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Predicting the future of transport

The company sounds a note of caution that any technology implemented needs to be sufficiently open and agile to accommodate new solutions in the future

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The transport supply chain is undergoing continual evolution, says Fujitsu
The transport supply chain is undergoing continual evolution, says Fujitsu

Fujitsu is calling on the entire UK transport sector to come together to determine how digital can be best leveraged in the country’s favour as it reveals the key trends that will impact the British sector throughout 2019.

 

“Like most professional sectors, the UK transport industry and its vast supply chain is undergoing continual technological evolution,” said Chris Patton, EMEIA transport team, Fujitsu.”

 

“In 2019, we find ourselves at a pivotal point at which some of the much-publicised technologies – such as artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) and machine learning (ML) – are increasingly being explored as potential solutions for scaling across major transport organisations.”

 

Below, Fujitsu explores the key technological advances it expects to characterise transport throughout this year:

 

Private-public collaboration

 

Optimising citizen mobility – through creating an integrated public transport network that is efficient, affordable and reliable – will become increasingly commonplace and popular, which means there is a clear opportunity for those in the transport sector to lead from the front.

 

But in order to create a seamless customer experience, which spans multiple public transport providers, greater collaboration is needed among these organisations.

It is incumbent upon technology partners to help transport operators understand exactly how AI, IoT, ML or blockchain can optimise their services

As providers increasingly begin to open up their data, so that services are aligned with their competitors and other modes of transport, end-users will start enjoying smarter journey features. For instance, connecting buses updated in real-time, preferences like window/isle seat and other personal data saved and automatically logged throughout all their journeys.

 

This is a bold step for transport providers. That’s why smaller local use cases are needed to generate the momentum of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS) in the public transport sector, before national scale overhauls can be made. Local authorities are starting to wake up to the potential of intelligent mobility services, which is encouraging to see.

 

Blockchain in transport

 

Blockchain is certainly one of the most exciting technologies which holds great operational and commercial potential for the public transport sector. It may have the ability to completely transform how information is stored and transferred across global networks, in a way that can be more secure and streamlined than ever before.

 

The key word there, though, is potential. While it is undeniable blockchain will make an impact, it is not yet infallible and can fall prey to cyber-attacks.

“Like most professional sectors, the UK transport industry and its vast supply chain is undergoing continual technological evolution”

So, for the time being, smaller use cases are required to prove the efficacy of the technology. In this sense, rather than 2019 being crowned ‘the year of blockchain’, more small projects will be activated within the industry, so that technology partners can demonstrate to stakeholders the benefits. This will then lead to further pickup and a natural evolution of blockchain growing in more and more use cases throughout major transport organisations.

 

Heightened security

 

Security is especially important when considering that the assets that transport providers own are increasingly becoming ‘connected’. From trains to buses to signal boxes and switches, it’s crucial to remember that if they are ‘connected’ they can be compromised.

 

What’s more, consumers are providing more data than ever before. For the public transport sector, this represents potential to create efficiencies based on what consumers are telling operators from their everyday use of services. The other side of this data relationship is that transport providers become targets for cyber-attacks, which can destroy reputations and customer trust.

In this sense, rather than 2019 being crowned ‘the year of blockchain’, more small projects will be activated within the industry

Throughout 2019, there will undoubtedly be more significant attacks on national organisations, across sectors, which will mean customer data falling into the wrong hands. Data breaches aren’t just a concern for customers, either. With workforces increasingly going mobile, their information is at risk from malicious activity too. It will forever be the task of security partners to safeguard transport operators from attacks, as hacking professionals and their adversaries become more advanced in achieving their respective goals.

 

The rise of autonomous vehicles within the MaaS ecosystem will step up the volume of data exchanges beyond anything near what takes place today. Autonomous vehicle ride-sharing as an addition to public transport may sound like an ideal solution to overcrowding on existing services, but the dangers involved with data hacking mean vehicles and services must be as close to impenetrable as possible before they are made widely available to consumers.

 

Trusted technological counsel

 

With many new technologies entering the picture that offer huge scope for change, transport industry stakeholders can naturally feel confused by which innovations will drive long-term benefits. This is where trusted technology partners offering expert advice – not only on which technologies can be beneficial to individual providers, but how to maximise their potential across the whole business – will be increasingly relied upon in the years ahead.

The rise of autonomous vehicles within the MaaS ecosystem will step up the volume of data exchanges beyond anything near what takes place today

It is incumbent upon technology partners to help transport operators understand exactly how AI, IoT, ML or blockchain can optimise their services, now and in the future. How they use these technologies to improve services for their customers, as well as how to incubate a future-focused culture internally, is really where those partners can add their value to public transport.

 

Throughout 2019 and beyond, a major challenge for technology partners in the transport sector will be how to help operators differentiate their offerings. A key part of this will be demonstrating how certain solutions can help operators drive better operational efficiency – whether that’s improving the passenger experience by joining up ticketing to create seamless door-to-door journeys or more reliable services through predictive maintenance.

 

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