Look! This Is The Fu­ture!

Mr. Si­mon Akeroyd shares his vi­sion of fu­ture mega-cities that thrive on AI, IoT and other tech­nolo­gies

Portfolio - - IN THIS ISSUE - By Li Hao­han

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.”

For­tu­itous Devel­op­ment

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.

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