365 days is a long time in technology and I’d say we’ve come a long way in 2017. This has been a momentous year for us at The Floow, and I can look back on our progress with pride and no shortage of excitement for the future.
Here’s some of the things that happened in 2017:
The Floow now has deep and productive customer relationships across five continents, with clients in the US, UK, Brazil, Portugal, Germany, South Africa, China, Ireland and Italy. In the space of just one week in December, we were awarded three new client tenders by insurers in the US and Europe, which demonstrates the momentum that’s building for The Floow in these markets. For one of our customers – Direct Line Group – we surpassed the milestone of 1 billion miles recorded and we were very proud to see our work on Direct Line’s Shotgun proposition recognised in the industry with several meaningful awards.
Growth and Expansion
In 2017 we opened two new offices. Our main HQ in Sheffield is now a purpose-built city centre campus that we moved into in September, housing 90+ people, but we also have a growing team in the US working out of a brand new office in Taylor, Michigan to support our expansion in North America. Our employee numbers have swelled to more than 100 people and we have invested in expertise in Public Policy, HR, Finance, Design, Marketing, Sales and Account Management, as well as Development, Quality and Data Science to meet and anticipate the evolving needs of our customers. We’ve also supported a growing representation in mainland Europe and China, which are major growth markets for telematics.
Our 5th birthday at the end of February was marked by the announcement of major new funding to the tune of $17m from a group of investors, including Fosun. This investment was validation of our progress and potential as a market leader and has enabled an acceleration in growth and innovation.
Innovation is our lifeblood here at The Floow and the fact that we focus on it every day has not gone unnoticed in the market. Our innovation was recognised in November at the DIA event in Munich, where our latest proposition in peer to peer car sharing was awarded a DIAmond trophy, as voted for by the attendees. And in another piece of exciting innovation, our work into autonomous driving research as part of the MOVE_UK consortium is gaining momentum and attention. In December, we celebrated our very first company-wide Innovation Week, where every employee participated in a team progressing 12 new development projects. The high quality work that was showcased is finding its way into our product roadmaps for 2018.
Looking forward to 2018
We are living through an unprecedented proliferation of sensors and we can turn this unique historical phenomenon into an engine for safety and good for humankind. So I’m excited about what’s to come in 2018. In carefully analysing the market and listening intently to our customers, I would summarise the following trends for our markets in 2018:
- Telematics will continue its move into the mainstream
Digital transformation of the insurance industry is now prevalent. More and more motor insurers are embracing telematics within their core offerings. Importantly, we expect more insurance providers to focus on incentivising and encouraging better driving habits using telematics insights to enable solutions based upon coaching and rewards, not just discounted premiums.
- Legislation will continue to change with a view to improving road safety
Legal changes to support new vehicle technology will be announced and enacted in the UK and other international markets, including Europe. This will change and enhance automotive safety in preparation for a near future where electric and autonomous vehicles are the norm. Autonomous features will penetrate new vehicles with more research and insight into road patterns and driver behaviour being collated and validated. With this in mind, mobility data science will be critical capabilities to advance mobility today, and for future mobility scenarios.
- Connected cars require a focus on security and data protection
The relentless rise of connected vehicles is producing vast data lakes which hold the key to telling us more and more about journeys, drivers and other road users. But this valuable data also presents the opportunity for security risks and the potential for unauthorised access to personal information if the data and applications are insufficiently secured. Security remains a priority issue not just in The Floow but it’s also on the minds of consumers, legislators and providers.
- Car ownership will continue to fall
The overall cost of driving – comprising buying or leasing a car, tax, tolls, fuel, insurance, parking and repairs – remains prohibitively high for many individuals, particularly younger urban-centred motorists. In several markets, particularly the US and UK, we have seen a rapid reduction in the number of people obtaining a driving license and owning a vehicle which may sit unused most of the time. Car sharing and rental options will increase in popularity and the industry will have to respond with new platforms to enable this more easily, for urban dwellers in particular.
These are four areas which The Floow is focused on contributing to with research, new propositions and capabilities. If you’d like to find out how, or talk to us about how we’re focusing on making mobility safer and smarter for everyone in 2018 and beyond, please contact us here.
Image Credit: Eveline van Enk, DIA Munich
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