Interview with Gwen Rabier, director of the Mobility for Business show
My name is Gwen Rabier and I am the director of the Mobility for Business show which is currently in its 8th edition, at the Porte de Versailles in Paris. It’s all about mobility solutions for businesses, and from the very beginning the show has evolved and adapted to the changing world of business, and to what we call the “digital transformation” of companies. We aim to show professionals, decision-makers, and all visitors the full range of solutions available to them, via conferences and display stands. This year the number of visitors to the show is on the rise, which is encouraging.
SSC: Is mobility a source of business?
GR: Mobility is not just a source of business; it is business! By that I mean that we can no longer work without having a mobility solution in place. Today, all types of trades are obliged to be connected. All professionals are obliged to be permanently connected, even what we could call hyper-connected, and they are obliged to produce results in line with this hyper-connection.
We are connected to remain informed, we are connected to remain contactable, sometimes just to be connected for its own sake; pragmatically, we are always connected. When we leave home, whilst travelling whether that be on public transport or by car, we are connected to the office. And more and more, in what we call the digital workplace, we need collaborative tools
so that we are connected in the same way whether in travel, at home or in the office. We are thus constantly seeking to be well-connected, which means in fact that we are working more, wherever we are and all the time. Is that a good thing or not? I can’t say. Because of this, the show tries to provide solutions for everyone.
SSC: In an ideal world, a realistic utopia, what would be the perfect tool to make us more mobile?
GR: Today we are already very well-equipped. We tend to think that connected immobility equals mobility. Thus, we don’t need to go anywhere to meet people, for example with video-conferences, and even within a company we have collaborative tools that allow us to communicate with our fellow workers, to exchange views, to participate in meetings. The ideal tool would allow us to dispense with the hardware, with the tool, and to have a connection anywhere at will, like in ‘minority report”. A screen projected on to a wall, on to a table, this already exists… But in my opinion, this would be too alienating. So, let’s settle for what we have now…
SSC: Which leads us to wonder whether humans might not be seeking to use technology to compensate for not being mobile?
GR: You mean that we have become sedentary? Yes, because we have invaded the globe. This is one of my favourite topics. Man was mobile for thousands of years. Then over the last 20,000 years man has become much less mobile because we have conquered the whole of the planet. And we can thus be elsewhere without moving. It’s a fact that we can travel without displacement. Is this an advance, in sociological and human terms, or does it slow us down? I tend to believe the latter, but in the world of business there are advantages to virtual reality, to augmented reality. On the other hand, in the human world I can’t see much benefit of living with holograms.
SSC: Does this mean we must choose between agility and mobility?
GR: No, I think the two are compatible. I think we have the right to connect and disconnect ourselves at chosen times, and that for business development and above all for human development, for our capacity to build relationships with others, mobility should be a tool and not something that enslaves us.
SSC: Finally, what would you like to see happen in the next three years? What would be your dream?
GR: Firstly, a wish to expand, to move more, to become more mobile. I think that Mobility for Business, which in its aims and format is the only salon of its type in the world, could be replicated in other countries. Together with the teams who make the show possible, I would love to reproduce the Mobility show, to take it to other countries, and to demonstrate that mobility is above all a service to man. Solutions exist today in the show that would allow easier communications for certain populations in the world who are far away from everything. They could thus become more integrated into the world, live better, and improve the comfort of their daily life which lags behind that of other populations. There are advantages to mobility, and it would be a wonderful challenge for us to be able to export this model and this philosophy to several other countries.
SSC: Thank you, Gwen!
To read also : Is futur mobility a sociatal issue ?