If you have ever wondered what it would be like to “own the future” you should probably talk to John Curtis, co-founder and CEO of Revolutionall World.
I heard him speaking at the regular IoT EDI Meetup (organised by Simon Montford of web3iot.com) on Wednesday 27 April, at Napier University’s Merchiston campus, an event which had attracted an eclectic mix of knowledgeable people working on subjects as diverse as algorithm design, apps for wearables, renewable energy strategy and big data.
John took time to explain his plans for the future, which don’t fall too short of world domination. He is one of those ever so slightly larger-than-life people, full of energy and passion. His passion for the last four years has been Revolutionall, a project that aims to turn our transport system on its head, and have a lot of fun in the process.
At the heart of the plan is an ambitious visitor centre in Falkirk, the first of many planned around the world, that will showcase zero carbon emission cars and vehicles in a fun family day out that features a race track for trying out and testing the cars, an oculus rift virtual reality system and immersive simulators. The goal is to dispel the myths about the performance and drivability of zero emission cars and educate the public about the potential for sustainable transport.
John sees the diesel-based car industry as akin to tobacco companies in the damage they do and the deaths they cause through pollution. John himself is a self-confessed petrol head who drives a Jag. His proposition is not to take the fun out of driving, but to demonstrate that you don’t have to kill people to enjoy cars and driving.
Zero emission cars are just part of John’s ambitious plans for a fully integrated transport system that he is working on with Transport for Scotland. This involves using technology (with IoT at the heart) to make it easier for people to complete journeys using more than one mode of transport. John foresees commuters subscribing to a transport package, a bit like a subscription to Netflix, where for £300 a month (instead of the £670 a month he estimates is spent on combined car ownership, taxi use and public transport travel card) you can use a selection of transport options within a 50 mile radius, from ordering a taxi when needed to get you the station to hopping onto a train and then a (hydro cell) bus to hiring a bike or making use of a car club vehicle, all seamlessly organised by your personal travel assistant bot.
So after four years of hard grind, John has got the substantial funding he needs to start work on the first of many planned Revolutionall visitor centres. It’s going to be quite a journey and could have a huge impact on the tech scene in Scotland, especially in the IoT space.
It would be easy to throw water on all John’s grand plans, and certainly, the goal of achieving an integrated and sustainable transport system, educating the public and bringing government, business and technology together to work effectively, is something close to mission impossible. And yet, what is the alternative? If we don’t believe in the potential for technology to change the future, then the future will own us. Technology is already disrupting transport and there is no doubt that the days of fossil fuel powered vehicles are numbered. There does appear to be a climate in Scotland right now where the impossible is starting to look like a fragile proposition.