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Combined Mobility

In conversation with the ‘Meet the Start-ups’ Challenge winners: AXON VIBE

  • Global
  • Data
  • Future of Mobility
  • Integrated mobility
  • Intermodality
  • Urban development
  • Urban mobility

About the challenge

During the UITP Asia-Pacific Conference 2020, which took place on October 22nd and 23rd, the winners of our ‘Meet the Start-ups’ Challenge were announced.

We got the opportunity to speak with Julian Rossy from FAIRTIQ and Kilian Ulm from AXON VIBE, the two winners of the challenge. They explained the nature of their start-ups and discussed how the services they provide can support the future of urban mobility.

In the interview with Chief Business Officer of AXON VIBE, Kilian Ulm, we learned about this smart mobility platform and its contribution to a seamless and inter-modal mobility of tomorrow.

Congratulations for winning the ‘Meet the Start-ups’ challenge with AXON VIBE. What is this start-up all about and what makes it special compared to other similar applications?

Our Smart Mobility Platform (and mobile app) helps public transport operators (PTO) and authorities (PTA) capture their customer’s door-to-door travel patterns by analysing 24/7 GPS location and motion data from customer’s smartphones.

We have in-house user experience and design teams which work closely with our partnering PTO/PTA to convert those derived real-world behaviour insights and customer context into true personalization for end user through effective contextual information to the customer.

Today, standard journey planning and/or ticketing apps, as well as smart cards, are limited to capturing customer behaviour between stations. We help PTO/PTA to also understand their customers behaviour before, and after they travel by public transport […].

Last but not least, our business model is success-based on revenue share. The third-party revenue that we help PTO/PTA to generate compensates for the cost of the Smart Mobility Platform and generates revenue on top, for all stakeholders.


How has AXON VIBE contributed to mobility during the COVID-19 pandemic, and what solutions can it offer for a mobility in these special circumstances?

Currently, there is a confidence loss in public transport. Our solution collects real-time information on crowded stations and vehicles and steers customers around them by anticipating impacted journeys and proactively proposing alternative routes. This helps complying with social distancing, rebuilds trust and wins back ridership.

Furthermore, travel, and especially commuter patterns, have significantly changed due to working from home […]. Our technology automatically detects customer’s journeys on public and private modes-of-transport and therefore helps to understand the door-to-door behaviours of customers in the “new normal” […]. This data insights help PTO/PTA optimize their existing services and introduce new demand-responsive first/last mile services.

Finally, revenues from ticket sales have declined and many PTO/PTA require state funding. We help PTO/PTA connect the daily travel touchpoints of their customers with the mobility and commercial ecosystems around them to run effective marketing campaigns. As an example, by offering a free coffee to welcome customers back on public transport or apologize for a delay, we can increase customer satisfaction, strengthen the PTO/PTA brand and boost local business by helping them attract new customers.

AXON VIBE connects public transport operators, authorities, and passengers. What are the main benefits of such a connected system?

We believe in customer-centricity when connecting operators, authorities, shared mobility service providers, and passengers. […] Through our Smart Mobility Platform, we identify how and why people travel, and what each customer’s preferences are. This helps to offer the most suitable modal-mix to each individual customer and increase customer satisfaction.

Public transport operators and authorities invest significantly into their public transport networks. Covid-19 has had a major impact on the revenue stream from ticket sales and puts funding under pressure. Offering a customer-centric connected system powered by our platform helps PTO/PTA gain back mobile reach and monetize this reach with contextual marketing campaigns which the end user appreciates, because they are relevant to his/her real-world experiences.

An efficient connected transportation system across all modes-of-transport is the backbone of Smart Cities. Customer data insights create the fundamental understanding for connecting eco-systems to benefit the individual citizens and the wider society. Therefore, we must focus on connecting the customer with the eco-systems around them.

An efficient connected transportation system across all modes-of-transport is the backbone of Smart Cities.
Kilian Ulm
Chief Business Officer, AXON VIBE

You gather sensitive sensor data such as location and motion data from the passenger’s smartphones. How does AXON VIBE comply with data privacy laws?

Over the past several years, we have established a modern approach to privacy that complies with data privacy laws and regulations such as the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Our Smart Mobility Platform applies the core principles, that customers are always asked for their explicit consent to share data for specific purposes, the customer has full control over the collection and analysis of the data and can access all raw data and derived insights on his/her private user dashboard for transparency reasons. […]

In our projects we conduct privacy workshops where we involve the PTO/PTA privacy officers and authorities at an early stage. The goals are to identify specific privacy requirements in the PTO/PTA geographic location and discuss reputational risks at an early stage. Proactive communication has proven key to mitigating those risks.

How do you imagine the future of mobility, and what can AXON VIBE contribute to it?

We believe the future of mobility will be seamless across public, shared, and private modes. We contribute by enabling location-based and real-time navigation systems for a holistic and convenient inter-modal mobility, where customers are proactively informed about relevant disruptions at the right time and in the right context. […] Essential Connector App for MTA NY and the SmartWay App by Swiss Federal Railways are two products in the market that are powered by AXON VIBE and deliver seamless mobility.

Simplifying the complexity of using public transport will be key to motivating more people to use it. Having the right ticket can be tricky with complex fare calculation based on zones and routes. Our journey detection technology enables seamless be-in/be-out ticketing where customers do not have to buy tickets anymore but get a mobility invoice with automatically calculated best price for their travelled journeys at the end of the month. Deutsche Bahn’s Tickin App is such a solution, the first check-in/be-out ticketing app purely based on smartphone sensors and powered by AXON VIBE.

We see the possibility that public transport will be more and more cross-subsidized with third-party revenue generated along the travel chain. […]. After a successful campaigns with Swiss Federal Railways in Switzerland we are now piloting contextual marketing with Japan Railways East as well as SMRT as finalist of the Singapore Mobility Challenge.

We believe the future of mobility will be seamless across public, shared, and private modes. We contribute by enabling location-based and real-time navigation systems for a holistic and convenient inter-modal mobility […].
Kilian Ulm
Chief Business Officer, AXON VIBE

What are the next steps of development for AXON VIBE and 2021 objectives in terms of geographic deployment and new/improved application features?

Besides establishing new partnerships with large transport operators and authorities in Europe, North America and Asia, a major objective is to further develop our existing and very fruitful partnerships with Deutsche Bahn, MTA New York, Japan Railways East, SMRT and Swiss Federal Railways. Our partners do not compete with each other and therefore benefit from global synergies and a fast time-to-market.

A focus area for our Smart Mobility Platform is the improved inter-modal nudging to propose shared mobility services for the first/last mile in the context of faster, cheaper and/or greener travel. This also relates to our focus on shifting car drivers to use public transport or shift from public transport to shared mobility in the right context (e.g. social distancing, disruptions, etc.). Major focus is also extending the scope and improving our capabilities for contextual marketing campaigns to generate third-party revenue for PTO/PTA.

Read the interview with Julian Rossy from FAIRTIQ, the second winner of the AP ‘Meet the Start-ups’ Challenge, here

Want to learn more about the latest innovations in urban mobility?

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