interact with vehicles and connected services. They can then optimise vehicle performance, personalise connected services, and enrich customer experience.
Overall MOVE America demonstrated the resilience of an industry faced with major challenges during the past 12 months. To secure its future, mobility providers must incorporate connected intelligence into strategic planning. This will pave the way for a user-centric approach which could have a transformative impact on people’s lives.