Blog Post #6:

The Future: Limitless Urban Movement

Co-Founder Josh Baah shares his thoughts on the future of connectivity in a post-Covid world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has widely accelerated digital transformation and further increased our reliance on our mobile devices. Luckily, Team Joos have been able to make the most of this period, launching our new charging service across the UK, ready to enable everyone to stay connected as things get back to normal. Below, our Co-Founder, Josh Baah, gives his thoughts on the future of connectivity in this new world.

Thinking towards a post-covid lockdown society, the past year has undeniably accelerated both the digital transformation of the economy and micromobility. It may seem strange that I will make this claim — the sharing economy is going to continue to grow at an exponential rate — but it will. And this will be largely down to two key reasons:

Firstly, brands such as Lime and Bird have become household names. In 2019, the major players racked up a whopping 250 million rides combined. These micromobility companies, built on the sharing economy, are now being joined by the European players in the market, Tier, Voi & Dott, who are following in their wake with reasoned yet aggressive expansion strategies to capture as much of the market as quickly as possible.

Secondly, and quite possibly a once in a generation opportunity, is the elephant in the micromobility room — the Covid-19 pandemic. How this will affect the workplace is yet to be fully realised. However, the one thing we do know is, cities have never had a better opportunity to adapt their urban environments to facilitate the growing transport needs of its populations, redefining the relationship between vehicle choice and type of trip.

Casting our eyes to 5, 10 years in the future, what will the modern city look like? Maybe not quite like Back to the Future, but there will almost definitely be micro travel. Mass transit systems will still remain the primary and most efficient way to move from A to B, but unfortunately, we can’t all live within walking distance of our nearest station. This is why there will be continued growth in the micromobility space to increase the efficiency of the much talked about first and last mile. Technology is crucial to this — as micromobility develops new vehicle form factors and Mobility as a Service grows via transport integrations with mobile mapping software — essentially allowing people to select the most appropriate mode of transport for their trip type.

None of this however, is possible without a piece of tech conceptualised in 1973. When Cooper and his team invented the mobile phone, it was intended to be just that — a phone that is mobile. Today it is the key that dictates how you experience the world we live in, from payments or mobile tickets to QR codes and mapping.

So what does this have to do with micromobility?

Even with a massive micromobility charging network in place, the hardware becomes redundant if people are unable to access it. Smartphones hold the key that opens doors to all digital platforms and services in our physical world. The issue here is that this “key” begins to erode the moment you leave your house in the morning, leaving you fearful and wondering which door you may not be able to open. This highlights the relationship between a phone and ever depleting battery life. When considering the fact that the pandemic has served to increase digitalisation, combined with increasing smartphone CPU outpacing improvements in battery technology, it becomes clear that it is essential that charging facilities for mobile devices also improve. Especially when so much of today’s travel is depended on digital navigation.

Charging more generally, is also key for the widescale adoption & industry evolution of micromobility — swappable batteries are not only a key part of such infrastructure, but it’s the most convenient. This innovation will save valuable wasted hours that currently are spent waiting whilst charging. Some companies in the space are early adopters such as Tier Energy with their swappable battery network.

To enable all of this in our new digital world, Joos has got you covered. As Europe’s only vertically integrated power bank supplier. Users simply pick up a power bank from one location, charge on the move, and then drop off at any other location in the network. We envision a future where our customers have the luxury to hit low battery life in confidence that their next destination has a Joos station available. Make that payment, rent that scooter, use CityMapper all day long — it’s a lifestyle powered by Joos.

Horace Dediu — the man who coined the term micromobilty, defines the movement as “urban freedom”. Add a drop of Joos you get — limitless, urban freedom.

12 January 2020