Business Ecosystem Analysis of a Vehicular Road Weather Information System
This paper explores a concept of Industrial Internet to collect and utilise data from vehicle-installed sensors for the purpose of enhanced winter road management. Data from vehicle-installed sensors extends the coverage of road condition information from fixed Road Weather Information System (RWIS) network. Vehicle-based sensors observe similar data as fixed RWIS: road surface condition and temperature, friction values, air humidity and temperature. Some vehicles have also cameras installed to produce continuous images on the road. To utilize the vehicular data, the paper introduces an open data platform - WiRMa - that is being piloted in the Finnish Lapland. WiRMa connects the different vehicular data to be further used and processed by different maintenance management applications. The platform’s data is aimed to be used for ‘information service packages’. A pre-assessment on the value of data is given with some evaluation on the distributional effects of the value (i.e. benefits). Efficient utilization of sensor data, merging the data with fixed road weather station observation, and wrapping the data into usable formats and information contents requires new approaches in organizing the winter road management. The prospective value and benefits gained from the data and information are allocated to potential users or beneficiaries. These users and beneficiaries, as well as the providers of the data and information, and the suppliers of technologies and services, form a business ecosystem of winter road management. The business ecosystem is analysed through an exploratory study to evaluate the relevance and business case potential of the platform. In addition, the analysis shows what capabilities, and possible value co-creation and capturing methods should be incorporated in order to keep the ecosystem alive. The outcome of the analysis is a statement of the benefits for the ecosystem. The results can be used to justify further investments in the platform, suggesting also how the investment needs are divided between ecosystem actors. In sum, the primary condition to realize the potential benefits of the platform is the commitment of the ecosystem actors. The actors need to commit to the platform in order to realise the potential gains. Without commitments, required conditions on transactions between the parties will not take place, as do neither the co-investments in the platform. The multi-actor business case challenge is very much present. Other challenges and issues in achieving the commitments and a working ecosystem are discussed in the end of the paper.