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Self-driving vehicles, smart traffic lights, smart parking lots and automated mass rail transit systems are just a few of the smart transportation technologies poised to transform our cities and lives. Whilst this new wave of technologies has been discussed for years, the boom in internet of things (IoT) devices has dramatically decreased the cost of implementation. As a result, Gartner predicts that 20.4 billion connected "things" will be in use by 2020, up from 8.4 billion in 2017.
Yet with these new IoT sensors also comes an avalanche of data. To make smart cities and smart transportation systems work, organisations need to learn how to derive actionable insights out of their data sources to help improve operational excellence and customer satisfaction. This priority is outlined in Singapore's Report of the Committee on the Future Economy which states: "We should exploit the potential in using big data and real-time/predictive analytics to support multi-modal transport management (e.g. Mobility-as-a-Service concepts)."
The issue is however, that whilst and data analysis can help with data visualisation and process optimisation, as with all emerging technology trends, we are in the midst of a predictable evolution process. We have already been through the long period where nothing much happens followed by a period of early adopters. Now smart transport use cases have been demonstrated in projects around the world, we have entered the period in which the market finally wakes up to the benefits and solution providers rush out a slew of 'me-too' products as everybody tries to get in on the action.
This is by no means the end of the evolutionary process however. The next stage involves finding other ways of exploiting what the technology has to offer and integrating it into the wider IT landscape beyond the original brief. In the case of data analytics, this means developing increasingly sophisticated modelling tools that turn the insights they provide into action through automated business processes.
This is the essential next step in transforming transportation, given that due to the real-time data provided by IoT devices, the insights and response actions also need to be in real-time, so to fully maximise the benefits of their smart transportation systems. By applying data, analytics and automation at every opportunity, organisations will be able to optimise and differentiate their services to enhance the customer experience.
This transition will by no means simple however as it will require an organisation wide transformation to integrate and effectively leverage these transformative technologies. To discover how IT leaders in the transportation sector can make this happen, we contacted with three leading experts from Intel, TIBCO and NCS for their advice:
Erich Gerber, General Manager, Asia Pacific and Japan TIBCO Software
"The clear conclusion is that digitising infrastructure networks can improve forecasting, promote reliability and increase efficiency. So what are the next steps?
The Singapore Government has already taken the first step by opening up and sharing the data being gathered on transportation with start-ups and entrepreneurs, allowing them to explore and use it for the kind of innovation that the private sector excels at.
The sharing of transport data among all the stakeholders - transport operators, system providers and citizens alike - will speed up the development of practical solutions to reduce congestion and waiting times.
Building on that, predictive maintenance for bus and train fleets will largely improve the efficiency and reliability of transport services, and reduce downtime or unforeseen breakdowns. Providing commuters with real-time updates of the entire transport network can also be leveraged to underscore the complete connectivity, accessibility and convenience of Singapore's public transport system.
Singapore's vibrant ecosystem of industry players and test beds is a welcome environment that prompts quicker development, testing and commercialising of smart mobility solutions by agencies, research institutes, industry and the community."
Val Stoyanov, General Manager, Global Transportation, Intel
"In order to create smart city where physical and digital worlds converge to enable a seamless transportation experience, our vision is an intelligent mobility framework that includes promising technology-enabled transformations in five key solution areas:
- Mobility services: Shared mobility, smart parking, echarging
- Public transit: Mobile alerts, passenger information systems, predictive maintenance
- Traffic management: Signalling and intersection management, traffic control centres
- ID and payments: Digitized toll collection, biometric ID, fare collection
- Safe, secure infrastructure: Incident detection, bridge monitoring, video surveillance
Running through the entire framework is the use of technology to sense and store critical data, analyse it to gain actionable insight, and share it system-wide to enable predictive and responsive operations-all while maintaining high levels of security and privacy.
We envision tightly meshed solutions that work together to multiply their value. Solutions whose enabling technologies and devices are based on open standards to support integration and scaling. Solutions designed through collaborative planning among departments, ideally including public-private partnerships to widen the solutions' scope and benefits. Solutions that invite and enable the public to interact with their city's transportation systems to make urban living easier."
Eddie Lim, Transport Practice Lead, NCS
"The key to delivering a seamless end-to-end travel experience is to aggregate and integrate information from various transport systems and services including traffic data shared by the authorities or operators, and weather information, into a unified mobility management platform that then enables Mobility- as-a-Service (MaaS) to evolve towards a fully integrated transport service.
Big data analytics can provide real-time information to commuters to indicate whether trains or buses are on time and if there is road congestion that may impact their journey by increasing journey time or its variability. Integrating data such as live weather information can help provide new services both to customers and to transport providers to help predict and manage network disruption more effectively. This will help the transport sector to provide more integrated and customer-focused services.
The implementation of MaaS will necessitate a multi-modal journey planner, physical changes to existing transfer nodes and an urban mobility management centre. It will require detailed engagement with the transport operators to understand their concerns, and to secure their acceptance and participation.
Equally importantly, commuters need to be informed about the benefits of MaaS so that they become stakeholders in its successful implementation. It would be necessary to understand the concerns of the consumers and gauge their willingness to pay for such a service."
Whilst each of these experts focuses on a different aspect of harnessing IoT and analytics, they are in fact complimentary. NCS, TIBCO and Intel have formed a partnership to help deliver innovation IoT transport solutions that are smart, safe and citizen-centric.
By leveraging its talent pool, experience and track record, domain expertise and ecosystem of partners, NCS has the skillsets and competencies to help its customers in harness the insights from data analytics.
The TIBCO Connected Intelligence Cloud platform interconnects everything, capturing data in real-time wherever it is and delivers intelligence to organisations through analytical insights.
Then completing the partnership, Intel provides an entire ecosystem of IoT devices and the Intelligent Systems Framework, which provides a roadmap to help system builders to develop products for the IoT prioritising manageability, security and connectivity.
With this combination of data science talent, the platform and the devices, the NCS, TIBCO and Intel partnership offers clients end-to-end solutions to help them achieve their smart transport aims by turning IoT data into automated action.