Contribution by Peter Lawther, Chief Technology Officer, Fujitsu Australia & New Zealand

The transport industry, whether focused on freight transport or people transport, faces threats from traditional competitors as well as emerging ones, such as drones and ride-sharing applications.

Demand isn’t the issue; people and businesses will always require reliable, fast, safe transport and logistics services, whether it’s for quick delivery of online purchases, predictable transport of raw materials for manufacturers, or fast travel to an important meeting.

Far from being intimidated by emerging technology, transport business should look to leverage new technology to compete more effectively and even create new business models.

At Fujitsu, we’ve identified seven key trends that are likely to impact the transport industry in 2019. It’s important to aware of these trends and act now to prepare.

1. Taking the Internet of Things (IoT) seriously

Freight transport faces many challenges, including ensuring safety, reliability of service, efficiency of delivery, and a need to find growth. IoT technology will provide increased asset productivity, lower costs, improved driver health and safety, increased visibility into the supply chain, and predictive maintenance. However, IoT technology projects haven’t yet scaled beyond proof of concept. This will need to change if the sector is to make meaningful progress towards digital transformation.

2. Reaching digital maturity

According to new research from Gartner, a high degree of digital maturity is already present in the transport sector, with only two per cent of respondents stating they have no digital initiatives on their roadmaps, compared to 10 per cent in 2018. The insights from the research also showed that 21 per cent of digital initiatives within the sector are in the scale phase, increasing from seven per cent in 2018. And 10 per cent of CIOs are already redefining their digital initiatives by optimising their digital business and seeking new opportunities, an improvement from three per cent in 2018.1 While digital progress is on a limited front, it is happening.

3. Disruption by digital platforms

The digital platform economy has disrupted the passenger transport industry with the introduction of Uber and other ride-sharing platforms. In 2019, freight transport is likely to be next impacted. Amazon in the United States, for example, has launched the Amazon Delivery Service Partner to empower entrepreneurs to move into the logistics delivery space.2

4. Exploration of blockchain to drive efficiency and trust

Transport is potentially a natural fit for blockchain initiatives, as it can increase trust and security between participants in wider value chains, and can automate transaction and payments within those chains. In 2019, companies will start exploring blockchain to see how they can make it yield fruit.

5. Customer relationships to get higher priority

The research from Gartner shows CIOs within the transport sector want to improve the quality of customer relationships. 3 As a result, CIOs are placing an increased emphasis on collecting and analysing customer data to gather insights.

6. Coordinated roll-out of artificial intelligence (AI)

While most CIOs consider AI to be a game-changer, few are willing to invest in it, according to Gartner.4 While initial AI implementations included chatbots within call centres and autonomous vehicles, this will begin to change in 2019, with transportation companies now looking to AI for robotic process automation.

7. Lack of funds, resources, and skills

There will be no let-up in the pressure on resources in 2019. Your business may not have the funds available to innovate quickly enough in your digital journey. Consequently, many transportation companies are looking for partnerships with IT service firms, startups, or software providers to help fill the gap in IT resources and skill sets. These ecosystems are bringing innovation and helping to accelerate organisations’ digital strategies, creating new marketplaces and communities. These trends include plenty of opportunity for smart transport businesses to take the lead and gain a first-mover advantage. In an increasingly-competitive marketplace, your business will need to find every advantage possible. Working with a knowledgeable, collaborative technology partner can help you create value in your business and take a leading position in the industry.

Footnotes:

[1] 2019 CIO Agenda: Transportation Industry Insights, Gartner, October 2018

[2] https://logistics.amazon.com/marketing/opportunity

[3] 2019 CIO Agenda: Transportation Industry Insights, Gartner, October 2018

[4] 2019 CIO Agenda: Transportation Industry Insights, Gartner, October 2018

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