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Top 10 picks for SXSW 2020 — A designer’s digest to impactful learning

By | Blog

SXSW ‘20 is just around the corner! It’s the place to be if you are into tech, design and art or if you are looking for inspiration. Looking at the official program can create some anxiety however, because there is so much to see, to do and to hear. That’s why we have created this top 10 list of things to check out. Hopefully this will provide you with a little bit of direction when you’re in Austin.

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Mobility ontbijtsessie opdracht

Mobility Breakfast #2: How can we stimulate the adoption of MaaS?

By | Blog

On Wednesday 27 November we gathered with more than 20 mobility experts from organizations like LeasePlan, Hardt Hyperloop, Arval, Hertz, NS, Urbee, Greenwheels, Amber, ParkBee, Vervoerregio Amsterdam, Advier, Springtime, South Holland Province and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

During our first mobility breakfast session we discussed the future of mobility. The technological possibilities are endless, but the challenge is to bridge the gap between these possibilities and travelers’ needs. That’s why we choose to zoom in on our travel behavior during this second meeting. Together we discovered how we can influence the adoption of new mobility concepts such as mobility-as-a-service (MaaS).

 

Innovation in the Mobility world

Toon Zijlstra is a senior scientific researcher at the Dutch Knowledge Institute for Mobility Policy (KiM). Today, he we invited him for breakfast to share insights on mobility-as-a-service from a scientific point of view. KiM conducts independent research and provides knowledge to the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management (IenW).

Toon starts his story with a definition of innovation by the Austrian economist J. Schumpeter: “Innovation is doing things differently”. A nice quote, but “doing things differently” does not really reflect in the way we commute. It is remarkable how little has changed in our travel behavior. The biggest visible difference in the graph below is that we see 66% fewer car passengers.

 

“Innovation is doing things differently” – J. Schumpeter

Verplaatsingsgedrag Nederland

The rise of MaaS

Nevertheless, a number of innovations, according to Toon, have led to major changes in our travel behavior in recent decades. Consider the rise of the e-bike or, a much more surprising example, the cabin trolley. When the trolley emerged in the 1970s, traveling became much easier and walking traffic in cities took a huge flight. One of the most recent developments is the emergence of mobility-as-a-service (MaaS):

 

“Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) is about searching, booking and paying for a trip via one digital platform at various providers. Not only different providers come together within this platform, but also different modes of transport. This makes it easier to compare multiple forms of transport with regard to aspects such as travel time, costs, comfort or environmental pressure. MaaS is primarily accessible through an app.”

 

Research: Promising MaaS-users

The Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) concept has rapidly gained popularity. However, in the current dynamic playing field, there are still many uncertainties about the subject. That is why KiM conducted a research to find out which groups in society are most likely to embrace MaaS. Because we are dealing with a service that is still being developed, this is not an easy task. KiM tested the interest in MaaS based on the most important characteristics of MaaS through the MaaS Potential Index.

Read more about the research in this blog.

KiM recently started a follow-up study to find out what the most promising trips for MaaS are (bike, train, car etc.). Therefore, KiM is looking for partners to provide data on travel information and the use of innovative mobility concepts in order to discover certain patterns. Are you open to collaborate with KiM? Please send an email to toon.zijlstra@minienw.nl. You can find more information about the KiM and their publications at www.kimnet.nl.

MaaS Potentie Index

 

Market potential of MaaS is unknown

According to the research, the ultimate MaaS user is a young, active and travel-loving city dweller with a high level of public transport use, a high income, high level of education and an above-average concern for the environment. As you can imagine, there are not many Dutch people who meet all these characteristics. The profile of the most promising groups to use MaaS differs from the mass. This means the market potential of MaaS remains unknown. The KiM therefore warns the ministry that the MaaS pilots that are currently running are no guarantee for successful expansion to other groups.

 

How can we encourage behavioral change?

Given that the most promising MaaS user differs from the average Dutch person, it’s unlikely that MaaS will lead to major shifts in daily mobility within a few years. But, how can we increase the chance of success? Toon Zijlstra (KiM) mentions five factors that contribute to behavioral change (Rogers, 2003):

1. Relative advantage
Make sure to create a significant advantage compared to the current method of transport. Not only consider economic benefits for the target group, but also subjective benefits like convenience and pleasure.

2. Compatibility
Make sure to connect a new service to things people already know or use. A good example of where this was well applied is the first Birmingham station. At the time, banks had a great deal of prestige and were considered reliable. The architecture of the station has many similarities with a bank in order to gain the confidence of citizens to get on the “scary” steam train.

