The Activation Gap – Is It Hurting the Mobility Economy, and How Can We Overcome It?

During the recent MOVE London event, I had the opportunity to speak in front of a global audience from all corners of the mobility economy, including OEMs and tier 1 manufacturers, city planners, micromobility MaaS providers, insurers, and more. We discussed one of the biggest obstacles that stand in the way of achieving the full promise of the mobility economy the “activation gap”. 

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The mobility economy is all about making mobility more accessible, safe, and sustainable. It is the new frontier where we can harness mobility data and change how people (and goods) move forever. But to do that, we need a platform that can unify, standardize, and blur data in order to make it actionable 

The connected mobility economy  

We are in the midst of a digital revolution in the mobility space. Whether it’s connected vehicles, scooters, bikes, public transportation, or even the infrastructure itself – within the mobility economy, a connected digital world has emerged.  

This new world generates a continuous stream of vast amounts of data. Couple that with the billions of mobile phones that are already connected, and we are not just talking about vehicles anymore, but about the larger context of the movement of people and goods. 

These huge mountains of data (one autonomous vehicle can generate up to 100 GB of data per second, and today’s connected vehicles produce 25 GB per hour1) are there to be utilized and improve our lives. Furthermore, it’s not just about getting the data, rather the insights that can be gleaned from it. It’s about how we make data actionable, and how we use it to improve everything, from reducing CO2 emissions, shortening commutes, and creating safer drivers on the road. Insights are used for mapping, easing congestion, improving road safety, planning public transportation, and a myriad of other applications and services that are constantly being used by all.  

Mobility data, and insights powering mobility services, are set to become the next strategic asset in the global economy. 


Unlocking the value of mobility data  

Mobility data holds the promise of creating a whole new set of experiences and services across the mobility economy, whether it’s a fleet knowing the precise time to retire a vehicle, or a private vehicle owner getting preemptive service at just the right time. It can power last-mile delivery using multimodal transportation to a city center, or mobility planning that’s focused on rerouting traffic during big events, like a huge football match. Data empowers everything, from infrastructure investments, to better e-scooter distribution.  

Take insurance, for example, with The Floow, an Otonomo company. Insurers can use mobility data to make mobility more accessible, equitable, and safe. It does so by supplying more personalized policies, and by helping drivers behave more safely on the road through the provision of feedback and suggestions – moving from merely detecting accidents, to predicting and preventing them. 

The activation gap in the mobility economy  

The challenge of data utilization is only going to grow, and the volume of data generated is going to explode over the next few years. Some researchers say that by the time we exit 2025, we will be generating over 10 exabytes of mobility data per month2. That’s an enormous number, simply beyond comprehension, which is compounded by the number of data sources we will need to process, and the complexity and richness of the data available. At the same time, we’re also going to have to manage a growing set of regulations.  

How are we going to manage that data, or store it? How can we resource that accordingly, and budget for it? There is a huge gap between the possibilities mobility data offers, and the ability to activate its potential. 

The answer is, we’re going to need a platform. If we think about it for a second, this is essentially what we see in other industries as well. Whenever specialized data becomes substantial, we create a specialized data platform that’s tailor-made for its needs. We have platforms for clinical data, log data, customer data – and the next big platform is going to be for mobility data.  

The power of activated data  

With this backdrop, there are companies that are already moving forward by using a platform to get insights from mobility data and utilize them. Those who know how to utilize data are already enjoying the competitive advantages and efficiencies brought on by mobility insights.  

For example, Tembici, a mobility as a service provider in Brazil, uses data and insights to figure out where precisely to place their assets, so that they can grow efficiently. Kayma, a behavioral economics consultancy firm, helps urban planning institutions figure out how to use predictive analytics to reduce commute time (reducing it by up to 20 minutes). Additionally, Total Energies uses data to figure out where to place EV charging infrastructure, to help drive EV adoption within the city of Antwerp.  

Furthermore, Waycare (acquired by Rekor) uses vehicle data to optimize traffic management systems by leveraging predictive analytics, and Total Traffic and Weather Network are streaming data to calculate average speed, instead of paying drivers to report it. Finally, Xouba are using connected car data to revolutionize how the government of Spain is thinking about road safety, predicting problematic patches on the road before they become accident hotspots.  

What do all these companies and institutions have in common?  

They harness data through a specialized platform that allows them to float insights and focus on discovering and acting on them. 

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What do you need in a mobility data platform? 

A specialized mobility data platform needs to meet certain criteria. Firstly, it needs to be able to ingest data from multiple sources, regardless of the device type. Then it needs to put that data into a unified data dictionary, where the data is standardized and normalized and, depending upon the use case, it needs to blur the data to the appropriate level in order to protect privacy and meet regulatory requirements. 

As data is continuously streamed and put through advanced machine learning algorithms, it is enriched from multiple sources to create curated data sets that can be utilized to float insights. For some clients, an additional insight layer can be added. 

A platform must have the ability to ingest, scale, normalize, and unify data. This means you don’t have to, freeing you from the need to become a data management company. You can just run your business. 

Powering the mobility economy 

The mobility ecosystem is quickly becoming digital, and as it does, it requires increasingly more lifeblood from all the digital systems – data. But not all data is created equally, and a huge industry like mobility needs a specialized data platform, one that can meet its needs and enable the activation of massive quantities of raw data into insights. This is Otonomo’s Smart Mobility Data Platform – the foundation on which the mobility economy can thrive and live up to its full potential.  

Want to learn more about the opportunity for safer, greener, and smarter mobility experiences offered by the new mobility economy? Set up a meeting with one of our industry experts.

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