From Pilot Project to Practical Reality
Hyped but hard to find: Connected mobility remains quite rare in many aspects of our lives. But many applications, such as remote maintenance and smart parking, are just a tiny step away from testing to everyday reality.
Visitors to this year’s CeBIT technology trade fair in Hannover can experience the future of mobility up close: Two self-driving shuttles from a test project by the Swiss post office will travel between the West entrance and Hall 12. But why call it “the future” when the media has been reporting on connected cars for years? And what about Europe’s automated emergency eCall system? Or all the research into autonomous cars and electro-mobility done by the automobile industry and even big Internet firms? Why do we have to still go to Hannover to experience these well-known visions of the future?
German transport and logistics firms should be in a good position when it comes to digitization – with a strong automotive industry, innovative tech companies and a progressive legislative framework. But according to the German Economy Ministry, they are only in the middle of the digital pack in global comparison.
Nothing risked, nothing gained
The reason? A clear lack of corporate courage! For example, Germany’s first smart parking pilot projects took place some five years ago. But still today there’s no widespread solution for both finding and paying for a parking spot in Europe’s largest economy. And that’s by far not the only connected mobility application that’s ripe to leave the test phase behind.
Carsharing is one of the best examples how to deploy mobility services successfully. After smartphones enabled location-independent applications – so-called free-floating services – providers like Daimler’s car2go and BMW’s DriveNow quickly turned their pilots into globe-spanning services. This caused the number of carsharing users in Germany to surge by a factor of five from 2012 to 2016, according to the BCS carsharing industry group.
Industry, ICT companies and government agencies should all take that example to heart. There are already some promising initiatives in the works: Hamburg, for example, is working with T-Systems to install a smart parking solution step by step across the German port city. And that’s how the mobility of the future will become the mobility of today.
Senior Vice President, Connected Mobility, T-Systems