Eerste treinstation BirminghamBirmingham Curzon Street train station (1838–1966)

3. Complexity 
It goes without saying that it is important to avoid complexity. The more complex the innovation, the greater the chance of rejection. Make your service as simple as possible for the user.

4. Triability
When the tea bag was introduced in the early 1900’s, it was difficult to sell. The idea of tasty tea was that it is pulled directly from leaves and not from grit in a bag. So, how did the tea bag gain so much popularity? By getting people acquainted with tea in a low-threshold way and giving away the tea bags for free. The learning? Remove any thresholds to try out new services.

5. Visibility
Finally, Toon shows that it is important to create visibility. A clearly observable innovation, such as the installation of solar panels, has a greater chance of being adopted than, for example, the introduction of smart “power management software”, even though the latter may have a greater relative advantage than the former. A current example in mobility is the visibility of the blue front tires of Swapfiets or the red cars of Greenwheels.

 

Workshop: Getting started with ‘UltiMaaS’

We can conclude that true innovation doesn’t just get off the ground, changing behavior takes time. What can we do ourselves to make new concepts like MaaS successful? All attendees worked on this issue during the breakfast session workshop. Led by service designers Floris Nijdam and Joy Jansen, we discussed how we can make MaaS more attractive.

 

Mobility ontbijtsessie workshop

The goal of the workshop was to enter into a dialogue with each other and to understand the travel behavior of different target groups. The participants were divided into three group, using the personas: “Empty nesters” Haron and Cynthia, 71-year-old Gerard and 30-year-old Mirjam. To focus on adoption of MaaS instead of the service, we assume that the “UltiMaaS” solution is already there.

We discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the current travel behavior of the personas and how we can convert this into an opportunity for “UltiMaaS”. With the help of the workshop exercise below, the groups determined how they could make the service as attractive as possible for their persona.

Highlights workshop

After 1.5 hours of intensive discussions, it was time to share the initiatives with each other. The top results? The “Empty Nest” group came up with the idea to focus on the qualitative benefits of a journey for personas Haron (48) and Cynthia (46). They believed that not a seamless, but a seamfull experience could convince them to use UltiMaaS. Think of a nice route, room for a good conversation or good food during the trip. It is not about efficiency, but about the experience.

The second group focused on persona Gerard from Amsterdam Noord. Since Gerard is not really comfortable with a smartphone, this group came up with a voice controlled MaaS solution and a partnership with a reliable brand such as ANWB.

Finally, Mirjam’s group; a self-assured 30-year-old woman who values status and flexibility. Arjos Bot (Arval) presented a creative solution on behalf of his group: A Platinum MaaS membership which lets you reserve your train seat, among other things. How they are going to reach Mirjam? Arjos laughs: “With Bridget MaaSland as an influencer.”

Arjos Bot | Arval

Conclusion: Make behavioral change attractive

Thanks to Toon his scientific insights and a constructive contribution from all participants during the workshop, we look back on a very inspiring morning. In order to make MaaS attractive to as many Dutch people as possible, we must first and foremost study the target groups that are not initially seen as obvious users. We hope the insights in this blog will help you stimulate the behavioral change of your users.

 

Mobility Breakfast sessions 2020

Next year we will continue organizing gatherings for the Mobility industry. We will delve deeper into topics such as MaaS and the role that digital plays within this service. Expect inspiring speakers and case studies from prominent mobility providers.

Do you want to stay informed about the next sessions? Please send an email to syra@info.nl and let us know why you would like to join. Please note that our Breakfast sessions are in Dutch.

Judith Eyk Vakanties.nl

Vakanties.nl is building your future travel agent

By | Blog

Booking a trip through platforms like Booking.com and Airbnb became the new standard, but even in this market there are players that do things a bit differently than everybody else. Take “techy travel agency” Vakanties.nl, for instance. Vakanties.nl allows you to make real-time combinations of flights, hotels and rental cars and to create your own vacation with hyper-personal suggestions, but without the stress that comes from the many, many options and filters you have nowadays.

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Metro groen

Early Adopters of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS)

By | Blog

Unfortunately, this study is currently only available in Dutch. KiM has submitted an English scientific paper about this study.

