Welcome to the 2018 edition of VELOCITY, Oliver Wyman’s Journal of Travel, Transport and Logistics.
The theme of VELOCITY this year is disruption and how to capitalize on it. As far as the eye can see, there is disruption cutting across every corner of these industries - from the manufacturers who make planes, trains, and trucks to the airlines, railroads, and hospitality companies that move people and goods to those companies that help service and maintain these heavy assets. Change will not come as incremental alterations to which businesses can easily adapt, but rather fundamental, potentially destabilizing transitions that will require substantial investment, agility, and new strategic thinking.
The main perpetrator, as it has been since the advent of the internet, is technology. But where it once took a decade to unhinge an industry, new technologies a few years old now have the potential to redefine the rules.
This edition of VELOCITY analyzes the powerful forces reshaping the transportation industry and articulates the challenging times facing companies as they enter the age of autonomy.
Take, for instance, smart speakers which only made their debut in 2015; by the end of 2017, more than 43 million Americans and 100 million people worldwide owned one, with projections those numbers would more than double by 2020. Smart speakers are on the cusp of reshaping the travel industry, as we discuss in this year’s VELOCITY, but the artificial intelligence that makes them possible is restructuring almost every aspect of transportation – from autonomous vehicles, to predictive maintenance, to real-time travel information and traffic control.
Across the sectors, technologies are converging to create a future that used to be reserved for science fiction. And while the job of technology is to make life easier, it has made doing business more challenging – if only to stay abreast of the constant change and decide which revolution du jour is worth your company’s attention.
As you’ll read in VELOCITY, technology is empowering the customer. Whether it’s through apps that allow travellers to use real-time data to tell them when to jump from the subway to a rideshare to avoid delays or a robust wireless connection that lets travellers do a little e-commerce on their commute and then pick up their purchase at a locker in the station, consumers are demanding more choices, more efficiency, and more connectivity – because they know it’s possible.