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This post is part of Citymart's guest blog series. Citymart has invited partners to share perspectives on problem-solving, innovation, and procurement in cities. This post does not represent an endorsement by either party.
This post is written by Laetitia Gazel Anthoine, Founder and CEO of Connecthings.
Connecthings is a software company that specializes in providing real-time user location and context to mobile applications. Connecthings was founded in July 2007 and currently operates in six countries, with dual headquarters in NYC and Paris. Prior to Connecthings, Laetitia worked as a Project Director for Orange, the European Mobile Operator, where she managed the implementation of the first mobile internet gateway and the first music streaming service. Laetitia has a Master of Engineering in Computer Sciences and graduated from CentraleSupelec University.
Connecthings is witnessing tremendous growth throughout Europe and North America in the mobility-as-a-service sector, where new business models for mobile applications are embracing ride-sharing, carpooling, dockless bike rental, city motorbike rental, and more. But the success of this burgeoning ecosystem hinges on two urgently important points. First, how do we help commuters access and take advantage of all these services? And second, how will cities welcome and take advantage of the wide range of services for their citizens?
At Connecthings, we believe that the key to helping users easily and quickly access available mobility services is to leverage contextualized real-time data (like bus arrival times, traffic information, weather conditions, usage patterns) to trigger accurate transportation options at a user’s preferred time. To collect and repurpose the right data for this purpose, Connecthings is building a robust tech platform. Powered by machine learning and accurate real-time location data aggregated from cities, the platform will build dynamic mobility context for users while protecting data and user privacy. With this data in hand, in the course of a single day, Connecthings can help a commuter juggle between subway, bus, taxi, bike, carpooling, and other available services.
So, what about city governments’ critical role in the mobility ecosystem? Most cities do want to welcome and take advantage of the new transportation services that are mushrooming in very short time frames for their citizens. In order to do that, city governments will need to build a culture and practice of collaborative problem-solving and procurement. The transportation industry is evolving quickly. City planners that want to move their Smart City plans off of the drawing board and into practice now need to adapt their rules, their collaboration with innovative companies and new business models, and their procurement processes just as quickly.
Cities play a critical role in regulating and coordinating mobility modes — pedestrians, bikes, cars, bus, trucks — and associated services. If ride-sharing, carpooling, autonomous vehicles, and smart mass transit systems are well integrated through platforms like Connecthings and are well regulated by cities, residents will enjoy faster and safer commutes, decreased traffic congestion, and improved access to social services.