Digital exhaust, the data generated by people’s online actions, can be an important source of crowd-sourced intelligence for transport companies, and as rollout of Wi-Fi on planes, trains and other public places continues, evermore data sets will become available. Furthermore, sensor-derived data, generated by sensors placed on cargo, vehicles, employees and places, has the potential to fuel a revolution in the sector.
The shoots of this revolution are already beginning to show. This data is spawning a host of new business types and models. Courier company Gophr has been using sensors on its bicycle couriers as they speed around London creating a real-time picture of air pollution in the city, while apps like AppyParking collect data from sensors in parking bays to help drivers find parking spaces. Other initiatives are more ambitious in their scope. Daimler, for example, is positioning itself as a gateway to mobility services with its moovel app which uses data to enable passengers to move seamlessly between different mobility services, from car shares and taxis to bike rentals and public transportation.
But while many in the industry have been deft at leveraging passenger data to dynamically manage routing, calculate fuel requirements and find efficiencies, respondents have not yet mastered their approach to the data generated by connected things. An aeroplane engine might be equipped with as many as 250 sensors, yet this data will commonly be used primarily to spot anomalies, rather than for optimisation purposes – which is where the most value sits.