Eliminating the gridlock in transportation

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In my last post, I provided an explanation for why we lack innovation in transportation and described how a many-to-many network can solve the multi-party  problems that are inherent to transportation transactions.

When you begin viewing transportation and logistics through the lens of a many-to-many network, you’ll find that many of the impossible problems you’ve given up on are actually quite solvable—they simply needed the right tool.  But, you may ask, “Who will build a multi-party solution for my specific/unique problem?” That’s certainly a valid question.  Relying on “one size fits all” technology vendors would be too slow, prohibitively expensive, and a recipe for disappointment. This leads us to the growing relevance of development platforms.

First, think of the app store on your smart phone. It’s full of thousands of applications designed for a staggering array of uses and nearly all were created by third-party developers. Now imagine something similar for enterprise applications.  We’re still in the early stages, but opening up existing enterprise platforms to outside developers almost guarantees exciting innovations and better applications.  For transportation providers, it will enable technology solutions to be extended to cover their unique problems.

Let me give you an example of the kind of value that a developer platform can bring. My company has partnered with the largest logistics provider in Africa to bring our technology to the African market. Soon after implementing our solution there our partner saw an opportunity to tackle one of their most chronic problems—fuel was disappearing while loads were en route to their destination. With their firsthand knowledge and local expertise, our partner understood the problem better than we did.  And so they used our developer tools to rapidly create a custom application for our platform that tracks and logs the whereabouts of their drivers while tracking fuel to the specific load, all in real time. Thanks to an open developer platform, they’ve now got a custom-tailored solution for their problem. Read this on the importance of choosing the right platform. 

Many-to-many networks and developer platforms. Together, I believe these will bring significant changes to the transportation industry in the not so distant future. Those who manage to stay ahead of the curve by making smart investments in these technologies will be well positioned to reap significant benefits.

Photo byWonderlane

Aaron Pittman