The Mobility Sector – Opportunities & Challenges
In today’s day and age, mobility forms the core of business success and strategic edge. Why? Because today’s world is characterized by the free flow of goods, services, capital, people, resources, ideas, information and so on. So, organizations must strive to achieve seamless mobility internally and, in the solutions, products and services they offer to their end-customers.
The rapid advent in technology has enabled and expedited the process of making the world a well-connected global village. This digital transformation is aided by the mobility sector which includes transport, logistics, communication, the internet, travel, supply chain, etc.
The mobility sector
When we talk about mobility, there is a common mistake of equating it with only transport, logistics and travel. The sector can be divided into three major sub-sectors based on the nature of mobility as follows:
- Flow of goods - This area concerns transport, logistics, the supply chain, warehousing, asset tracking, fleet management, etc.
- Flow of information - This area concerns telecom, the internet, internet optimization, etc.
- People flow - This concerns transport, travel, automotive/ automobile, telematics, vertical and ground mobility (escalators, elevators, auto walks, etc.)
Challenges in the mobility sector
1. Rapid urbanization:
One of the key challenges and opportunities facing the mobility sector is rapid urbanization, especially in developing economies such as India. As more and more people move into the urban areas due to push and pull factors, there is rampant overcrowding of cities and town and a resulting extension of the suburbia into a vast territory. As a result, we must provide mobility solutions to the ever-expanding urban population; solutions that are smart, efficient, cost-effective and scalable. However, many of the developing economies across the globe still have large-scale outmoded systems and infrastructure to meet the urban mobility needs which are inefficient, costly and unsustainable.
For instance, we could increase the number of buses and taxis that run on petrol and diesel, but these are not efficient or sustainable or scalable solutions. After all, they contribute to the increase in pollution and carbon emissions and the fuel they run on is in limited supply.
Electrification is seen as a possible solution to many of the bottlenecks in traditional systems and is also a necessary element for smart and connected mobility solutions to work. Electrical vehicles (buses, cars, trains, etc.) are touted to be the best alternatives to the traditional means of transport especially in developing countries to meet the scale, efficiency, sustainability and smart criteria. Similarly, high-speed internet is crucial for transforming countries such as ours and connect the remote parts to the latest ideas and technology. IoT and cloud computing are essential for location and tracking of mobility solutions (transport, travel, supply chain and logistic, etc.).
Without large-scale electrification, smart mobility solutions of the future do not work. In several developing economies, power production and electrification are inefficient and inadequate. And this poses a major challenge to the mobility sector’s future.
3. Lack of Scalability:
Smart and sustainable mobility solutions do exist in the market. However, there is a challenge of scalability due to reasons ranging from lack of investments and capital to a lack of resources. Collaboration is key for solutions to be scalable and beneficial for all parties concerned. For this, large-scale organizations and MNCs should incubate and accelerate potential solutions, enabling startups and innovators to hone their ideas through mentoring and scale them up with the help of their investments and resources and themselves benefit from the efficiency the mobility solutions bring about.
NASSCOM Industry Partnership Program (NIPP) Mobility Challenge, supported by 10,000 Startups is a platform to kickstart such collaboration and foster engagement between corporates and innovative technology ventures; connect emerging solutions with existing industry problems. The event will also pave the way for enterprises and start-ups to come together to explore new opportunities for ideation and collaboration.
4. Poor demand and awareness of such solutions:
The demand for and awareness about smart mobility solutions equipped with analytics, automation and machine learning that are cost-saving, efficient, intelligent and sustainable is quite low. While larger organizations are embracing such technology and solutions with open arms, the same cannot be said about the small and medium enterprises. And it sets off a vicious circle where more sales will help reduce the price of such solutions and save costs for small and medium enterprises, but poor sales are keeping the prices high. For instance, cybersecurity is critical for small and medium enterprises, which are targeted more often for breaches, but they do not look at such solutions as an essential investment and often go without them.
The improved bandwidth and internet speeds are revolutionizing the world, facilitating the free flow of ideas, information and services, enabling better tracking of goods, transport and so on. The challenge, however, in such a connected world where data is the new oil is the increased risk of cybersecurity and data breaches for individuals and enterprises alike. Cybercriminals too are leveraging the improved technology solutions to orchestrate breaches and gain access to confidential information. Therefore, there is a pressing need to have more scalable, comprehensive, cloud-based security solutions.
What to expect in the near future? Opportunities in the mobility sector
We believe the following are the opportunities in the mobility sector that need solutions. Some of these areas are already seeing an inflow of solutions while others need scalable and efficient solutions.
- As mentioned earlier, rapid urbanization is a challenge and an opportunity for players in the mobility sector in heavily populated and developing economies such as our.
- IoT, cloud computing, digital transformation, automation and smart factories are indispensable aspects of the business models in the coming future. So, businesses need to prepare themselves and adopt solutions now to gain a strategic competitive edge in the market.
- Solutions in fraud detection and mitigation in telecom, improved cybersecurity, network optimization solutions, 5G enabling solutions and so on are the need of the hour for enterprises and individuals alike to enable the free, fast and secure flow of information and leverage its many benefits.
- Climate change and the need for sustainable development too have opened up a wide array of opportunities in the mobility sector. For instance, a recent study by NITI Aayog and the Rocky Mountain Institute pointed out that India by 2030 can save up to 64% of anticipated energy needs for road-based passenger transport and reduce 37% of the carbon emissions by developing a shared, connected, electric-powered mobility system for road transport. By converting the auto rickshaws and two-wheelers in India, we can reduce the carbon emissions in the country by several million tonnes!
With initiatives like the NIPP Mobility Challenge, we believe India will have the best solutions in each of these areas and fast-track economic development.