Smart mobility in APAC: IoT making enhanced transportation a reality

Efficient urban mobility is critical to keep cities functioning. Today, the proliferation of connected sensors, smartphones and intelligent networks is helping drive us towards ever-smarter mobility. Internet of Things (IoT) and cloud are enabling that shift.

In Asia Pacific, we’re seeing a lot of customers looking at end-to-end smart mobility initiatives incorporating IoT. We’re finding lots of organizations asking about digital technology and how they can build a smart mobility solution that is integrated and operates from a central hub in the cloud.

According to research by Allied Market Research, the global smart mobility market generated $34 billion in 2019 and will be valued at over $70 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 20%. If governments and the private sector work collaboratively, I expect to see a big future for smart mobility in APAC.

There is a pressing need for smart mobility. Throughout the region, APAC is seeing rapid growth in major city populations, and for a long time, there has been unsustainable demand on roads and public transport infrastructure. Inadequate transport services make life a less pleasant experience for residents and visitors, and substandard transport also impacts traveler safety and the environment.

Therefore, it is vital to not only have a cost-effective mobility solution to implement, but that solution must also be adaptable to the unique requirements of every site. Furthermore, it should also deliver value through collection, aggregation, interpretation and dissemination of data into actionable insights – to the right person, at the right time and in the right way.

What should APAC be looking to do?

Smart mobility has the potential to improve all these aspects of daily life throughout APAC. Digital solutions like IoT, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics can make roads and public transport safer by reducing the number of accidents. Digital can make mobility more efficient by reducing journey times and disruptions, extending budgets. The overall passenger experience can be improved using data analytics to provide more personalized journeys. Sustainability can be enhanced through reduced road congestion and lower emissions and pollution levels.

Orange has worked on projects with local government agencies to enable new insights that help drive a value step change in delivery of critical infrastructure projects. One project was a connected site using Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and open-source data to enable organizations to collect intelligent insight data, like machine location, utilization, weather and so on. This enabled better decision making and planning to improve efficiency and productivity of infrastructure projects over the short and medium term. This then delivers ROI by giving instant intelligent insights via IoT, Big Data and AI, as well as establishing and leaving a legacy of smarter, connected infrastructure for authorities.

Cloud as a centerpiece for smart mobility

Cloud is the enabler for these digital tools. All the data generated by connected cars and connected public transport has to be stored somewhere, in a naturalized format, and be easily accessible. That data can then be exploited to enhance smart mobility projects.

Combining data gathering from IoT connectivity with AI and data analytics in the cloud can give you predictability, which can exponentially enhance smart mobility. The ability to predict traffic patterns around a city or identify accident hotspots and take preventative measures can be hugely valuable.

A couple of years ago, Orange worked with a major APAC public transport operator to deliver a predictive maintenance solution. The organization was able to achieve major savings by knowing in advance when vehicle brakes might need changing or other maintenance would need to be carried out. It enhanced the service for citizens.

This type of predictability is only going to grow and grow in smart mobility. Orange recently partnered with KDDI, a Japanese telecommunications provider, to deliver a customized IoT platform for Toyota and Mazda. The platform enables connected car capabilities in Toyota and Mazda vehicles sold in Europe, which leverages the Orange network and cellular connectivity. With all these vehicles connected using IoT, one of the outcomes will be a form of predictive analysis that makes the cars more efficient and safer.

It’s all about connecting everything together

From a personal perspective, smart mobility just works. It’s incredibly convenient and is a tangible, real-world digital use case that everybody can see and experience. As a simple example, my daughter recently traveled to school by bus: she took out her phone and showed me how to get to school via bus. The buses, mobile devices, latest information and maps were all linked up so she was able to show me where to get on the bus, where it stopped, and where to get off.

This is an example of government and private companies working in perfect harmony to make life better for people using smart, digital solutions. It’s also testament to the API developer community: smart mobility is leveraging all kinds of apps from the developers who are continually coming up with new, innovative ideas to help people get around more safely and conveniently.

Orange also believes that technology alone cannot solve big challenges in various projects. With that in mind, we offer a framework for digital transformation, which creates a value-driven collaborative relationship between technology experts, industry experts and operational workers, supported by three elements:

  • A technology platform
  • A co-creative innovation process
  • A collaboration, engagement and innovation space

Innovation is a team effort. By working closely with our customers, partners and governments, we believe this digital transformation model delivers the improvements that smart mobility needs.

What might be coming?

IDC has reported that APAC smart-city spending will reach $45.3 billion by the end of 2021, though this was a pre-COVID-19 forecast. Much of this investment will be spent on smart mobility initiatives like intelligent traffic transit and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) connectivity. In the near future, I expect to see smart mobility evolve into fully-integrated, intelligent systems that operate across smart cities and beyond. Connected vehicles will use IoT to interact with other infrastructure and systems, like smart roads, smart buildings and smart traffic-management platforms.

There is, however, a caveat with all of this: using data to enhance mobility systems carries the same data privacy concerns as AI, for example. There is a need to balance the privacy of individual citizens with public interest. Governments and private companies will need to work together to establish ethical ways to gather, store, process and use passenger and vehicle data in line with privacy laws. We want people to benefit from smart-mobility initiatives in APAC, and we need them to trust its providers. If we achieve that, people can look forward to high-quality smart mobility throughout the region in the future.

For more on this subject, learn how Orange supports the digital transformation of cities and territories, and read all about our innovative mobility services.

Tuan Le
Tuan Le
Tuan Le is Managing Director for ASEAN, Japan and Korea at Orange Business Services. He covers a range of leadership roles across Asia Pacific and ensures seamless support for customers. As head of sales and operations for ASEAN, Japan and Korea, Tuan uses a model of supportive and participatory leadership to promote the concepts of team building and empowerment in the region. In his spare time, Tuan likes to stay active and enjoys cycling, jogging and keeping fit.