The future is closer than you think
What distinguishes winners in the transportation sector today is not their technologies, but how they use their technologies to meet the needs and expectations of customers, employees and business partners. In this regard, technologies of the past—social, mobility, analytics and cloud—still play a critical role. But new technologies—artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain and augmented reality, to name a few—are gaining ground. Fast.
When these technologies are applied in innovative and combinatorial ways, we will see a fundamental shift—not only in how transportation services are managed and secured, but also in how travelers experience and navigate the world.
Four opportunities hold particular potential.
Opportunity 1: First-to-last-mile service
New technologies can unlock the potential value of Mobility-as-a-Service solutions that cover passengers’ end-to-end travel needs. AI opens up opportunities in multiple areas—from route optimization to congestion mitigation. Extended reality can help trip planners visualize alternate routes. And autonomous vehicles—built on Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, AI and augmented reality solutions—will one day soon provide economical and convenient transportation services for passengers looking to travel to and from transit hubs.
Opportunity 2: Seamless convenience
When customers use public transportation, they are more than just passengers. They are unique markets of one—individuals looking to enhance their travel experience. With advances in technology, transportation companies can make traveling more convenient and less disruptive. Digital payments, chatbot-based customer service, enhanced loyalty programs and in-transit services are now possible.
Emerging technologies are creating new opportunities for transportation organizations looking to improve their operations, business performance and customer experiences.
Opportunity 3: Passenger safety and data/network security
In transportation, the issue of security has two facets. There is the security and safety of passengers during their journey. Then there is the security of customer data, as well as the operational and network data that is the lifeblood of a transit organization’s operations. Transportation organizations must industrialize both.
For passenger safety, video analytics, computer vision, virtual reality and AI can be combined to monitor transportation environments as never before. In the area of data security, AI can be applied to detect cyberattacks, malware and suspicious user identities. Network security is more challenging and requires the security of every digital asset—and every connection between that asset and the network ecosystem.
Opportunity 4: Asset management and optimization
New technologies make it possible for transportation companies to rethink how they manage and maintain their assets and operations. AI, big data analytics, machine learning and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) can be combined to optimize transit schedules and, equally important, recalibrate schedules and routes if a disruption occurs. Extended reality solutions can optimize maintenance outcomes by allowing employees to practice repairs in virtual surroundings and even receive real-time, virtual instructions. Quantum computing, still in its infancy, will give operators even more capacity to process millions, if not billions, of sensor readings and data inputs every second.
To take advantage of these opportunities, companies must:
- Carefully choose the opportunities to target—and, just as important, the ones not to target. Start by defining the outcomes that would benefit the organization and passengers most.
- Define what it means to be post-digital—and then bypass the competition by changing the way mobility solutions and transportation operations are designed and delivered.
- Embrace new technologies that will drive the post-digital wave of innovation and breakthrough business outcomes.
Companies that set their course for the post-digital future today will be the first to arrive. They will be the first to experience and benefit from the future vision of transportation.