On the go
The threat of gridlocks makes alternative mobility solutions necessary. Public transport, electric vehicle or bicycle? All of these together and preferably at the same time! In the future, the motto will be: “Use and combine instead of possessing.”
“Ich drehe schon seit Stunden hier so meine Runden, es trommeln die Motoren, es dröhnt in meinen Ohren...”, (I’ve already been driving in circles for hours, engines drum and there’s a roaring in my ears), German singer Herbert Grönemeyer despondently crooned about the traffic chaos and futile search for a parking space back in the mid-80s. In 2025, around 40 years later, the streets and rails will be even closer to collapsing. Nick Hürlimann, sales agent at a major insurance company, is barely fazed by this, despite the fact that, in three hours, he needs to get from his home in the Zurich conurbation to a presentation in a suburb of Geneva. The question as to whether he can still secure one of the highly sought after seats in the overfilled direct train or should risk kilometre-long traffic jams in his own car does not bother him. His smartphone, as his personal mobility assistant, will answer this for him. Hürlimann only needs to decide whether he wants to travel extremely fast, as comfortably as possible, cheaply or sustainably and whether he wants to work on the way. Based on these preferences, the app will put together the optimal means of transport for him: for the first stretch, it has advised the field services employee to use an electric car outside the front door, he will cover another stage with the not particularly full regional train, the next by bike and, for the final section, the app has arranged a group taxi ride for him. Hürlimann arrives on time – which is no longer a matter of course in 2025!
This type of travel, which, according to traffic experts is what awaits us in the future, is known as Smart Mobility, Managed Mobility or multi-modal travel. These terms all refer to the same thing, as Marco Reber, head of Managed Mobility at Swisscom, explains: “Both individuals and companies will no longer arrange their mobility with one mode of transport in the future, but will use a completely individual mix depending on their requirements – and will arrange this in real time.”
Reber is convinced that information and communication technologies as well as digitalisation will play a key role here: “Travellers and all means of transport, from public transport to car and bicycle sharing offers, including electric cars and rental cars, not to mention private and public rideshare and taxi services, will be smartly networked. The Internet of Things makes this possible.” This intelligent traffic infrastructure will detect congestion, accidents, traffic jams, delays, weather changes or danger zones at all times and spontaneously change the routes and modes of transport. And the latter will also not wait for users at predefined stations in the future, but will be parked everywhere and offer themselves proactively. The vehicle will thus come to the customer, and not the other way round.
“Travellers and all means of transport will be smartly networked in the future. The Internet of Things makes this possible.”
The motto of the highly flexible mobility ecosystems of the future is “use and combine instead of possessing” and this has already begun; in Switzerland, it started years ago with Mobility Car Sharing. Now further carsharing offers such as sharoo, pickup services like uber, rideshare centrals such as Tooxme and parking services like parku.ch are joining the fray – encouraged by the new technical possibilities – although some of them disappear as quickly as they are formed.
However, currently these are all stand-alone solutions. For each service, you require an individual access, a separate app, an individual payment process and tiresome individual registrations, and the user lacks a comprehensive, end-to-end experience. But soon platforms will allow unified booking, payment and invoicing. The various service providers will simply be able to dock their solution on. “Only through networking and digitalisation will mobility become a real service,” emphasises Reber.
This will pay off for companies in particular. They can, for example, store in the system whether their employees should reach the destination in a particularly sustainable manner, preferably cheaply or absolutely must be on time. “These are all potential differentiating factors in the new era of mobility,” Reber explains, and he recommends that those responsible start looking into the upcoming mobility concepts now. “Many companies are not aware of the great potential that this digitalisation will release. This is why, with Swisscom Managed Mobility, we are already supporting our customers in exploring their future mobility form. For example, with detailed actual situation analyses and optimisation of their vehicle fleets as well as with new mobility services such as intelligent parking, car sharing and the ecosystem of E-Mobility. In this process, we specify together with the customers how they can most efficiently and sustainably pave their way into the multi-mobile and digital era.”
One partial solution that Swisscom has already established is the intelligent parking space management solution CorpPark. Employees and visitors can reserve a parking space via a Web app, pay for it on the spot and also receive the required access. In the meantime, the administration retains an overview of everything. They can manage the parking spaces better and plan capacities optimally; in addition, the customer receives valuable information in the form of reports as an initial basis for further improvement of the scarce resources. In the future, companies will also use the solution – which Reber tells us is just the first intelligent and digital member of a planned, larger Enterprise product family – to share their scarce and expensive parking spaces with other companies and thus additionally reduce costs and create new customer experiences.
Another partial solution in the direction of multi-mobility, which is currently in development, is the network of charging stations for electric vehicles. For this, Swisscom is collaborating with Alpiq, Siemens and Zürich Versicherung (insurance) to develop a desperately needed Swiss-wide access and invoicing system for electric charging stations. This should be ready for operation in the second half of 2015.
“With our solutions and services, we want to ensure that we and our customers are part of the mobility ecosystem of the future,” Reber summarises.