I spent 15-18 February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Although I was mainly doing my real job as Head of Ovum’s Mobile Practice, I was also keeping an eye out for any initiatives about sustainable personal mobility.
There wasn’t much, although there were quite a few location-based services companies offering navigation products and services, and some of the main vendors were continuing to drape themselves in green with wind-and-solar powered base stations.
The personal travel highlights were:
- Econav, a product offered by the Spanish software company Crambo. This is a GPS-based driver behaviour solution, telling drivers how much carbon their trip has emitted and how they could drive better – accelerate less, brake less, etc. At the moment Crambo offers it as a service on personal navigation devices, including its own product. But it is looking at porting it across as an application for mobile phones, starting with Symbian.
- Chronomove, an iPhone navigation assistant, which includes multi-mode information, tells you how long your journey will take, and calculates the emissions for you. The product is offered by the French company Senda, and is based on the map data set provided by Naviteq.
I was also rather fond of LocatioNet, which was showing off its ‘AmAzeGPS’ navigation application. Strictly speaking this is nothing to do with sustainability; it’s an ad-funded navigation service, comparable to what you can get on a personal navigation device in that it includes turn-by-turn directions, but free as long as you can tolerate ads from Burger King, KFC etc. Although it’s primarily aimed at drivers, company president Ofer Tziperman explained that a walking version was in the making, and he had clearly thought of the possibility of partnering with a public transport provider that could then use the ad delivery platform to offer messages.
My personal travel ‘lowlight’ was a discussion with one device vendor who had better remain nameless about the absence of any sustainability-oriented products from its portfolio – who then suggested that the WorldMate airline information product was its contribution, since it helped users not to miss flights. I’m prepared to be broad in my definition of what promotes sustainable transport, but not that broad.