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Driving Innovation in the Automotive and Hospitality Industries

Day four of  YPO Innovation Week was in high gear from in-person events in California to a virtual event beamed into listener’s offices and homes from China.

Auto Tech Summit’s second day revved things up with a robust look at the ways in which cars and other forms of transportation are becoming extensions of the connected world.

“Now is an exciting time in the automotive industry as it transforms with the rapid development and deployment of autonomy, connectivity, electrification and shared services,” explains YPO member and co-champion of Auto Tech Summit Mark Norman. “New technologies and business models are emerging at a rapid pace that will bring more change in the next five years than the last 50.”

Not your parent’s auto pilot

To wit, Auto Tech Summit’s two fireside chats were comprised of hot-topic discussions on the connectivity and computer technologies steering us down the roads less traveled, while a rapid-fire series of half-hour presentations covered:

  • Vehicle subscription services
  • 3D printed, crowd-sourced vehicles
  • Autonomous trucks and robotaxis
  • Managing data as a platform
  • Transforming ridesharing into dynamic shuttles to solve commuting challenges

There were extraordinary resources throughout the day, including co-founder, director and chief strategist for Optimus Ride Inc., Ramiro Almeida whose focus on simplifying solutions to address complex challenges resulted in developing the first fully autonomous (Level 4) electric vehicle fleet.

For those interested in launching and exiting in the automotive space, a presentation by David Ploucha illuminated some best practices, while the future of the shared ride world was shared by Jose Ignacio Puente, CEO of car subscription software and services platform company Flexdrive.

CFO of Via, Clara Fain, offered a revolutionary look at the ways in which public transit has gravitated from a regulated system of rigid routes and schedules to a fully dynamic, on-demand system and the day concluded with a presentation by the dynamic stunt driver, vintage car collector and overseer of Hagerty’s videos, website, magazine and podcasts, Larry Webster.

You want it, you got it

YPO Entrepreneurship and Innovation, Hospitality, Technology, Travel and Digital Marketing and Media networks came together to produce a global conference call about hotel and travel technologies. Starring Mitch Presnick — YPO member, investor, entrepreneur and founder of ROOM and Super 8 Hotels (China) Co., Ltd. — the conversation walked listeners through why his hotels were focusing their disruptions based predominantly on millennial desires.

“The sharing economy, driven by millennials, is all about creating experiences that feel unique,” says Presnick. “Millennials are the mass-market that everyone wants; they live minimally, they’re digital nomads. Our technologies allow them to enjoy the benefits of possession and ownership with the freedom and flexibility of being part of a network and its reliability.”

Presnick does this by turning each of his 11,000 hotels into personalized habitats, run almost exclusively on an app. If you thought using your phones as a key card was futuristic, consider that ‘users’ (what Presnick calls people who visit his hotels in lieu of ‘guests’) walk into rooms set to their preferred temperature when they enter, are given the specific mattress firmness they’ve requested and enjoy smart mirrors and showers that remember their settings. All this has rendered the front desk irrelevant now that information is all stored on an app.

“Our hotels are designed like a Tesla,” explains Presnick. “Each room can be upgraded with technology and personalized for the user. When someone can check into their room whenever they want, with no set check-in time and check out the same way all via the app, they never leave us. Essentially, it is an Uber, app-based service model.”

On the operator side of things, changes in staff will create a “hallowing of the middle,” while three IoT elements — communication, energy and transportation — will help optimize the way buildings are run.

“Technology, when it works correctly, becomes part of the wallpaper; seamless and low friction, with a low activation cost,” says Presnick. “This is all part of the new shared economy being driven by millennials and as such, necessitates non-traditional, innovative marketing — you can’t get to them in the traditional ways.”

YPO Innovation Week runs through Friday, 11 May. A complete listing of events and registration information is available at www.ypoinnovationweek.com/schedule.

Deborah Stoll’s work as a journalist has been featured in The Economist’s online magazine, More Intelligent Life, in LA Weekly and its food blog, Squid Ink, as well as on the music site Buzzbands LA. Her short stories have appeared in the Los Angeles quarterly Slake and the literary website Fresh Yarn. As a musician, Stoll’s songs have been featured on American Idol, Glee and CSI: Miami, and her collective work as a content creator and animator has more than 1 million views on YouTube.