Afgelopen jaar deed het KiM onderzoek naar de meest kansrijke groepen voor het gebruik van Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). In dit blog delen we de samenvatting van de pubicatie “Kansrijke groepen voor MaaS” van de Auteurs: Toon Zijlstra, Anne Durand, Sascha Hoogendoorn-Lanser en Lucas Harms.

 

Wat is Mobility-as-a-service (MaaS)?

Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) gaat om het zoeken, boeken en betalen van reizen via één digitaal platform bij diverse aanbieders. Binnen dit platform komen niet alleen aanbieders samen, maar ook verschillende vervoerswijzen. Zo wordt het eenvoudiger om vervoerswijzen met elkaar te vergelijken, op aspecten zoals reistijd, kosten, comfort of milieudruk. In het verlengde van deze definitie zijn MaaS-gebruikers personen die de MaaS-applicatie meermalen succesvol hanteren om diverse reizen bij verschillende aanbieders en verschillende modaliteiten te regelen.

 

Early adopters van MaaS in Nederland

Het KiM verwacht dat de eerste gebruikers van MaaS in Nederland zich bovengemiddeld vaak verplaatsen en bovengemiddeld lange afstanden afleggen. Het gebruik van het openbaar vervoer kan dalen onder de eerste gebruikers, omdat deze groep al veel met het openbaar vervoer reist en omdat andere opties gemakkelijker beschikbaar zijn, dankzij MaaS. Het reisgedrag van de eerste gebruikers is volgens het KiM niet representatief voor het reisgedrag van de groepen die eventueel later in MaaS instappen. Zorgvuldigheid is daarom geboden bij de eerste evaluaties van MaaS in de praktijk. Om andere groepen, dan de meest kansrijke groepen, in een vroeg stadium te bereiken zijn extra inspanningen, extra diensten of flankerende maatregelen noodzakelijk.

 

MaaS Potentie Index: meest kansrijke groepen voor MaaS

Het KiM ontwikkelde en toetste voor deze studie de MaaS Potentie Index. Deze index bestaat uit vier indicatoren die een belangrijke eigenschap van MaaS beslaan. Deze vier indicatoren worden gebruikt om een beeld te krijgen van de relatieve MaaS-potentie per persoon:

  1. Technofiel: gebruik van en belangstelling voor innovatieve digitale technologie;
  2. Huren of delen: gebruik van of interesse in huren of delen van mobiliteit;
  3. Multimodaal: de behoefte aan multimodaal reizen;
  4. Reisinformatie: de behoefte aan volledige en actuele reisinformatie.

MaaS potentie index

Deze indicatoren zijn vervolgens gekoppeld aan de meest relevante persoonskenmerken. De zes belangrijkste kenmerken van de meest kansrijke groepen voor MaaS zijn:

  • Jongeren scoren beter dan ouderen;
  • Frequente openbaar-vervoergebruikers scoren beter dan minder frequente gebruikers;
  • Frequente vliegtuigreizigers scoren beter dan minder frequente gebruikers van het vliegtuig;
  • Hoger opgeleiden scoren beter dan mensen met een lager opleidingsniveau;
  • Mensen met een sterke bezorgdheid ten aanzien van het milieu scoren beter dan mensen met een minder sterke bezorgdheid;
  • Mensen die veel op pad gaan, met dagjes uit en horecabezoek, scoren beter dan mensen die minder vaak op pad gaan.

Ook een hoog persoonlijk inkomen, het bezit van een vouwfiets, motor of speed pedelec, een goede gezondheid en een frequent gebruik van de fiets blijken te corresponderen met een goede score op de MaaS Potentie Index. Wanneer we de hiervoor genoemde persoonskenmerken combineren met een positieve bijdrage, komen we uit bij de groep koplopers. Voor de meest kansrijke groep kan bijvoorbeeld worden gedacht aan een gezonde en actieve jonge openbaar-vervoergebruiker met vouwfiets en een sterk milieubewustzijn. Al met al lijken de meest kansrijke groepen vooral te bestaan uit mensen met een hypermobiele leefstijl. Geen vreemde doelgroep voor een applicatie die het maken van verplaatsingen faciliteert.

Meer lezen over de meest kansrijke groepen voor MaaS? Lees hier de volledige publicatie van het KiM. 

