Place Consulting Partner, Christer Asplund, recently contributed to an article in Dagens Samhälle about the benefits of using of mobile technology demonstration sites to develop advantages for cities and regions in Sweden. The article focused on the Swedish municipality, Trollhättan.
“Sweden should vigorously work with smart mobile solutions. The most effective way is to create a demonstration site where future mobile everyday services are already used and tested by ordinary users. In Trollhättan there are a range of local partners establishing such cooperation, whic more people can learn from.”Read the full article here (in Swedish).
Trollhättan takes the lead in the mobile community
Sweden should vigorously work with smart mobile solutions. The most effective way is to create a demonstration site in the future where everyday mobile services are used and tested by ordinary users. In Trollhättan, a range of local partners have established such cooperation, which people can learn from.
Sweden has a long tradition of early introduction of IT applications, especially mobile systems. It is important for growth reasons that we defend this position. Now that 90 percent of all phones sold in Sweden are smart phones we should take advantage of the opportunities that arise, particularly in local governments. Developments in e-society is in full swing, and this also creates favorable conditions for mobile service development. Citizens should have a greater ability to perform everyday services via their mobiles.
Sweden, as well as Europe, ought to establish smart mobile solutions – also with the possibility of built-in payment transactions. The most effective way is to establish a demonstration site where mobile are used for everyday services, then methodically tested and used by end-users. The establishment of demo sites is necessary because it is extremely difficult to calculate in advance on a drawing board how the end-user’s behavior will look.
Unfortunately, Europe has fallen behind in the global competition for introduction for everyday services and transactions through mobile phones. Today, the lead has been taken by Asian locations such as Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and even Africa. Admittedly, a few European locations, such as Tallinn, demonstrate systemic approaches. But the main impression is still that Europe performs as bad in practice, wrecking the ambitions of the EU’s Lisbon ambitions a few years ago. Thus, it is sluggish in Europe.
Sweden can play an active role and take the lead in Europe. The conditions are: • A well-built mobile infrastructure.
• Large share of smartphones.
• Consumers who are open to the news.
• Well organized sites that are prepared to think innovatively and who are carriers of many everyday services which we know is appreciated by the end users.
• Ample access to internet businesses and app-builder and a number of investment-ready venture capital firms (eg Niklas Zennström with the focus on payment solutions, Klarna.)
• Telecom companies are now introducing a collaboration on mobile payment services (including 4T, which is jointly owned by Tele 2, Company 3, Telenor and Telia).
Today, Europe, including Sweden, is behind, even though we have these conditions. What is the problem? The answer is that the market needs demo sites that are prepared to think laterally and can contribute and be a model to legitimize the process and add new services. Europe needs more visionary places.
Here in Sweden, Trollhättan decided to invest in a systematic back-up of mobile services with everyday profile – combined with payment transactions. In Trollhättan, there are a range of local partners who have come together to set up a demo site for mobile payment services. At the forefront are University West in Trollhättan and the City and a number of companies. In Trollhättan, there is now a platform that was systematically launched as a user-driven innovation process to develop new payment relevant mobile apps.
What does this mean in practice ? Let us illustrate with four short demo site examples:
• The 12,000 students and 850 staff at University West are now able to pay more everyday services, such as lunches on campus, parking and library services through a fast movement of the phone. Just a few seconds it takes compared to the 30 seconds schabbel that today constantly going in checkout queues.
• Seniors may now, in collaboration with the municipality omsorgsnämnd, the opportunity to do their grocery shopping using mobile technology, thereby increasing their autonomy and freedom of choice. The seniors also avoid concerns over its cash.
• Energy company cooperates with the local real estate companies to encourage their tenants to save energy. This gives bonus when renting a property joint electric car. In addition, the billing of energy consumption is gradually being tested with a pilot of utility customers for the energy company.
• The local newspaper, a digital platform for rapid and interactive event information, and other local news simple and straightforward posted via mobile phones.
Together spun as a web service which deals accumulate, step by step, to something called stadsappen. It is only when stadsappen is that the wide use can take place and be attractive to the large amount of citizens as users. Then we built an M-City Trollhättan. A prerequisite for this type of demo site is that users and providers of information, feel they have a convenient access to the site’s overall offerings. Only then can we talk about a demo site in terms of an M-City.
To develop services to get started seriously needed a dense network of dedicated makers, especially in municipal government and its departments. A single company can of course create one or another exciting service. But in an M-City context it is important to add the service so that it feels natural for residents to use the various services and also become part of a co-productive supplier systems.
M-City Trollhättan has already attracted attention in Europe for his holistic approach with added services. In both Europe and Sweden Context project has emphasized that everything should be documented in a transparent manner, thereby facilitating more demo sites to get started. It is our belief that the present development of services, including payment transactions, will become commonplace in ten years. Therefore, there are reasons to facilitate more places to begin the transition to an easier everyday life and more efficient operations in our increasingly digital society. This will also strengthen our Swedish business community with rows of companies that can develop and test new mobile apps also linked payment solutions.