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The Hows and Whys of the Digital Frontier becoming the Leading Driver of Smart Mobility

31 March 2020

An intelligent way of getting around town, made possible by digital services and technologies

Managing one’s digital identity is a key component for smart-mobility success. For decades, cities have been built to facilitate movement and streamline traffic patterns. Smart Cities, on the other hand, are more focused on the needs of the individual.

In cities throughout the world, traffic is severely hampering mobility. The costs are enormous, not just for commuters, but for society as a whole. According to the Texas Transportation Institute, the average U.S. commuter spent 14 hours in traffic jams in 1982, 34 hours in 2010, and is quite likely to spend more than 40 hours stuck in traffic by the end of 2020.

As if these main challenges facing the industry as a whole, and companies in particular, weren’t enough, the new infrastructure intended to alleviate traffic congestion is notoriously slow and expensive: the environmental-impact studies to be completed, land and permits to be acquired, people to move, not to mention construction times overall. Fortunately, there are innovative ways to make a more efficient use of existing infrastructure. The Digital Frontier is one of these ways.

There is not a single aspect of travel that is not being transformed by IT: trip planning, choosing amongst different transport options for a certain trip, real-time identification of the best route when one is behind the wheel, onboard, or on foot, not to mention reductions in traffic thanks to improvements like smartworking.

We are in the middle of an incredible revolution in the mobility market, and new business models that are being developed show us how individuals, data and objects can move in a cleaner, safer, cheaper, more efficient and convenient way. These are the main values around which the “Techstars Smart Mobility Accelerator” program at OGR Tech in Turin has been developed; Intesa (IBM Group) is also part of it with an active role in the guidance and mentorship program for the startups involved.

The automotive industry is one of those mainly affected by this revolution. Several studies have showed that cars will evolve similarly as phones have evolved into smartphones; cars will become interconnected vehicles within the next few years. They will access, consume, create and share information with drivers, passengers, other vehicles and public infrastructures, accordingly to the Internet of Everything philosophy.

Anyway, we haven’t yet realized how to use these innovations to make commuting more pleasant or convenient. The challenge is to learn how to use innovative methods to make more efficient the existing transport system.

Smart Mobility Success Factors: Data Integration, IOT and Federated Digital Identity

Whilst the industry is charging full-steam ahead towards electric and self-driving vehicles, connected cars are slated to become a global standard in the near future. They will be part of a complex IOT ecosystem in which various applications and services co-exist. Security and privacy are amongst the most immediate challenges for automobile manufacturers. In that arena, digital identity will play an increasingly important role because it allows for the development of customer-centred mobility.

Large-scale delivery of smart vehicles and cars, predictive machines that can identify users, intuit their desired destination and the best way to reach it, are all very much on the horizon. These will also endeavour to provide a pleasant ride, adjusting parameters like music volumes and heating / air conditioning levels.

All the same, the data required to reach that level of interaction run along different channels. Many of these are installed onboard, whilst a number of others come from external “oracle” sources. Some of these data are persistent, others change in real time. Additionally, each individual has their own unique profile, their own network of relationships, and their preset socio-economic position, preferences and various characteristics serving to identify them. In short: their own identity.

A digital identity is much more than a simple method to authenticate oneself and to set preferences: it is a fundamental tool to enable Smart Mobility and to access the macro-ecosystem for Smart Cities. Service providers offering car-related digital experiences, through the use of key information and federated digital identities, can become a mechanism through which to build mobility services where safety, trust and system-interoperability are paramount, and in which a series of shared elements and practice become the industry standard:

  • scalable infrastructure
  • trust amongst the parties
  • certified instruments
  • common goals

Integrated into a vehicle starting at the design stage, federated digital identity allows for uninterrupted, secure interactions between users and vehicles, and even amongst different systems.

Intesa’s Digital Identity platform enables secure interactions amongst users, devices and things that allow for complex designs relating to Smart Mobility. It also allows for the optimisation of system integration, whilst ensuring compliance with the most stringent of privacy and user-consent regulations.

For more information, please contact our team.

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