Four ways IoT can enhance the development of MaaS

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) builds upon the ability to bring together multiple modes of transport so that users can find the best method to reach their destination quickly and easily, customized according to their needs.

The implementation of Internet of Things (IoT) in the development of MaaS will enhance the customer experience, providing users real-time information such as traffic, route alternatives, estimated time of arrival. This enables users to make informed decisions driven by data which helps users to plan their overall journey, be alerted to transport problems, and so on.

In this article, we will look at how the convergence of IoT and MaaS can help enhance the productivity, efficiency, and user experience of the transportation industry.

Connected Mobility

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One of the main compelling features of MaaS is its ability to provide real-time data by connecting service providers, vehicles, and infrastructures to enable an efficient and productive connected mobility experience.

As data capturing devices such as sensors and cameras potentially becoming a standard in vehicles, and connected devices (such as smartphones and smart watches) becoming a norm, meaningful data are now becoming even more accessible than before, providing users an ease of mind in decision making and MaaS service providers an avenue to continuously improve their offerings, all backed up by data.

This means quick updates on scheduled arrival and departure times, and when these data are wirelessly transmitted to smartphones through IoT, users and service providers will have the ability to track vehicle progress.

An example of a recent development in Malaysia involves the partnership between Prasarana and Google, where it enables Rapid Bus commuters to check the real-time location of Rapid KL buses in Klang Valley on Google Maps. This also includes the LRT services, Go KL feeder buses and the Smart Selangor buses.

Single, Integrated Platform

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MaaS also aims to increase the convenience of public transportation by integrating its services into a single platform, usually in the form of an application which can be downloaded to your smartphone.

Apart from transport-only services, these applications allow service providers to integrate other solutions which leverages on mobility such as food delivery, logistics, and even home services such as cleaning, plumbing, and inspections, making the whole user experience a convenient one.

To make it even more convenient, the applications also allow transactions to be made directly using online transfers or customers can also opt to make purchases through e-wallet.

Enhanced Business Management

IoT creates a multitude of opportunities for improving the efficiency, productivity, and customer experience of transport-based businesses. For example, in fleet management, business owners can utilise Global Positioning System (GPS) technology for better coordination and tracking of their fleets.

Other than positioning tracking, GPS technology, with the integration of IoT technologies, also enables data collection on vehicle locations and operations in real time, enabling these companies to expand their operations, handle and manage larger volumes of fleet but with extra ease thanks to Big Data Analytics, cloud-based technologies, and system integration, all of which are now accessible thanks to IoT.

In turn, customers’ experience is heightened – enabling them to receive real-time updates on their parcel, including accurate arrival times and location tracking.

New Business Models

New technologies also mean new types of businesses. Common examples in Malaysia include Grab, Foodpanda, and SOCAR. These companies directly leverage on the opportunities presented through MaaS and IoT to provide a seamless integration of services for the benefit of customers through a single app.

Apart from the common examples, we can see other new businesses emerging such as JomParking which provides users a convenient way of paying for parking, SERV which provides customers various vehicle maintenance solutions all in a single app, and POMEN App, an application that matches users to vehicle workshops near them.

Even OEMs, such as Renault, have joined the bandwagon by introducing subscription-based purchases, making it even easier to “own” a car. This model works similarly as a leasing service – just pay a predetermined monthly sum and the car is yours for the taking.

While both IoT and MaaS are still in their infancy, other developments surrounding it are forming the foundation for a centralised, integrated mobility service. Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), Next-Generation Vehicles (NxGVs), and Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) communication modules amongst various other enablers that are all being extensively developed and tested.

They may stand out as separate elements now, but once they are integrated into a seamless, cloud-based network utilising Internet of Things (IoT), Big Data Analytics (BDA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), the need to own a personal vehicle may not be as apparent as it seems to be today.

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