 

27 november 2019: Mobility ontbijtsessie INFO

Elk kwartaal organiseert INFO een ontbijtsessie waarin we de toekomst van mobiliteit bespreken en ontdekken. Op 27 november 2019 komen we bij elkaar om te praten over de adoptie van innovatieve mobiliteitsoplossingen zoals MaaS. Toon Zijlstra, Senior Wetenschappelijk Onderzoeker bij Kennisinstituut voor Mobiliteitsbeleid (KiM) vertelt tijdens deze ontbijtsessie vanuit een wetenschappelijk oogpunt over innovaties en de veranderingen in ons reisgedrag. Hij komt met concrete voorbeelden die in het verleden wel, of juist niet tot gedragsverandering hebben geleid. Vervolgens gaan we samen in een interactieve workshop op zoek naar oplossingen die bijdragen aan de adoptie van nieuwe vormen van mobiliteit.

Wil je bij deze of de volgende ontbijtsessie aanwezig zijn? Mail naar syra@info.nl en laat weten waarom je graag zou willen aanschuiven.

Working at INFO

Robots and AI on SXSW: “Respect non-human rights”

By | Blog

We have been here, on SXSW, for three days now. For me personally it’s the 7th time attending this event and by now I know that it’s paramount to maintain a sharp focus when traveling to Austin, TX. There are so many interesting keynotes to choose from. I myself am very interested in topics like IoT, smart cities, robotics and, since about a year, the research into autonomously operating things.

Especially this last topic is one that is widely represented here on SXSW. I visited LG today. Many companies have houses here and I usually miss out on the best ones. However, I heard that LG was focusing solely on robots this year, so I had to go in.

Nifty little machine

The LG house featured a couple of large social robots that had a screen for events, but what really caught my attention was CLOi, a SocialBot. This is not just some metal humanoid. This is a nifty little machine that resembles a Google Home or an Alexa in size and was specially developed for emotional interactions. The design reminds me of the Jibo robot that recently “passed away”.

I first saw Jibo on SXSW during a presentation by its creator, Cynthia Breazeal. Then it remained quiet around the bot, until last year. Jibo appeared to have been overtaken by something called ‘the handicap of the head start’. The robot was extremely good at mirroring human behavior, but not intelligent enough to compete with the likes of Alexa and Google Home. Additionally, Jibo was much too expensive. Check out how Jibo tragically announced its own death.

It’s interesting to see how LG follows a comparable path with its own SocialBot, except for the fact that this bot mostly focuses on sight instead of movement. I also found some other automated machines in the LG house, like a beer dispenser and an ice machine. This means that the SocialBot is not an isolated case, but should be seen as an intermediary for other LG appliances, that will – of course – become increasingly intelligent in the following years.

Funny dance

When robots do a funny dance, it attracts attention. But what is much more interesting is what role these bots will fulfill in the future. During presentations, I usually refer to the Chinese Nio Nomi car that has a similar interface built in to shape the interaction between the functionalities and the driver. The first time I saw this car was also at SXSW.

Relationship between man and machine

The topic du jour on SXSW is the relationship between man and machine, our intellect and AI, and the ethics that come with it. In that sense, you could also view a dancing robot as a way to bridge the gap. It’s super interesting that Asian companies choose the path of social robotics, instead of the more functional road that Amazon and Google Home are following.

In that context, it’s interesting to think about what Douglas Rushkoff said about the collaboration between robots and non-humans. Rushkoff has a mission that he calls “Team Human”. For those that follow his podcast, this wasn’t news, but he always knows how to spin it with powerful statements such as: “We don’t need a substitute for real life.”

He argues that robots should not be treated as slaves and that if we resort to this kind of behavior, we regress to feudal times, bringing us down as a race: “Respect non-human rights!”

Working together with AI

This also came up during the ‘Academia and the Rise of Commercial Robots’ panel. We’re currently on an engineering plateau; the next step is to use social science to enable cultural interactions.

In another panel, active and passive AI were discussed, where passive refers to service-oriented AI that follows your orders, whereas active AI refers to bots that initiate actions themselves. Questions from the audience suggest that not everybody is completely comfortable with these new developments. Next to concerns surrounding privacy, people are clearly afraid of robots and AI taking over the world.

Ethics is an important theme during SXSW, especially when it comes to robots and AI. Both John Maeda and Stephen Anderson pointed out, for example, how the designer’s work field changes: our job doesn’t revolve around a single artifact, it extends much further. The underlying system is key. If you would like to know more, I warmly recommend Maeda’s DesignInTech report and Anderson’s framing model.

So, how will we work together with AI? How will we understand each other? SXSW discusses the dangers and the role of robotics and AI, but also about how we will experience the world through these new technologies, tools and interfaces.

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