Look! This Is The Future!
Mr. Simon Akeroyd shares his vision of future mega-cities that thrive on AI, IoT and other technologies
More than half of the world’s population lives in cities today, but by 2050 the figure is expected to rise to 70 per cent, putting tremendous pressure on the resources of urban centers. In anticipation of this development, governments around the world are gearing up to optimize their resources with the aid of advanced technologies including AI, predictive analytics, and IoT
Aleading provider of advanced technology solutions for the global travel industry, Amadeus has created a taskforce to lead its new Smart City offer in Asia Pacific. The offer aims to enable ‘smart mobility’ for the world’s most densely populated cities, and in turn improve mobility and life within them. Leading this new offer is Mr. Simon Akeroyd, Vice President, Corporate Strategy and Business Development at Amadeus.
“It is fortuitous that the interest in Smart City has been growing recently and coinciding with the fact that we’ve been building this seamless journey at Amadeus,” Mr. Akeroyd says. “We’ve been building this from the concept of connectivity and the traveler moving seamlessly through this journey; we’ve building this to improve the travel experience, but now it seems to match very well with an extension of that in the city.”
With cumulative expertise in developing innovative IT-driven solutions for the travel industry, Amadeus makes a valuable partner towards achieving Smart City goals. “As urbanization increases and governments are faced with challenges around traffic congestion, pollution, inadequate energy and resources, it will be vital for cities to harness technologies to solve complex problems. The future of travel will be driven by multi-model journeys and data to deliver more personalized and smart experiences.”
Amadeus has been building its IT backend for 10 years. “We’ve been concentrating on building up the IT component and aggregating all types of providers that will be needed on a journey – the airports, the airlines, the rail company. We’ve been tackling the fragmentation problem that we have in the industry, bringing all those together and creating one IT platform that enables a better servicing of the end traveler as they pass from one module to another,” Mr. Akeroyd elaborates.
“Amadeus has the ability to help solve the problem that Smart Cities are going to face inevitably – consolidation. As the city tries to offer so many services, from getting people around to offering them a tour, making sure they meet their connections, getting them from the airport to the center of the city, all the way to predicting when there’s going to be a problem – all of that is incredibly complex with a lot of fragmentation.”
Amadeus has done some pre-consolidation for the smart city, Mr. Akeroyd says. “We can help the Smart Cities get to the smart city concept faster because we have already done the consolidation first. They don’t have to pick individual problem solvers and mass them together and get them all on the same technology.
“If we can connect our inbound international or domestic traveler to other parts of the city that are already smart – for example, in Singapore you could say that commuter system is already well-evolved – if we can connect our traveler with the commuter system so that they can then enjoy the city in a sort of seamless, organized, smart mobility, it adds not only to the visitor experience but also to making the tourist dollar come in to Singapore and everybody will benefit from that.”
A Partnership Platform
“If you look at mobility today, and think about Grab, Didi, Lyft, Ofo, and all the ride-sharing platforms, you will realize that we’ve never had so many options for getting around the city before – and that’s all been done privately. Millions of dollars have gone into that private creation.” Mr. Akeroyd says.
Although these come from private funds and initiatives, there is also the public aspect that has been done, he insists. The way that cities like Beijing or Singapore manage traffic, the information that is now available about parking spaces, bus and train timetables, or the interconnectivity of the MRT system with any other type of transport, that intermodal way of going around the city – that’s all being done by the government, he emphasizes. “And the government is also putting in a lot of money in that. So, you’re talking about a mobility revolution in two parts – the first being privately funded and the second being publicly funded.”
Mr. Akeroyd predicts that the rise of Smart Cities will boost travel and tourism, and so the public and private sectors must collaborate to share data and use technology. “When done successfully, we believe that this will enable the immersive travel experiences and services that citizens and travelers expect in the future.”
If it really has to work, he says, these two things have to come together. “That creates a huge amount of data such that a massive platform has to be created to turn that into predictive analytics to be able to tell in advance, say, a delay in this type of transport, and all the knock-off effect on the other systems.”
That responsibility will fall to the city, Mr. Akeroyd says. “It has to be declared a private-public partnership, or PPP, or unofficially, the sides have to come together because no one side will be able to fix it completely. The private side may not have the multi-modality and interoperability, while the public side may not have all the required solutions.”
We can help the Smart Cities get to the smart city concept faster because we have already done the consolidation first. They don’t have to pick individual problem solvers and mass them together and get them all on the same technology.