CoSMoS – Conference on Smart Mobility Services

This year, the third edition of CoSMoS took place at the Technical University of Ingolstadt (THI) in Germany, with about 170 participants in attendance. As the name of the conference suggests, the presentations revolved around smart mobility. It was not only the latest trends from a business perspective that were on display, but also the current state of research into this complex topic.

One interesting finding is that autonomous driving — be it by car, bus, or train — is now seen by most companies and research institutions as just one element of the mobility-as-a-service concept. Autonomous vehicles need to be networked with each other, but also with their environment (other vehicles, transport infrastructure etc.).

A key element of smart mobility services is data and the question of how it can be used meaningfully to offer smart mobility services with added value. At the same time, the question of how to monetize data still seems to be open in many application areas and business cases. The project "So bewegt sich Deutschland" ("How Germany Moves") from Telefónica Next GmbH demonstrates the comprehensive information that can be gained from analyzing mobile data: by analyzing and extrapolating their customers' mobile data using the Data Anonymization Platform (DAP), Telefónica can, for example, deduce peak hours during morning commuter traffic to help cities with traffic planning.

Ryanair's project in collaboration with Comtrade shows what the operators of mobility solutions for vehicle traffic can learn from airlines. Although the company on average has the cheapest ticket prices of all European airlines, it makes more profit per ticket. One reason for this is that Ryanair charges third-party providers for access to its customers and their data. In turn, the third-party providers can sell their services to Ryanair customers. Ryanair's aim is even to make tickets available to customers for free in the future. The ticket price would then be funded by the third-party service providers as well as the data that the customers provide in return. This model could also be of interest to car-sharing providers such as DriveNow, for example.

When it comes to mobility concepts, the platform concept is increasingly coming to the fore, i.e. the bundling and intelligent networking of different mobility services with each other. In this context, the name Whim — a Finnish company offering a MaaS platform of this type for the city of Helsinki — repeatedly came up at the conference. Users can pay for this service on a per trip or monthly basis (specific number of trips, depending on the model). The special thing about this is that the user can use any means of transportation, such as car sharing, buses, or taxis. The Austrian company Upstream (owned by the city of Vienna) has also been relying on a concept similar to Whim for some time.

The presentations at CoSMoS have shown that many companies, as well as cities, municipalities, and research institutions, are currently dealing intensively with the subject of smart mobility services and that there are already some very promising initial solutions. Nevertheless, there are still many open questions to answer and challenges to overcome before smart mobility services become mainstream. This is also shown by our current PAC trend study on transport.