Ticket to RideThe PayiQ Blog
What do disruptive technologies and romantic comedies have in common? In both there comes a setback after the first burst of excitement, but the low is needed to pave the way for something solid. I believe that on the smart traffic hype curve we have just passed the peak and are sliding towards a dip: some are disillusioned because the change did not arrive as promised (or as hoped) and some are making long-term investments that will bring about real change and real rewards.
When smart traffic – connecting modalities, services and data through IOT and accessing them through mobile devices – became the rage the focus was on the user interfaces, usually apps. Today everyone active in the smart traffic space understands that if the backend systems are not smart enough, they cannot deliver smart traffic.
Changing transportation isn’t about building apps. A good mobile app is of course the go-to interface of today’s digital services but when it is delivered in the physical realm, especially in a complex and capital intensive one, then much more than a digital interface is needed to bring real change. I think this is very evident in the world of transportation where both disruptive entrants and big incumbents are realizing the magnitude of the challenge.
Current transport silos and supporting information systems were not built for fluid multimodality and smooth account-based ticketing. Yet, multimodal mobile ticketing and MaaS solutions appeal to modern customers.
The past year has been one of steady development and some profound strategic insights and changes for PayiQ. The steady development are the things we were after. The ticketing business that runs on our platform doubled in 2019 as well as our turnover. But the strategic changes that we made, due to how the smart mobility space is developing and what our customers tell us, are what excite us the most. And what would a CEO’s blog at a year’s end be without a few predictions. What am I paying special attention to in the coming year?
There are at least two ways of looking at changing transportation: what’s shrinking and what’s emerging. These are always the two sides of disruption. Car manufacturers face a diminishing market as people opt not to own a car. Local bus companies that have enjoyed monopoly returns for years see their customers moving to bigger cities and closer to rail services. Traditional taxis are fighting for clients with the ride-sharing companies. At the same time, the ride-sharing companies, the eScooter services and the MaaS operators are growing, soon to be joined by autonomous taxis and maybe even passenger drones.
When we talk about Mobility as a Service (MaaS) we usually talk about MaaS operators. You can think of MaaS as a pyramid, with the modern operator represented by an app on the top, and traditional operators that offer physical transportation services at the bottom.This approach immediately offers two ways to look at and build MaaS: top down and ground up. Top down MaaS starts with an application, designed to be as beautiful and easy to use as possible, and then connects different modes of transport to it. A big part of the idea is of course that you can use the same app in as many places as possible. When this works it is convenient for the user, and the big dream is to have the world’s transportation behind one application. In practice the heterogeneity of cities and their transportation systems makes this extremely difficult.
Just when The European Union should be stepping up its efforts to keep the old continent competitive in the digital game, it introduces regulation that will probably drop the usage of some of the most important mobile applications by 50 %. The idea of Payment Service Directive 2 (PSD2) is to make the world safer for digital consumers and increase competition in the banking sector. The idea is great, the reality looks like a disaster.
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