Mobility: The ability or tendency to move from one place to another

Samuel Crump

·

Aug 19, 2021

Mobility can be interpreted in many different ways and will often depend on where you live, your upbringing and your personal experiences. We travel out of necessity to get to our place of work or go to the supermarket. We often travel where the destination is unknown and we must discover the route as we go. We may walk, cycle, swim, drive somewhere for pleasure. And for the majority of us, we often forget what a privilege it is to have unaided physical mobility. 

Whilst the above highlights how distinctive each individual's perception of mobility may be, technological advances across all scenarios have remained constant. The last decade has seen the mobility ecosystem evolve in dynamic and rapid ways. We did not arrive in the present on a linear path, therefore one thing is clear, mobility will look very different in the decade to come. 

With that comes a set of challenges and opportunities for organisations wishing to operate within the mobility sector. This article introduces some of the key trends influencing the mobility sector; the list is by no means exhaustive and will grow over time. Follow up articles will offer concise, transparent discussions that aim to help highlight specific risks and pivotal turning points. In doing so we hope to better articulate the assumptions we base our decision making on in the present day. 

Connected devices

More data, more devices & more instant responses. Consumers and businesses are demanding more from our wireless networks as we continue to connect ever more different types of devices to the internet, creating the so-called “Internet of Things” (IoT). Research by Cisco suggests that by the year 2030 there will be more than 500 billion devices connected to the internet (1)! The IoT, in combination with more powerful computing and other emergent technologies, has the potential to deliver significant benefits for people and businesses in the mobility sector. The prospect of an interactive mobility ecosystem means our public and private infrastructure can begin to interact and communicate with each other, such as cars and traffic lights. 

Robust infrastructure development and connectivity provides us the technological foundation for economic growth, where exciting future scenarios like autonomous mobility become the norm. Whilst some still think this prediction is far-fetched, we would encourage those people to reflect on how 4g unlocked the $61 billion per year ride-sharing industry. 

Electrification & alternative fueling

The last 5 years in particular have shown that electric cars can be commercially viable whilst providing a significant environmental upside. This is evidenced nicely by a few case studies. Norway for example registered 56% of new cars sales as electric this March and you only have to look at the 15x value in Tesla stock since 2016 to be certain that the future is zero-emmision motoring. Other car manufacturers are now committing to their zero-emission lineups in line with wider global emission targets. The latest Bloomberg NEF electric vehicle outlook report suggests new global EV sales are set to reach 16% by 2025, growing to 34% in 2030 and 70% by 2040 (2). The electrification of commercial vehicles has also been gaining traction. Arrival highlights the additional challenges and opportunities in the manufacturing processes as they attempt to eliminate legacy processes through smart robotic micro-factories. Developments in this space also extend to hydrogen fuel cells, plugging the gap where battery technology does satisfy the duty cycle requirements.

At Upside we are particularly interested in the impact these changes will have on wider Supply Chains and Operating Models as the shift from an oil demand economy moves towards electric. 

Multimodal transport and shared mobility

Getting from point A to point B has never felt easier thanks to the advances in multimodal transport solutions. Bicycles and scooters have been around for a lot longer than cars and it seems in cities at least, we are going full circle with the likes of Dott, Lime & Tier taking part in the most recent London trial for e-scooters. That statement is a bit tongue in cheek - in reality, other modes of transport still play an important role in our mobility ecosystem. Rather they will rightly sit alongside cars, buses, trains and much more to help create the most efficient, safe and ultimately desirable mobility ecosystems. Vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) has been gaining traction lately, how long is it until we see urban air taxis in our cities?

With so many options available, there are challenges around the data required and how it is handled in order to provide a seamless experience. Companies like CityMapper are trying to tackle this by providing an omnichannel solution to all your mobility needs, not to mention providing you with a flexible payment solution. This highlights how as multimodal transport and shared mobility evolves, companies will need to update their propositions, route to market & supporting products/services in order to remain competitive in a changing landscape.

So what is next for mobility?

There are many different developments and drivers of change that will impact the future of mobility. Everything points towards us being able to move somewhere with greater efficiency and in a more sustainable way. It is also important to view the future through different lenses; Economic, Environmental, Political, Societal and Technological. The aim of this series of articles will be to;

  • Better understand the evidence surrounding key issues;
  • Better understand divergence between prior expectations and current reality;
  • Provide a holistic view of impacts , viewed through each lense highlighted above;
  • Provide suggestions for how businesses can best meet the challenges and opportunities presented in this transformative landscape.

How will your business be influenced by the changing mobility ecosystem? If you already have an idea, we would love to hear from you. Equally if you are not sure how the transformation may impact your business we would love the opportunity to have a conversation. At the very least, make sure you are following us on LinkedIn to be kept up to date with our follow-up articles on this subject. 

1. Cisco. 2016. “Internet of Things.” https://www.cisco.com/c/dam/en/us/products/collateral/se/internet-of things/at-a-glance-c45-731471.pdf.

2. Bloomberg NEF 2021. EVO report. https://about.bnef.com/electric-vehicle-outlook/

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