We hope you enjoyed this Webinar. For those of you wishing to discuss your own challenges and opportunities, or if you need to dive more deeply into Star’s mobility services, we are pleased to offer participants and their supporters a 1:1 introduction with George Bell, Executive Director – UK & Ireland. George will explore your ambitions and share how Star can support you.
Question: The future you showed highlighted some things that might happen and some that might not. How should organisations seek to find the right solutions within all the haze and how do you convince an organisation to back them?
[Sam Hunt @Star] Answer: There are multiple opportunities for mobility innovators. To give your innovation the best chance of being a hit and not a miss, it’s important to focus on underlying themes rather than getting excited about specifics and use cases that are too narrow. For example, consider vehicles as communication portals, rather than getting enthralled about how the windows can display the news.
From this point, test the concept early with consumers and understand the commercial and technical feasibility. Focus on maximising learning while minimising spend by applying rapid user research and prototyping techniques. Use learnings from these experiments to refine your ideas and build the evidence required to convince your organisation.
Question: In the absence of standards or regulations, some mobility organisations have done very well off the back of the ‘move fast and break things’ mentality (Uber, bike sharing, etc). Balancing that mindset with the need for ubiquitous security in a fully connected world – who will be the winners and the losers in mobility; those who skirt the rules or those who wait?
[Ged Lancaster @Y-Mobility] Answer: Great question! The “move fast and break things” mentality is in my view a critical part of building momentum. Companies that do that can undoubtedly sometimes win big commercially, but…99.9% of the time these companies function in closed economies. and rarely cause change at this scale. If what you/society needs and wants is system interoperability and flexibility (like allowing autonomy on roads for example) then someone (government, conglomerate ) needs to push for that to happen. At Y-Mobility, we are preparing a VLOG episode about this issue, the gist of it is that when closed societies that level consumer standards emerged (Mobile phones, Computers, IT, etc.), the market place was new and emergent (as a volume opportunity). The potential volume was huge, but to create the appeal/pull you had to have compatibility.
The challenge for the automotive industry is that is not the case currently. The market and its principals have been established for a hundred years and the appeal/pull factors that drive the day to day economics of automakers are not strong enough. They have looked and found it is too hard and too expensive to make a self-contained autonomous car that people can afford, others are trying to commercialize fleet-based services like Uber and Waymo to offset the enormous cost of these vehicles relative to normal cars. so until large nation-states like the United States, China, or a social organisation like the EU, set some conformance standards, it is unlikely to become ubiquitous.
So if ubiquity is the objective to help society organize for and drive standards for commercial success, “move fast and break things” can be very rewarding!
Question: You talked about focusing on incremental innovation that are near to core solutions and services, rather than total white space thinking. How can organisations do this well when they have a core business to maintain?
[Sam Hunt @Star] Answer: The great thing about having an existing core business is that you are already interacting with customers everyday. Use these interactions to understand what is working for them and highlight their unmet needs. These needs can then be fed into an innovation process and realised via a wide range of delivery methods such as new product development, partnerships, and startup investments.
Question: You mentioned that data will be key to personalising experience. Privacy is always a challenge for individual users. Determining how much to share and what a good return should be is a tough balance to strike, so how do you handle these issues at CityMaas?
[Rene Perkins @CityMaas] Answer: There is always a balance between privacy and value adding services as far as personalisation is concerned. Setting up all the internal infrastructure and procedures to protect personal data and comply with GDPR is a prerequisite. At CityMaaS, we handle synonymised personal data locally in the handset when we can. These datasets only communicate with our server if our ML engine detects an anomaly , where CODIE can add value to help enable and improve user digital experience. We can preserve privacy if products and services are designed to do so.
Question: You advised us to ‘act like a software company’ when approaching innovation in this space. What are the capabilities, skills or even mentality required to do that well?
[Sam Hunt @Star] Answer: The best software companies effectively combine many seamlessly integrated disciplines.
Three of the most important areas are:
- Product thinking: a focus on discovering and meeting the needs of users
- Agile delivery: a flexible and responsive software delivery methodology
- Continuous improvement: an embedded culture of disciplined improvement
Question: There has been a lot of politicisation of 5G in the past few months over specific providers like Huawei, and more recently with damage done to towers. Is this the beginning of a systemic mistrust of connectivity or just exceptions that should be ignored?
[Ged Lancaster @Y-Mobility] Answer: I don’t think that there is a mistrust of connectivity. The desire and need for connectivity continue to grow aggressively. Equally, I don’t think this should be ignored (the tower burning is a bit weird because they also burnt non 5G towers!). But I do think there are lessons to be learned in system engineering and complexity management. Knowing what is being bought, how it works and what it does are very important things to control. Outsourcing that knowledge and skill, be it at government or corporate level is a risk.
Question: We have recently seen other players like AirBnB moving into the disability space and acquiring services to augment existing solutions. What are the analogs that shape how you think disability services should, or should not be represented as part of wider service offerings?
[Rene Perkins @CityMaas] Answer: Given that 14 mil in the UK and 1 bn in the world are disabled and a rapidly aging population, the consideration of servicing and being inclusive of people with disabilities is not only the right thing to do, but also a solid business case across different verticals. Accessibility from digital infrastructure and physical products and services should be an upfront consideration as part of an inclusive design framework. Although some verticals such as government services may have more prominent requirements than others.