Richard Butter column – Looking back at Intertraffic Amsterdam 2018

Thursday, 17 May 2018

March 20, 2018, marked the start of the 24th Intertraffic Amsterdam show – a leading international event in traffic technology and smart mobility. As you may have guessed, your man in Amsterdam was particularly excited, because Intertraffic 2018 was hosted in my home town and the event is at the core of my occupation. It is a week where global traffic technology professionals gather to get an insight into the latest mobility innovations.

Cora van Nieuwenhuizen, the newly appointed Dutch minister of infrastructure and water management, announced her new policy: “I want 2018 to go down as the year smart mobility truly took off – from startup to scale-up!” declared the minister. It was a confirmation of the importance of fully integrating startups in the process of tomorrow’s business case.

I couldn’t ignore the question of “What’s tomorrow’s business case?” The importance of getting this question answered became clearly visible during the show.

First of all, there was a CEO summit taking place with an interesting central question: “Do smart cars need smart infrastructure?” Among the panelists, there were CEOs from some of the biggest civil engineering contractors in the Netherlands and senior advisors from the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management. The outcome of the session showed that it is essential to invest more in tomorrow’s business case – whatever that will be.

I also recently read an intriguing article on the same subject, which argued that machine-readable infrastructure simplifies smart car design considerably, but removing pedestrians and cyclists from the roads should be taken into account as a genuine option.

Something else to emerge from Intertraffic was the belief that OEMs and telcos can’t be viewed separately anymore when dealing with ‘our’ smart mobility industry. A full integration of OEMs, telcos, Tier 1 suppliers, big data and ICT is necessary for our industry to work on tomorrow’s business case to make our world greener, decarbonized and safer on the roads.

Paul Warburton, global account director and head of automotive at Fujitsu, made an interesting statement in an article he wrote concerning the integration of the automotive sector in the traffic technology industry.

“Manufacturers need to partner with technology infrastructure, service and content providers to make their in-car platform the most compelling,” Warburton said.

It is clearly an interesting time to be the captain of the Intertraffic team – this industry is full of opportunities and offers plenty of space for innovation. Hopefully we can contribute to accelerating the connections of today’s and tomorrow’s mobility challenges.

Richard Butter is director of traffic technology at RAI Amsterdam and is responsible for Intertraffic worldwide events.


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