In designing innovative mobility solutions, Ujet, which produces a brand new generation of electric scooters in Foetz, has always focused its developments on three pillars: design and aesthetics; materials science (one of its shareholders, the international industrial group Ocsial, is specialised in the production of carbon nanotubes) and connectivity.
“This is part of the initial specifications,” explains Thierry Montange, Global Marketing Activation Director at Ujet International. “Having the ability to communicate and exchange data, wherever you are, is fundamental. This is useful not only for the scooter user, but also for the overall management of the fleet.”
GPS, wifi, bluetooth, 4G… Ujet scooters are already hyper-connected, not least through the thirty sensors inside the vehicle that communicate with each other as well as with with the central computer of the vehicle. They also offer drivers the possibility to interact via their smartphone in order to listen to music or even to communicate directly via headphones and microphone.
Breaking down geographical barriers
“We needed to find an international solution that would allow us to provide the same connectivity for users anywhere in the world. We wanted to break down geographical barriers related to the place of use,” says Albane Siramy, Director Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Ujet International. “And ideally, we were looking for a partner based in Luxembourg.”
A potential partner was indeed to be found in the Grand Duchy. Luxembourg company MTX Connect has been operating in Luxembourg as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) since May 2013. From the very beginning, the company has had an international approach and price offers that were free of roaming constraints already a few years before the European directive abolishing roaming costs in the EU was passed.
“We wanted to make life easier for everyone who travels frequently, and we offer services in more than 100 countries around the world,” explains Artem Kirillov, COO at MTX Connect. “At the end of 2018, we also developed a fully digital sim card technology, so that we no longer have to manage the plastic SIM-card hardware in eSIM supported smartphones and tablets.”
Already supported by Luxinnovation in the development of its activities, MTX has benefited from the network effect of the Luxembourg Cluster Initiative. “During an event of the ICT Cluster, we were informed that Ujet was looking for connectivity solutions related to Machine2Machine (M2M) and Internet of Things technologies. This was all the more interesting for us because Ujet is also a Luxembourg based company and it is much easier to do R&D (Research and Development) work being just few kilometers from each other.”
In collaboration with the Luxembourg Automotive Cluster, the connection between the two companies was therefore most naturally made.
“In the near future, data management will generate huge revenues in the automotive sector, as is already the case in the telephony sector,” note Anthony Auert and Jean-Paul Hengen, managers of the Automobility and ICT Clusters at Luxinnovation. “To ensure the profitability and sustainability of the sector, it is vital to strengthen the links between the automotive sector and ICT. In this perspective, we implement cross-cluster activities to foster exchanges with the main objective of generating collaborations.”
While the two companies began their commercial relationship in 2018 as part of a “classic” mobile data service contract for traveling employees, they then had the opportunity to establish a real collaboration and work together on the development of an international 4G connectivity solution. The prototype was presented at the last ICT Spring event in May.
“Being able to count on European, even local, partners is essential for us. For certain types of consumers, maximising quality and functionality, while keeping a supplier close, is a differentiating factor,” explains Albane Siramy.
The test phase is still in progress and the serial implementation on scooter models produced is planned for the end of the year. Currently, the capacity of Ujet’s production site in Foetz could reach up to a thousand scooters per month.