Infographic: Europeans increasingly more mobile and connected

On March 6 and 7 this year, the walls of the Palais des Congrès were fit to burst with a staggering 13,000 visitors from all corners of the industry, including software companies, data analysis or visualisation specialists, and integrators to name a few. The gathering was in aid of the Big Data congress, an annual event which brings together the entire digital ecosystem over two days. The success of the event goes to show how the industry is growing, at full speed ahead. Continue reading

The Payment Mix : an answer to the challenges posed by realtime operations

Mix payment

In the age of real-time, the customer can chose whether to pay by card, or directly with their IBAN, depending on their profile,the security offered and the cost. Looking beyond the full range of payment methods that banks have to offer, this is an opportunity for banks to provide enriched and attractive services, combining several different payment methods. Continue reading

Hackers Now Use QR Codes To Ensnare Users

Hackers Now Use QR Codes To Ensnare Users

Copyright – Les Echos – Fabien Rech

Hackers have started sending fraudulent emails using QR code technology, masquerading as a national communications provider to get client usernames and passwords.

It is a first in the history of hacking. Vade Retro, a company that specializes in mailbox protection, recently announced it had detected the first use of fraudulent emails using QR codes — two-dimensional barcodes used to store digital information that can be deciphered by a smartphone. Continue reading

Technology: an enabler for microfinance institutions

One way a microfinance institution can improve its effectiveness is to optimise Loan Officers’ work, given that they are at the heart of the institution’s activity. Furthermore, providing them with technical tools improves the institution’s geographical coverage, information collection by managers at a customer level, and even the rate at which high-risk customers repay their loan. Continue reading

The Future of Transport is Digital: Infrastructure Management

n our third and final look at the future of transport we are exploring how the use of digital technologies within infrastructure management can be used to improve overall maintenance and efficiency, ultimately lowering costs and improving user experience. Continue reading

The Future of Transport is Digital: Transport Services Production

In the second in our series looking at the challenges and benefits of the digitization of transport we are going to delve into the area of digitized transport services production and all that entails.

The Challenges and the Needs

Digitization is cutting across all layers of society. We have an expectation that virtually every action we take, now has a digital approach and transport and logistics has not escaped this. Digitizing transport services, if done well, can improve the efficiency, create better experiences for customers and ultimately increase profitability of an integrated transport infrastructure.

The transportation industry, like many others, is under pressure to improve cost efficiency.  A report by transport and logistics analysts, Oliver Wyman, found that in a ten-year study, the companies’ involved showed increased revenue, yet reduced profits.  Oliver Wyman suggesting that to improve the situation logistics and transport companies should focus on, “standardizing and streamlining structures and processes, developing industry oriented and innovative solutions, thinking and acting in terms of networks”

And digitization is also being driven by consumer needs. Consumers are pushing the boundaries using ‘collaborative consumption’ to envision new models of transport, including app initiated car sharing and personal car rental.

An Example of the Power of Digitization: Traffic Management

In a report by Deloitte Research, Digital-Age Transportation: The Future of Urban Mobility’, they spoke of American commuters spending 34 hours per year delayed in traffic. Europe can be even worse, with Paris having the worst traffic jams in Europe, unfortunate drivers loosing up to 70 hours a year, stuck in traffic. A German Automobile Club study found that the impact on a country’s economy of traffic jams and the related fuel consumed and lost time could be up to 200 billion Euros.

This situation is not good for anyone, from drivers, to the road system, to councils. The issue arises when transport planners try to rectify these issues by adding new infrastructure; without intelligent application, this can prove slow and costly.

One of the emerging ways of managing traffic is through the use of drones. The U.S. Government is currently piloting a drone-based traffic monitoring system. In Europe there has been a number of research projects looking into the use of drones for traffic management. Some examples being the Czech Republic, Spain and France. Drones offer real time data of traffic issues and allow planners to build patterns of traffic use and spot areas and times, prone to traffic problems. They give a more accurate way of measuring and predicting traffic patterns. Big data obtained in real-time, from real events, can help to build a smarter approach to traffic planning and can inform smart infrastructure improvements. This can mean changes such as encouraging flexible working and creating ‘park and ride’ areas for busy town locations. The Netherlands has used this type of approach to manage their increasing traffic and cut traffic jams by 20%.

The Importance of Trains

The use of trains as a way of managing traffic should not be overlooked. Digitization does not stop at roads. The automation of train management is crucial to the optimization of the use of trains, which ultimately impacts on the optimization of other modes of transport. Examples of how to improve train traffic have been identified by planning and prediction initiatives such as ‘Project Darwin’, which looks at how to link real time train running information, to web sites and social media platforms. This information can then be used to predict journey times and allow passengers to plan journeys.

An Example in Action: La Poste Courrier

La Poste delivered around 15 billion parcels and letters in 2012 and is France’s foremost postal service. To say they have complex logistics is an understatement. To improve productivity and increase profits, La Poste Courrier have digitized their processes across 50 applications. By digitizing their services and logistics, La Poste Courrier has been able to expand its product offering and improve their overall responsiveness by simplifying operations. One of the key areas that a business like la Poste has to engage in is customer engagement and commitment. Being able to optimize logistics and transport has ensured that delivery schedules are maintained and customers see the best service – giving La Poste the competitive edge in an increasingly competitive market space.

One of the challenges of digitizing La Poste and other similar transport and logistic organizations is supporting existing infrastructures. Drawing on the use of modern Internet programming languages like PHP and .net as well as supporting enterprise architecture languages like Java, are essential to the success of digitization of transport. In addition, understanding the needs of the various integrated departments within any given industry can only help to optimize the digitization processes.

The Future

In a Franhofer Institute study into the future of road and train transportation and logistics, they determined that three main changes needed to be put in place to effect positive and efficient improvements, these were, digitization, flexible management and use of technology. They state that, “…transportation sector, too, increasing interconnectedness and digitization offers new opportunities and solutions to tackle growing traffic flows.“

I believe we can safely say the future of transport and logistics is digital.

The Future of Transport is Digital: The Customers

In our series of three articles looking at the digitization of transport we will explore some of the most impactful areas of this new paradigm:

  1. The customer
  2. Management of services
  3. Infrastructure

This first article will look at the customer, the driving force behind the digitization of the service. Continue reading