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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:
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