Moving forward without fear
As mobility enters an era of unprecedented change, conference delegates were yesterday told that far from being a threat, the emergence of new modes of transport and new technologies represent a time of great opportunity for mobility clubs.
In a wide-ranging and entertaining address, trendwatcher Adjiedj Bakas gave delegates a glimpse into a possible future and then outlined ways in which clubs could play a major role in it.
“A lot of people are afraid of the future, it’s like a train coming towards you,” he said. “But if you know the train is coming, you can prepare yourself.”
To illustrate his view of the changes already taking place, he pointed to research predicting a fall of 50 per cent in car ownership in Europe by 2050 as people move towards autonomous vehicles and car-sharing options.
“People are going to share cars, rent them by the hour and do so via mobile phone,” he said. “A self-driving will car come to your house, pick you up and take you to your destination. It will look for parking, which you will pay for with your mobile phone.”
He insisted, however, that the growing presence of such vehicles in the marketplace should be regarded as an opportunity rather than a threat.
“This represents an enormous opportunity for organisations such as yours,” he said. “You can exploit these cars. You can own thousands of these cars and rent them to customers. This is one possible business opportunity for you.”
He also suggested that as energy supplies come to increasingly define the shape of transportation design, clubs could take an active role in the energy market.“You can becoming a buying organisation,” he said, “purchasing oil, gas and electricity to trade to your members.”
The development of new raw materials and innovative manufacturing processes could also have a massive impact on future mobility. “In the future 3D printing could see us printing cars; cars made of plastics that come from plants.”
According to Dr Bakas, the prospect of advanced 3D printing and greater connectivity in cars could represent possible areas of opportunity for many mobility clubs.
“At the moment one of your cash cows is repairing cars,” he explained, “and at the moment that requires someone to physically go to the car and fix whatever is broken. But do we really need that? It could be that cars are fitted with 3D printers and when something goes wrong someone simply repairs it at a distance because the car will be made in such a way that you can communicate with all its systems.”
Bringing his talk to a close, he urged delegates to be unafraid of the changes taking place and to embrace innovation.
“The most successful animal is the one that adapts best to the changing environment,” he reiterated. “Your environment is going to change. Use these changes to develop opportunities. The future is not for people who are afraid, the future is for people who dare. Don’t worry – it’s going to be fun.”