What would it take for you to give up your own car?

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Have you heard about MaaS, Mobility-as-a-Service? Then you might have come across the buzz around this new phenomenon, which could be compared to what Amazon has done for the book market and how Netflix changed the way we consume tv-series. And if not, now it’s definitely a good time to check out what MaaS is all about.

On Wednesday 31th of October around 40 ”MaaS-minded” fellows gathered together on Barona’s HQ to hear keynotes from Sampo Hietanen, CEO of Maas Global and Sonja Heikkilä, Program Director on Mobility Services at OP Financial Group. Our Senior Consultant Arja Martikainen from Barona IT was the charming hostess of the evening.

“What would it take for you to give up your own car?”
Sampo Hietanen told that MaaS Global, the creators of Whim, are bold enough to ask the big question: what would it take for you to give up your own car? Sampo believes, that this question will be solved in peoples mind, not in the laboratory or with technology. Different types of transportation can be combined as a one service, but according to Sampo Hietanen that is just not enough. MaaS-concepts can work if people can achieve same dreams than they would by owning a car, and preferably even something better: “Our goal is to give our users freedom to be able to go anywhere they want, all over the world, by using just one single app: Whim”, Sampo says.


Less hassle & greener cities. © Sampo Hietala, MaaS Global

Sampo and his team believes that MaaS as a concept can provide less hassle, more free time, greener cities and happier living without having to give away your own and personal freedom of transportation. However, the competitor – a car – is not an easy one: for example, the automotive industry has been operating around 100 years and have huge amounts of talented designers to create winning user experiences. Although Whim’s team will soon have just their third designer, the goals aren’t lower at all: Sampo and his team at MaaS Global want to create and provide a user experience which is much more individualised than today. As Sampo said, if you have a “bad hair day” (caused by whichever reason) your transportation needs can be hugely different than in a day you are full of energy and want to enjoy fresh air while you are commuting.

After Sampo’s talk Sonja Heikkilä from OP Financial Group took the stage. Sonja is one of the most well-known MaaS-specialists in Finland and her thesis gained a lot of attention when it was published in 2014. Today Sonja has been leading OP’s MaaS-initiatives for over 2 years.

OP’s angle to MaaS-concept differs a bit from Whim: as Whim is combining different transportation modes under to a one service, OP is building new services which were before missing. Historically car insurances have been an important business to OP, and when the mindset of owning a car is little by little changing, OP wants to take initiative also in creating long-lasting business with the new phenomena. This is one of the reasons OP is investing a lot in developing different MaaS-related services in Finland.
“The trend is from ownership to usership, and to deposit your money to something more profitable – or funnier – than a car.”
Sonja believes that two major trends are making the revolution of MaaS (Mobility as a Service) possible:
  1. Development of technology has made it possible for people to change their consuming and user behavior. Think about self-driving cars as an example!
  2. At the same time the mindset of ownership seems to be changing. The trend is from ownership to usership, and to deposit your money to something more profitable – or funnier – than a car - which is in use for only few percent of its lifetime. This applies to time also: nowadays many of us want to use more time i.e. with the family or friends instead of comparing service fees or selecting new winter tires. 

In addition to these trends it is of course also crucial that there is enough of services and companies providing these already. MaaS gives an opportunity to combine the advantages of public transport & other services and still to have an individual user experience. That’s one of the reasons why user is in the center of Mobility as a Service ecosystem.

Näyttökuva 2018-11-1 kello 18.05.00Different needs of different individuals. © Sonja Heikkilä, OP Financial Group

Needs for transportation differ and depend on your current life situation - even on the day of the week and time of the day. That’s why OP is also offering different kind of services as an alternative to owning a car. From OP you can rent a car with minute-by-minute charge as well as rent it for few months or even for a year. These might be the thing for i.e. summer-cottage-season or for the year when all of the children has their hobbies in different parts of the city.

Last but not least Sonja wanted us to remember the importance of so-called last mile service. Think about the case you would like to travel to your parents by train and use travel time to work, but your parents lives 50 kilometers away from the railway stop and there are no bus connections. This is the place where co-owning and MaaS-concepted services show their value: you could rent a car just for the trip from here to there – or maybe even a bike, if you are brave enough!

After the keynotes Sonja and Sampo participated in a panel discussion together with Maas Global’s CTO Sami Pippuri. Thank you to all of our guests and participants and hope to see you soon again!