Sunday, April 4, 2021

Transport volumes are very low right now, but this isn't just bad news

We live in a business world now driven by Digital Transformation. It seems that every media outlet wants to be "the next Netflix" and every takeaway restaurant thinks they should be "the next Deliveroo" Note: This is despite Deliveroo actually losing over £200million last year, a fact that hasn't been lost on the UK stock market in the week

2020 will be remembered as the pandemic being the catalyst for a huge shift to digital. Digital working processes, Digital meetings, Digital retailing, etc. 

It will also be remembered as the year there was a huge reduction in the overall use of transport, as:

- those working were strongly encouraged to work from home, where possible

- lockdowns prevented a significant amount of personal & business travel 

- tourism was stopped

- people were furloughed from work  


Photo credit : https://unsplash.com/@thenightstxlker


But, as vaccines are rolled-out and restrictions are lifted, we are likely to see a significant "bounce-back" in the transport & mobility sector over the next few months, as staff return to the city and the office (although perhaps not to pre-pandemic levels for a long while / if ever). 

So now it is high time for transport operators (and their suppliers) to fully embrace digital transformation and modernize their legacy business processes & systems. The current situation of low passenger volumes may mean reduced revenue, but also means less risk when making significant technology and data changes. 

In short, if you are going to implement a new process or technology solution across the transport sector... now is probably the best time to do it.

Friday, January 29, 2021

Google now using bold to show keywords in organic and Ads

To quote my old pal Jon Gritton "Whoa.... Google's bold text just changed font"


And yes, a quick check in Google UK indeed confirms that both the organic and paid (Ads) text now highlights the search term in bold text.



This is a significant change to the Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) and now almost certainly increases the value of Meta Description tags within each page. So expect the Search Engine Optimisation and Paid Ads community to be excited and full of recommendations to take advantage of this alteration.



Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Best backpack for all weathers - this was not what I meant

My consultancy company (Ideal Interface) has recently started working with this UK backpack company called traffic (https://gowithtraffic.co.uk). They have cleverly designed a wipeable water-resistant backpack called the "crosstown" and now sell it on Amazon. We do the digital marketing work for them, including some content marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO).

My latest blog post appeared on their website today with the title "There’s no such things as bad weather – just an unsuitable backpack!

This was quickly indexed in Google and within hours appeared in the Google Search Engine Results (SERPs). However the small issue is that the term that now gives this page a top ranking in Google UK is not one we expected. And rather than the page appear for searches such as "bad weather backpack" or similar... the one that DOES work from an SEO perspective is: "unsuitable backpack".


Ooops :-) 

Needless to say, we are going to have to look at alternative ways to optimise this site and its pages for the correct search terms in future.



Friday, July 31, 2020

Australia makes Facebook & Google pay for news

Australia will force U.S. tech giants Facebook and Google to pay Australian media outlets for news content in a landmark move to protect independent journalism that will be watched around the world.

Mel Silva, Managing Director of Google Australia and New Zealand said about the regulation
"It sends a concerning message to businesses and investors that the Australian government will intervene instead of letting the market work"

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2020/jul/31/google-and-facebook-to-be-forced-to-share-revenue-with-media-in-australia-under-acccs-draft-code

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

How do you think?

A friend on Facebook recently posted about some people not having an internal monologue when they think.

This got me thinking (funny that) and realising that I have a strange combination of thoughts, that help me in different situations:


  1. 1. Internal monologue:
    Typically used to read and sometimes remember names & places (e.g. repeat it over & over to get the noun to ‘sink in’). On other occasions hear my internal monologue and quickly repeat it out loud without checking what I’ve heard… this is when I get accused of “speaking without thinking” - just ask my embarrassed wife - which is actually the opposite of what happens.
  2. Non-verbal idea:
    These are usually more abstract and are when my mind wanders (especially in the loo & shower for some reason). It is at these times I come up with innovative stuff, typically by mashing together different concepts.
  3. Visual thoughts:
    This is where I use my brain to draw / create something (sort of like a 3D object in a computer programme). I think it comes from my engineering studying days and is now especially useful for visualising technology ideas, where I need to work a problem out or crate a solution. However, this is best done by drawing out on paper / whiteboard what is in my head and then getting myself or others to change/add to it.

How do you think?

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Wow, what a year 2019 was

I've had some pretty interesting years in my life (so far), but 2019 surely has to rank up there with busiest and most productive from a work perspective.

Aside from managing a Digital Strategy, technology and Marketing consultancy for the 12th year.... throughout 2019 I managed to pull together various transport / mobility and data specialists to form the Open Transport initiative. They worked to deliver two draft API specifications, one a transport account data interoperability standard and the other the design for a centralised transport operator information look-up (a directory service, giving the URL of each transport / mobility provider’s account API).
On the 3rd January 2020, following a wide-reaching peer review and feedback period, these specifications are now due to become ratified Open Standards and made publicly available. Thus, allowing the transportation and mobility industry to freely use them without conditions.
Yes.... I know. I am giving away a load of intellectual property that I've built up over many months of work from different subject-matter-experts... but the industry needs it (well, it actually needed it many years ago, but nobody ever got around to doing the work).

This work is available here (https://opentransport.co.uk
The aim of the initiative is that over time every transport authority (central and local government), transport operating company and their software vendors all recognise the customer value that this openness brings to the entire transport industry and therefore implements it at early as is feasibly possible….and possibly before it becomes legalisation.

My personal thanks goes out to all those who have helped. 


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Developing Open Transport isn't about the the technology

I have been pretty involved in the creation of the Open Transport Initiative. A project, along with some very clever folk in the transport industry, to create a new interoperability open standard for transport / mobility accounts.

It has been personally rewarding (so far) and on 14 October we launched a near-finalised version of the customer account specification for peer review & feedback.

Several people have commented that this is a pretty significant technology, which (assuming it is adopted across the transport industry) could provide a similar level of integration and openness as Open Banking has provided to the Financial Services industry.

But the reason for creating this Open Standard and giving it away (eventually) isn't to show how technically proficient I and those around me are. It is to meet a growing need that has been identified... that a customer's transport data such as: purchases, usage and concessions is locked away in an account for each mode of transport.

Steve Jobs once famously remarked 'You've got to start with the customer experience and work backwards to the technology.' and this is what we have done.