Last February when we attended the Business Travel Show to reveal our new app – Mobilleo - we were constantly being asked to explain Mobility-as-a-Service. Industry knowledge about the term seemed restricted to “that’s about driverless cars” or questions like “is that to do with public transport?”. In less than 12 months, the landscape has changed and suddenly anyone worth their salt has latched onto the industry’s latest buzzword.
However, whilst autonomous vehicles and smart cities remain popular topics of conversations, many in our industry still do not grasp the true nature of Mobility-as-a-Service.
MaaS isn’t exclusive to public sector projects on providing accessible transport, nor is it just a new shiny feature that car manufacturers can entice fleet managers with. True Mobility-as-a-Service is the complete offering of not just transport, but the entire journey.
At Mobilleo, we’re one of the very few true technology providers to have created our own intellectual property that does Mobility-as-a-Service for businesses. Our app does the usual flights, trains and taxis but it also recognises the micro-elements of a journey like parking, airport lounges, WiFi codes and places for a bite to eat.
The industry needs to stop equating Mobility-as-a-Service to just a few facets of travel. It goes far beyond that in that it also involves expense management, data analysis, employee morale and much more. Mobility-as-a-Service isn’t a buzzword – it’s a business strategy, and it’s one that companies need to be taking a much closer look at in 2018.
With this in mind here are some of our favourite terms and explanations for those looking for a ‘cheat-sheet’ on MaaS.
What is Mobility-as-a-Service?
According to Mobilleo CEO, Justin Whitston, Mobility-as-a-Service is the intersection of technology and all aspects of travel. Its specific objective is to facilitate convenience, cost and comfort of travel using technology. Tech allows users to not be reliant on owning a car when instead they can quickly access a local car club. It allows users to assess every transport option easily and make a decision based on cost, speed, comfort and even how environmentally friendly it is.
Who is Mobility-as-a-Service for?
At the moment it’s largely a conversation topic amongst fleet managers, financial directors and technologists but in reality, it’s for everyone. Employees benefit from Mobility-as-a-Service as an alternative way to book their travel – they don’t need to be told “this is the cheapest train ticket so you’re going on this train” when they can find cheaper alternatives for themselves. Personal assistants and travel managers benefit from a quicker and more efficient way of finding, booking and paying for travel. Financial directors benefit in that they no longer need to be reliant on company car fleets that can prove costly and tiring to manage.
Does that mean Mobility-as-a-Service will replace the car?
No. Mobility-as-a-Service is about offering the car (or company car) as one option of many to users. Businesses can look to reduce their fleet size by adopting usership models like car clubs, taxis or public transport but can still retain a fleet for those “I need it right now” moments.
MaaS apps like Mobilleo allow car owners to look at their journey and compare how much it would cost them to take their own car versus the train. It’s just a question of what’s most important for that individual journey – cost, comfort or convenience?
What is Total Cost of Mobility?
Another favourite phrase of the industry – total cost of mobility – is a term you can expect to see more and more in the coming months. TCM refers to data analysis that reveals the true cost of your mobility. Too often consumers and businesses only count the obvious travel costs like train tickets or fuel. In fact, travel is often made up on far more micro-transactions that get spent but never recorded. Parking tickets, WiFi access codes, a cup of tea at the station – all of these are expensed but usually never incorporated into the cost of the journey.
By analysing this data and working out the total cost of mobility businesses can identify areas of wastage and make better decisions regarding their travel policies.
How do I get Mobility-as-a-Service into my business?
MaaS isn’t something that you can turn on overnight, nor is it something that requires major changes to the way your business operates. The first step to adopting a true Mobility-as-a-Service approach is to understand what you’re already doing.
Analysis of data such as costs, time spent booking travel arrangements and frequency of travel can all help identify how close or far away your business is from achieving MaaS efficiency.
Every day they are new initiatives and partnerships emerging that encourage businesses and consumers to think differently about how they travel. Ultimately the starting point is education – once you know what you’re doing, you need to explain the process to staff and clearly identify the benefits Mobility-as-a-Service can bring to employees.
What are the benefits of Mobility-as-a-Service?
· A more productive workforce as staff no longer need stress and spend valuable time scouring multiple travel websites and companies
· A more empowered employee – MaaS apps like Mobilleo places the control of business travel into the employee’s hand, but carefully regulated with customisable travel policy settings such as spend limits and ticket restrictions
· Better business decisions – access to easy-to-digest data means that finance and fleet teams can assess the demand for their fleet and assets when thinking about expanding or shrinking their fleet
· Cost effective journeys – access to more options will only create more price-effective travel and help your workforce truly think about the cost of their journey