My IRU World Congress keynote in Oman is coming up next week on Nov. 6
Here is what I can share for now:
These last few years have been quite hectic for many markets such as real estate or retail, where new entrants such as AirBnB or « older » new entrants such as Amazon brought in a lot of creative destruction. That being said, the mobility, transportation and logistics markets are still more or less in « business as usual » mode. Of course the potential drama of autonomous vehicle technology and artificial intelligence is present in the media, but not so much in real life yet.Nonetheless, if we discuss the impact of the new business models on transports we saw rising for the past ten years, it would be foolish not to start with energy.
Fossil fuels and/or renewable energy will still be center-stage for the foreseeable future. They represent the most prominent geopolitical focus point of the largest nations. They decide of the global cost structure of any form of transportation, and are at this point pivotal bets on the market’s future. Tesla and more recently micro-mobility have been hot topics and potential game-changers. And while we are still waiting to see large scale evolutions in the transportation energy mix, most of Western countries start to realize that China will be one of the foremost proponents of clean energy. This might be surprising for people who haven’t realized the amount of pressure exerted by Chinese citizens on their government, but today the largest electric vehicle companies are indeed Chinese.
A second turn-point in transportation business models is indisputably data. Data is the new fuel of many business models and we have to cope every day with how central Google map has become for people moving in cities, or supply chain management. The imminent arrival of vehicle to vehicle communications with 5G infrastructure and connected fleet, are shaping a short-term future where the car or the truck has become a data packet on information highways. The question of who is going to own and manage the operating system of these fluxes is still to be determined.
But we also can see a future where the new mobility and transportation business models will not be decided as some extended operation from Amazon, Google, Baidu or Alibaba. If we don’t focus myopically on the vehicles, we can assess strong trends in the way some major cities are dealing with new ways of working which don’t involve daily commuting; new consumption behaviors that don’t expect door to door delivery; and further disruption of the current disrupters in the market.
The turn-point question in this fast-moving reality is not « what are the tech companies going to do next? » but « will cities, regions and nations start to regain ownership of how their transportation ecosystems are operated? »