SkedGo: SME innovation through CRC collaboration
Project: MaaS trial in Sydney (final report at Sydney MaaS trial: Design, implementation, lessons, the future
Project partners: SkedGo, IAG, and the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney
- SME using collaboration to lower risk and add value to product R&D
- Project outcomes now being sold in the UK, Europe, Japan, US and Australia
- Advancing the body of knowledge of MaaS and traveller behaviour
The appeal of Mobility as a Service (MaaS) comes from its ability to integrate travel modes, options and payments in a way that delivers for both travellers and providers in our data-driven age. iMOVE has been working with partners to advance technology in the MaaS space since its inception in 2017.
One partner at the forefront of this approach is SkedGo, a global Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS) technology provider for governments, companies and start-ups.
From its start-up beginnings SkedGo has been smart about how it succeeds in a competitive marketplace. An open-minded approach to finding opportunities has been important to its success. This includes partnering in iMOVE projects like the recent Sydney MaaS trial with insurance company IAG and the Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at the University of Sydney.
SkedGo’s role as a technology partner and enabler of this trial provided it with an opportunity to develop new modules for its product ‘TripGo’.
“We built new modules for our existing solution through this collaboration, and it was something we saw great value in doing,” says SkedGo founder and chairman, Claus Von Hessberg.
Finding funding for R&D is a common challenge for small companies, even more established ones such as SkedGo. Collaborating through iMOVE CRC was therefore an appealing approach for a company playing the long game.
“The aim was to then to sell these modules into Europe, North America and Asia; we effectively used the Australian project as the incubator.”
Successful MaaS implementation requires collaboration, both within the industry and with governments and authorities around the world. This project is a good example of where the benefits and impact of collaboration are much greater than the challenges initially faced, in part also due to the contribution of the academic partner.
The Institute of Transport and Logistics Studies (ITLS) at The University of Sydney was a key player from the beginning through ITLS founding director, Professor David Hensher. Prof. Hensher worked with the iMOVE team, industry partner IAG and SkedGo to make sure all the parts were in place for a successful collaboration.
“We needed the industry partner to drive the project, and the academic partner to validate it in research terms, as well as guide how we do it,” says Von Hessberg.
What’s more, working with a university partner brought benefits of MaaS and mobility knowledge more generally, in the form of new thinking and knowledge that contributes to the project and to the body of expertise.
“Having the academic partnership here in Australia has enabled us to analyse the data in more meaningful ways and understand user behaviour more deeply,” adds Von Hessberg.
A total of 26 research papers and presentations (and counting) were produced with insights from the trial by ITLS – a significant contribution to the body of knowledge in the MaaS area.
The future of MaaS
The project is part of SkedGo’s strategy to continue to be pioneers when it comes to technology development in MaaS. The company continues to use what was developed and learnt in the Sydney trial overseas, and more recently in Queensland, where it provides the platform for the Odin Pass trial currently underway through iMOVE, as well as with partners Department of Transport, Main Roads, Queensland and the University of Queensland.
While the research is clearly delivering on a commercial level, and advancing MaaS and mobility knowledge, it has a broader impact which is more difficult to quantify. It contributes to Australian innovation by providing global visibility and enhancing the attraction of Australia as a country that values bright minds in a sector currently undergoing rapid transformation and digitalisation.
MaaS remains an evolving sector with potential to apply in more, and niche, areas. SkedGo is currently applying the outcomes of the Sydney trial in many places and there are new directions that MaaS can take. Regional transport, paratransit and transport for enterprise are all areas where MaaS can play an important role.
Von Hessberg sees the main challenges with future developments being more about user experience, adoption and retention than technological.
“The technology is mostly there, and the Sydney trial has also played an important part in helping us to further understand our users.”