Mobility management company Brisa discusses Mobility as a Service and the challenges for A-to-Be. The appealing and rather popular concept of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) faces multiple challenges. This article focuses on a particular one – the ability to make things happen in real life, on the field, and the challenges A-to-Be® is taking on. Previously, baby boomers obtained their sense of freedom through owning their own cars. Today, teenagers and young adults achieve the same through smartphones. Despite emissions and air pollution reductions achieved by technology, hyper-urbanisation brings new congestion and environmental challenges. In fact, climate change and mobility have always been correlated, for better or for worse. At the epicentre of these global mega-trends, a new entity, MaaS, emerges.
A MaaS provider is someone, or a group of people, who synthesises the needs of the environment, citizens and operators. Excelling at managing large customer bases and applying information technology intensively, mobility will no longer be an exclusive matter of equipment and infrastructure – it will grow with software sophistication.
With the smartphone and wearable devices as the universal touch-points, combining the seamless use of journey planners with online booking and ticketing systems, more and more customers will use public mobility services, both the traditional and the emerging ones. Strong business models will enable MaaS providers to create new ways to consume mobility – as Telco Systems does today with bundled packages.
This is a territory which companies are beginning to claim for themselves, in a time when traditional road and tolling operators start considering new ways to grow their businesses, evolving with societal trends. We already witness the success of the meta-operations experience (e.g. Uber™, Booking.com™, etc.) where services grow without the need of having their own infrastructure or assets.
Mastering the ability to deliver and connect the central software solutions (the software side) supporting this vision, to what happens on the field (the tangible side), is going to be decisive in the success story of MaaS. This story is made of a multitude of players, all relevant in their own way, from the public transport operators, municipalities, vehicle sharing companies (car, motorbikes and bicycles), commuting services (fuel, car-related business, restaurant drive-throughs), parking operators and road infrastructure operators.
These MaaS players will gain by having a central figure, responsible for managing and implementing all business rules, guaranteeing operational, commercial and analytical capabilities. Its channels serve, not just the MaaS provider and mobility operators’ users, but the consumer by extending convenient self-service portals. For the consumer, this is where mobility budgets gain life, where the traveller experience becomes seamless, transactions are secure and all is unified in a unique consumer account. In the palm of each traveller’s hand the complete journey is supported by this central piece – planning, purchase, guidance, feedback and support.
In the back office, revenue and money play a key role through customer management, enforcement, transaction management, billing, certified payments’ clearance, and fraud control. But MaaS providers’ richness relies on the range of services it combines to offer through partner management, interface, enterprise services and e-commerce.
But what about the roadside? How is every single operator and service to become part of the integrated offer the MaaS provider delivers? This smart city player will be responsible for offering a seamless mobility experience to the traveller across all transportation modes, whether on foot, in a car, riding a bike, sharing, on the bus, train or metro, thinking all the way to the end-user experience. If MaaS operation is to become a reality, it must go beyond the software elegance.
Succeed or fail, it’s on the field that things happen
This ability will enable considerable efficiencies, as using and optimising current infrastructures is going to determine the success of the seamless mobility experience ambition. This is one of A-to-Be’s main distinctive factors, where all others stop, or enter with unease. All transport operators and mobility players connect, making things happen on the field as access gantries are activated, fares are enforced, and barriers opened. By using a range of connectivity solutions without limits, from beacons to apps, any solution the traveller interacts with is adopted.
Looking into our company portfolio of solutions, if A-to-Be MoveBeyond™ is the soft part of MaaS, A-to-Be LinkBeyond™ is the hard part. Both are instrumental in ensuring that no operator is left behind, and that no mobility experience is interrupted.
Now and then
Brisa Innovation has made progress regarding mobility, with a focus on tolling and roadside solutions, providing tools to manage 500 million transactions, and detecting and identifying over a billion vehicles, as well as supporting the management of traffic generated by five million people. After more than 15 years of combining expertise with innovative ideas in an ever-changing market, the company decided to move forward. A closer look into the achievements Brisa Innovation has to show, today we see a multitude of solutions for services connected with the car, extending payments from tolling to fuel stations, parking, ferries, public transport, drive-through restaurants and pharmacies, or access control – these were all the result of thinking beyond, 15 years ago.
This new A-to-Be brand represents a shift in seeing mobility as a human journey, stretching its boundaries and exploring new meanings for its future. Together with its clients, A-to-Be develops its people-centric mobility solutions, from payments to operations technology. It is therefore expected that Mobility-Beyond is the logical motto for the new A-to-Be brand. One of its main concerns – aspiring to grow to be an enabler for outstanding mobility experiences with best-in-class solutions – is to be able to do it through a balanced set of skills, evolving with the strong roadside background and reaching scalability with a new focus on central systems and platforms.
With new investors and a clear international strategy for the company, A-to-Be’s mission is to grow in selected markets, using a comprehensive offer for mobility payments and operations, maintaining innovation as a central concern in Brisa group. Brisa Innovation has always had a strong connection with the world of tolling and traffic management. During the company’s portfolio redesign it became self-evident that the tolling technology had a lot more in common with the overall mobility challenges than we realised. This enabled our development team to cover multiple uses and applications related to mobility through the ‘Design Thinking’ methodology inherent in A-to-Be’s portfolio.
Combining the strong central systems knowledge with a unique and distinctive ability to connect all parts involved in the business, A-to-Be applies the same level of expertise used in international advisory projects throughout the world – the US, India, Brazil, the Netherlands, Russia and Turkey – to prepare real solutions for the real world. On the mobility payments side, A-to-Be’s range is oriented for smart city players, road operators, commuting service providers, parking and public transport, while on the operations side, traffic management and revenue assurance solutions complete the new solutions portfolio.