Practically every industry is in transformation, thanks to innovations in information technology and other high-tech sectors. Driven by environmentally sustainable and cost-effective new possibilities, the mobility marketplace is erupting. A worldwide revolution in urban mobility has begun.
The growth of metropolitan populations is exacting on local transportation systems, and the need for new solutions arise. Shorter travel times decreased carbon dioxide emissions and improved quality of life for people living and working in cities are all key goals. E-bikes have been gaining popularity, as an innovative and environmentally friendly means of transportation. According to Statista.com, global sales of e-bikes will reach approximately 40 million units in 2023. European governments and municipalities in Berlin, Amsterdam, London, and Vienna, are encouraging alternatives to cars by providing tax-deductible opportunities which treat company e-bikes the same as company cars.
Smart mobility startups are rewriting the rules of today’s economy and transportation.
The smart mobility market offers the highest growth potential for the years ahead. Embracing trends in consumer-centric models, real-time solutions, and the sharing economy, innovative startups are launching prototypes from travel planning to payments, with booming user numbers. Every day new multi-modal mobility services emerge, powered by billions in investment.
In our day-to-day work at Unicsoft, we experience first-hand the huge potential of IoT solutions for electric bicycles & scooters. Given existing consumer demand, and the need to improve efficiency, sustainability, and transportation quality, we support dynamic and strong mobility startup ecosystem development. Unicsoft is endorsing mobility as a service, electric scooters and bicycles, and smart mobility startups’ development, as we believe a new transport paradigm can reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, improve our health outcomes, and increase economic efficiency. Sustainable development of the global economy is our common goal; this is where emerging innovative companies can really make a difference and produce the most value, and the sharing economy model is the most cost-effective.
Here’s what we’ve learned about mobility startups and the challenges they face.
All smart mobility startups that come to us for consulting or software development have similar technological and business challenges, with primary concerns including IoT implementation and data collection.
1. The competition for IoT developers with experience in mobility software is going way up.
If you need a software developer for autonomous e-bikes, you will have a hard time finding one. Compensation for mobility IoT skillsets is now the fastest-growing in the entire IT industry, worldwide. That’s particularly true for those with experience in MCUs (microcontroller units), strong understanding of data transfer protocols, GUI software development, and secure data storage (due to the vulnerabilities inherent to IoT devices). With the global boom in connected devices projects, it’s a real challenge to find enough people with strong hard skills and the experience necessary to develop, deploy and support the solution. That’s why many of our partners from Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK have already chosen to nearshore software development of complex embedded systems for e-bikes. And that’s where Unicsoft can offer strong-skilled C, C++, and other IoT developers with many years of hands-on experience at a competitive rate. Developers offered by Unicsoft have years of experience working with European companies, strong English knowledge, and outstanding hard skills.
2. The IoT e-bikes industry strives for comprehensive customer platforms by acknowledging customers’ needs.
The personal transportation industry demands complex solutions for IoT-connected electric scooters and bicycles in 2019. End-users are expecting mobility as a service to come in the form of complex, multifunctional solutions with easy-to-use, sophisticated interfaces. And, in response, startups are launching custom products – integrated with healthcare, Insurance and payment applications, employing geopositioning and suggestive travel routing, connected with social media in real time, etc. Such solutions involve the back-end and front-end components including admin platform, special protocols to collect data from built-in sensors (e.g. speed, location, battery consumption, condition of the e-bike’s hardware), integration with third-party systems to collect anonymous data & insights in the B2B segment.
Make sure you build sustainable, eco-friendly and cost-efficient IoT products with anti-theft protection, live statistics, GPS tracking, and other innovative features. Otherwise, your competitors win the game. Smarter, cleaner, on-demand, real-time, power-efficient, user-friendly payment options via phone or smartwatch, personalized service – these are the trends for smart mobility solutions of the near future.
3. Connectivity technologies should serve the needs of specific applications and use cases.
Choosing a suitable connectivity technology for deploying an IoT mobility service project is a strategic decision. The main question every startup should ask themselves is how the devices connected and data generated are going to be used, and how all of the above will deliver value to customers. With such a wide range of technologies available for IoT, including traditional cellular (2G/3G/4G/5G), Low Power Wide Area Network, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc, it’s a real challenge to choose the perfect fit for your mobility service solution. We recommend taking some time and analyzing every suggested technology from many different aspects before making a decision. Without a deep understanding of technical, commercial, and ecosystem requirements it’s impossible to choose the right connectivity technology.
When it comes to technical requirements for IoT-connected electric scooters and bicycles solutions, it’s important to consider reliable coverage in urban areas, localization capability for tracking location, and quality of service to ensure that your mobility service assets don’t “go dark”. Make sure you understand the protocols available for IoT sensors. There are some questions to ask in order to pick the protocol that best solves the problems you’re dealing with today and focuses on your technical constraints:
- How much power do sensors use to collect and transfer data and how can battery capacity be budgeted?
- How often will nodes need to report?
- How much data will be sent in each message?
- What data will run over the network? What should security requirements be?
From our experience at Unicsoft, we advise estimating all the requirements prior to starting work on the project. It will save time and resources in the long-run. With understanding of high-level initial technical, business, and ecosystem requirements you will be able to develop more advanced applications. Make sure that strategic investment into your smart mobility solutions is economically and technologically sustainable in the long-run.
Conclusion: creating the future of smart mobility
The smart mobility industry faces a new set of demands from users. People are looking for greener, smarter, and more interactive options. For smart mobility startups, features such as entertainment and the use of smartphones while on the move, trip planning, and real-time processing and delivery of information are becoming increasingly important.
Another trend, mobility as a service, is also gaining more acceptance. People no longer want to own a scooter, bike, or a car full-time, nor to deal with all the routine maintenance. They want to temporarily access and share underutilized assets. Mobility as a service is a more convenient and affordable method of getting around based on the sharing economy model. Considering the success of so many companies using a sharing business model, more players are gradually making a shift toward this concept.
Our analysis shows that many small and large players are entering the market. The competition in the mobility landscape is heating up. Innovative technology and new business models, such as mobility as a service, are the two keys to further penetration into the market. It’s not just small players and start-ups who will receive significant investment; large enterprises will differentiate and seek out efficient technology sourcing, by investing in smaller companies, forming alliances, or developing new partnerships. Smart mobility is definitely a very attractive market. If you are looking for startup ideas, opportunities to differentiate your business, or a new niche for expansion: take a deeper look and learn more about existing solutions, end-user expectations, and market analysis.
If you are looking for a technology partner able to deliver user-friendly and intuitive applications, cleverly design hardware & software, integrate smartphones with bikes or e-bikes, or transform every bike into a smart bike, then Unicsoft is the best choice for you.
Here’s what we have to offer mobility startups:
- Dedicated team: from single software developer of complex embedded systems, to full project teams.
- Custom full-cycle product development: from consulting and workshops to support & maintenance.
- Start with a small scope of work: we offer on-site & online workshops
- Strong understanding of the mobility market, IoT solutions on the market, and startups’ launch and scalability processes.