mantro venture studio edition one: Urban Technology

Smart Cities and IoT Services improving Life Quality and Urban Mobility

Manfred Tropper
, in
March 14, 2022
— Read time
3 min

Modern cities face many challenges:

  • Climate crisis
  • Global pandemics
  • Increasing demand for online shopping and delivery services
  • Growing digitalization of all parts of life

Both (private) individuals and public and private organizations prioritize climate and pollution in their daily decision-making. The increasing pressure to meet net-zero targets collides with the high expectations of a rich, convenient and secure city life.

One part of city life heavily influenced by these trends is mobility. A recent study from Ericsson Consumer Lab shows that 40 percent of people living in cities think they will change their way of commuting. But at the same time, the study shows that expectations often oppose each other. For example, while 23% of city commuters expect to walk – or take the bike – more in the future, 13% expect to do it less. Public transport and private car use find themselves in a similar situation.

In times of high uncertainty, where city people rethink how they commute, times of great opportunity arise. City administrators have the chance to embrace new urban mobility concepts.

A new systematic approach to mobility

Considering some relevant cornerstones: electrification, digitalization, shared mobility, micro-mobility, and new urban mobility concepts will need to take a more systematic approach and embrace many different ways of transport ranging from public to private. Digitalization enables a broad spectrum of use cases ranging from a seamless travel experience across public and private commute, managing transportation of assets, and ensuring transport safety.

One of those concepts is the 15-minute city. It is based on the idea that people can access their essential living needs within roughly a quarter of an hour by walking, biking, taking public transport, or using a shared micro-mobility service such as e-bikes or e-scooters. Although very convenient, these services have challenges, ranging from careless parking or vandalism to how to help both riders and pedestrians keep safe.

As shared micro-mobility is still a very young industry, many lessons are to be learned. The critical success factor in disruptive industries is agility and speed. Those often require IoT and data-driven operations that help providers understand and respond quickly to micro-mobility services.

A new ecosystem with IoT

More and more sensors installed on e-scooters enable operational use cases such as location tracking and monitoring. By leveraging aggregated and correlated data generated by e-scooters and other sources, city administrations will better understand how people move about and when. It’s all about co-value creation, which requires digital platforms and API-based data sharing.

With e-scooters being connected and ready to use multiple sensors, we can think about using those “rolling data sources.” For example, air quality and noise sensors can collect real-time environmental data giving city administrations insights into actual ecological conditions in their cities.

Discussing a bright new IoT world is always fun, and the potential future is always great. A crucial component is a well-managed cellular IoT connectivity to use those new data sources on the roads cost-effectively and highly scalable.

This holistic view on mobility within an urban area opens up opportunities to establish new business models and services.