Digitisation permeates almost all areas of our lives, and some disruptive technologies and business models have completely overturned habits that have been lived for decades and generations: How do we sit together with our families in the evening? That has changed once again with the introduction of the smartphone. How do we shop? Looking at our account statements, we notice that there are more and more statements for digital payment services in online shops instead of department store withdrawals or even cash withdrawals. Or that we order the delivery service by app instead of going to the pub close by. Or instead of going to the cinema, letting the streaming service debit from the bank account. Entire industries are facing and already had to face a shock.
In our inner cities, we can see the changes in the facades and shop windows. They now have to reinvent themselves – based on our changed shopping behaviour, but also based on mobility behaviour and taking into account new, more flexible forms of working life. In the future, for example, we will be switching even more frequently and at even shorter notice between modes of transport. We will be getting more and more involved in shared and autonomous vehicles. The research and development of new mobility concepts began many years ago due to the impact of overcrowded metropolises, noise and air pollution worldwide. The associated design of urban space requires new instruments for urban planners and decision-makers that do justice to the high complexity of decisions.
Automobile City of Aachen
Fortunately, companies and institutes from Aachen reacted with high speed to technical progress in the mobility sector: In recent years, our city has once again developed into an automobile city and is regarded as a hotspot for future-oriented mobility. The success of the street scooter, an electric delivery vehicle, was transferred to Deutsche Post, where it is now mass-produced. In Aachen, the street scooter has long been part of the familiar streetscape and the electric delivery vehicle is also increasingly represented in other locations throughout Germany.
With e.GO at the RWTH and SVEN at the FH Aachen, new electric vehicles for the consumer market are currently being developed which will hit the road starting from the university laboratories in the coming months. The first autonomous bus is expected to arrive on Aachen’s roads in 2019. And a few weeks ago, in September 2018, Airbus launched the Urban Air Mobility Initiative, which aims to enable even more future-oriented mobility into the third dimension, even across borders in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. Both in the cases of the street scooter and e.GO among many other mobility projects, Dialego is behind the wheel as well.
These initiatives, which can be considered a revolution, will fundamentally redefine mobility in the coming years. However, this can only succeed if they experience a successful diffusion, i.e. if they are accepted by the citizens. This requires a relevant benefit for the people. The citizen must be put at the centre of all innovation and every new product or service must serve the well-being of everyone concerned in order to be sustainably established.
Popup store: Informing, discussing, hopping on board
Starting December 3, we invite you to have a look at this initiative for three weeks. In the immediate vicinity of the Aachen Christmas Market, the city opens the popup store regarding the subject of mobility with the participation of businesses (in addition to Dialego, including Ford, FEV, Lumileds and e.GO), municipal mobility service providers (Aseag, Stawag) and science (RWTH Aachen University).
This innovative initiative is customer-centric and aims to answer questions about how we will move through the city in 2030. What perspectives do cyclists and pedestrians have and what exactly will local public transport or “shared mobility”, i.e. the rented car or bicycle, look like?
In a field test, the city’s science office will be attending as well. Together, we hope that many of the more than one and a half million visitors to the Aachen Christmas Market will visit the popup store.
Alexa moves house
For five months already, our virtual assistant was active in the Shopping Lab Aachen on the subject of “Digitisation and Retailing”. Now she is moving to the new popup store, where visitors can hang out with Alexa and answer their questions about new mobility concepts.
In addition, we will develop scenarios of the city in the future. Another exhibit from our Dialego FutureLab will be moving into the popup store. More is not revealed yet ;).