As disruptive change accelerates, the challenge is to keep up

  • 2017-09-11 10:42
  • Richard Butter

Being on a boat on the Bosporus in Istanbul gives you a different perspective on life. I remember thinking it was one of the most beautiful settings I could imagine, as I watched the sun going down behind the beautiful mosques on the riverside and enjoyed a party with our customers. It was the social highlight of our most recent Intertraffic event in Istanbul last May. It felt like going back to basics – working hard, but also playing hard. The boat party and the wider event enabled us to connect with our customers, our customers with each other, and visitors with our customers. So many new developments are taking place – in disruptive technologies like connectivity, electrification and Mobility as a Service –that it almost felt like we were inventing our business all over again, meeting each other and finding out more about what is being achieved in the transportation sector. And this in a difficult period for Turkey and the international community. We’re blessed to be working in such a progressive industry.

Being on the boat also gave me the opportunity to have a chat with this magazine’s deputy editor, Rachelle Harry, who asked me to fill the gap that previous columnist Neil Hoose left behind. And I’m honored. I’m not a traffic engineer like many of the readers of this magazine, but I’m very proud to give you my view on the industry as the ‘captain’ of Intertraffic.

I have already explored some of the key challenges facing us in my regular blogs, published over the past year on TrafficTechnologyToday.com. These contain themes that I am certain to return to in the coming months in this column.

In my first blog I wrote about the experience of cycling through my home city of Amsterdam. Beautiful, I must say, but it makes you wonder if autonomous vehicles will ever be able to handle chaotic cycling behavior.

I’ve also mused recently about how the pace of development in autonomous vehicles is accelerating. What does this mean for our traffic technology industry? We are now entering an era when vehicle OEMs, IT, telecoms, big data and Tier 1 suppliers such as Delphi or Continental, all meet each other in the car. We’re getting more and more consumer orientated and as a result, new business models will appear. I hope to be able to alert you to these in their formative stages in the coming months. Another topic that is often discussed at Intertraffic events and across the industry is that of smart cities. I remember that following my visit to the ITS America conference in San Jose, California last year, I wondered if having free wi-fi on public transport was enough to qualify a city as ‘smart’? And if not, what the definition of a smart city really is? It’s a definition that’s still up for grabs. Perhaps we’ll get closer soon.

At Intertraffic, connecting today’s mobility to the future of mobility is our mission. On a smaller scale that will also be the mission of this column. For most of the year I may be based in Amsterdam, but I hope to be able to give a global perspective on the changes to the way we do business and the challenges that lie ahead.

Source: Traffic Technology Today

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