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IBM and Seat Bringing Watson to Mobile Payments, Mobility Decision Making

February 28, 2019         By: Steven Anderson

One of the great things about living in an urban area is the sheer depth of options available when it comes to mass transit. Not only do you have civically-provided options like bus and light rail, but you also have rented bicycles, scooters, and even cars outright from a range of providers. Deciding which one is best, however, can be a real challenge, and that’s a point that IBM and Seat, a Spanish automaker, have come together to solve with their new “mobility advisor.”

Essentially, the app—which calls heavily on IBM’s Watson supercomputer—will be able to determine just what the best way is for a traveler to get from anywhere to anywhere else in the comparatively immediate vicinity. Whether it’s too far to bike, there are no Uber rides around, or any of a wide range of other issues, the app can tell just what the best approach is. In fact, the app calls on several different data points to make its determinations, including time of day, events in the area, and even weather reports.

Seat’s head of new urban mobility concepts Jordi Caus noted “Traffic congestion and environmental challenges are putting huge pressure on cities to transform. At Seat we are leading the way by working with innovative cities and technology companies to make mobility easier and more efficient.”

When you’ve got a lot of options, it’s easy to pick the one that’s less than optimum. Considering how many factors this tracker goes through that you may never have even thought to look into let alone even know how to look into, that’s clear enough. It would be interesting to see this tie in closer to mobile payments; imagine being able to call that Uber ride right from the decision making app. It’s not just Uber, either, but also let it connect to mass transit payments systems, scooter rental kiosks, or any of the other possibilities.

Mobile payments would make this already impressive concept that much better, and in the end, that’s just what mobile payments should be: an option that makes every other option that much better when it’s added in.