EMEA: Mercedes mobility – maybe without a Mercedes?
At the simplest level, “Internet of Things,” connected car, M2M and telematics have all been buzzwords synonymous with the integration of telecommunications and automotive. Now “mobility” is entering the mix. Many years ago – let’s not mention how many – mobility was a term relating to mobile phones. The definition is as follows: Mobility is the capability of moving or being moved. The term as used in wireless telecommunications is to indicate that a wireless device or a service may be used while moving. Now this term seems to have migrated into the connected car discussion with context specific to traffic and the ability to get from point A to point B regardless of the transport methodology.
When looking at the connected car related to the mobility topic; the focus is on getting from point A to point B in the best possible fashion, and may or may not involve a car. Or it may or may not involve your personal car. But the focus is for the car to be able to tell you the best way to move between these locations. It begins with apps to allow you to do this before seeing functionality in your car; although bits of it are showing up in navigation systems that will route you all the way to a final destination even after you have parked. Here is already talking about it.
What’s impressive is to hear automotive OEMs talk about this topic as part or all of the journey could take place outside of a vehicle, which they provide. Mercedes appears to be the first OEM to firmly take a step in this direction with its Move Me services.
There are currently nine options that make up the choices to move you from point A to point B. These include: car2go, car2go black, Blacklane, Park2gether, Mercedes-Benz Rent, mytaxi, carpooling, Flixbus and moovel. If you aren’t in Germany you may not have heard of all of these and if you are in Germany, like I am, you may not have already been aware that all of these options are provided under the Mercedes umbrella Move Me program. Let’s consider how they fit together.
Based on the Smart, car2go and car2go black are car sharing services. Using a mobile app or the website, you are able to book a car for a one-time use and pay by the minute picking it up and dropping it off on the street within the service area. The difference with car2go black is it allows for one-way trips between cities where car2go service is provided. Billing is by the hour and based on the Mercedes B Class cars. Blacklane takes it up a notch with chauffeur-driven services with only a minimum of 15 minutes notice to book. If you want to have a Mercedes for a longer period of time, you can also rent one online from Mercedes-Benz Rent.
There are also a series of apps available as a part of the Move Me services. Park2gether helps you find and book a parking spot from public and private offers. Some people own more than one spot in a city and aren’t using the second one full time; this is an option to make that spot available for short parking intervals and earn money on your investment.
Maybe driving your own or shared car isn’t your desired choice. There are also a series of apps to enable other logistics. Exactly as it sounds, mytaxi boasts 11 million users and 45,000 taxis, and offers the ability to book, pay and rate your experience. Carpooling through carpooling.com is hugely popular in Europe, but hasn’t caught on as much in the U.S. If you’re driving from point A to point B and you’ve got three empty seats in your car, why not fill them up with paying passengers? The app lets you find, book and pay. Honestly, I haven’t tried this because I’m a bit uncomfortable with the safety concerns, but I have many friends who do this all the time and feel very safe. But then again it’s Germany and it is very safe and 1.4 million people are using it. Flixbus provides access to a bus network.
This sounds a little disjointed and still needs the use of more then one app. But there is a step in the right direction with moovel. This app brings together the choices mentioned above along with public transportation and mapping options. To get you from point A to wherever you want to go.
With these steps from Mercedes and a similar direction coming from Here, I don’t expect it will be that much longer before we start to see our cars helping to navigate an entire journey that may not actually include much of it taking place in the car. AT&T Mobility’s Rob Hyatt, director of automotive business development stated on RCR Wireless News’ recent connected car webinar that, “today the location most people want to actually navigate to is the closest parking spot to their destination and not their final destination.” Such an easy analogy to help put into focus what the complete journey from point A to point B requires.
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Claudia Bacco, Managing Director – EMEA for RCR Wireless News, has spent her entire career in telecom, IT and security. Having experience as an operator, software and hardware vendor and as a well-known industry analyst, she has many opinions on the market. She’ll be sharing those opinions along with ongoing trend analysis for RCR Wireless News.