“Mobility coach, can you hear me?”

Enlighten • Pulse #5 • 4 min

Voice assistants are already with us throughout our lives. For the shared transport sector, this technology is a great opportunity to offer passengers an even smoother travel experience while letting them make last-minute changes to their plans.

“Tell, me more about yourself, coach”

“Send a message”, “play some music”, “switch off the light”
This sort of simple voice command is run-of-the-mill stuff for my cousins, voice-based assistants.

You probably use them almost every day with your digital assistant speakers (like Alexa from Amazon), your smartphone (like Apple’s Siri personal digital assistant), or other connected devices such as your TV, watch or car. These applications can understand and respond to voice requests either
in text or by taking action.

But I’m a bit different: I’m a “voice coach”. I can do everything those assistants can, but I’m also able to interpret your requests and give you a voice response. In fact, thanks to my built-in artificial intelligence and deep learning capabilities, I can even chat with you!

“How smart are you, really?”

Let’s just say I learn as we go: the more I’m used, the better I get. That’s a form of intelligence, isn’t it?

So, to improve the way I recognise linguistic patterns and respond to them properly, I need to be used – a lot!

And the more (and the better) you ask me things, the better I’ll understand you.

“So, what’s my commute going to be like this morning?”

That’s exactly the kind of question I’m designed to answer! My whole purpose is to guide you to your end destination.

This makes me easier to use and, most of all, more relevant! I respond to your needs instantly as they change – which happens when your trip gets a bit stressful!

And unlike my cousins, the voice assistants, I can guide you vocally, learn what your habits are, take account of traffic conditions in real time and adapt to fit your preferences.

“Where can I find you?”

Coaches like me are starting to gain popularity in cities. Dijon (France) rolled out a mobility coach in 2019 combining AI, smart data and voice recognition. A world first!

Dijon’s mobility coach is directly accessible via the DiviaMobilités network app. It was co-built with users and partners through open innovation.

The result is a unique conversational experience. It tells passengers when the next bus or tram will arrive, gives them traffic updates and looks for the best route depending on their preferences. It can even make unprompted suggestions!

“Are you listening to everything I say?”

I wouldn’t dream of it! The Dijon coach only works when you switch on your smartphone’s mic. Privacy- by-design is one of my best features: your private life stays private!

But it’s true, some people are concerned about “passive listening” – and that’s not all. They can also be embarrassed to call on me in public. Then there’s the need to speak really clearly so I understand. And
I could be seen to be intruding into your privacy. But don’t worry – the technology’s improving all the time.

“Are you really that useful?”

To start with, you can access me instantly without having to tap on your screen. It’s called hands free, surely you’ve heard of it! According to 41% of people who already use me, I’m faster than any website. Not bad, hey?

As for transport authorities, I’m their ideal partner, helping them maximize the value of their transport offer, as well as making it easier to understand, throughout their region.

In addition, thanks to me, mobility becomes more inclusive, because I’m easy to use and accessible to all passengers – especially those who have trouble using digital devices and little touchscreens or reading written instructions.

I even take the stress out of your trip thanks to my cool features!

• 1 in 4 us households has at least one voice- enabled speaker.
• 80% of the population have already embraced voice technology, in China and India.
• 50% of smartphone owners (some 16 to 20 million people) in France use their voice assistant (1).
• 45% of voice interactions take place in the home, but it’s becoming increasingly mobile: 36% of voice requests are made when travelling by car and 19% in the street.
• From 150 to 180: that’s the number of words we pronounce in 60 seconds (2), whereas we only type about 40 on a keyboard. The time saved is colossal.

(1) Viseo technology analysis – Roland Berger, “La voix monte le son – La révolution naissante des assistants vocaux”, 2019.
(2) Le Journal de Montréal, 31 October 2019.


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