2015, February, 02

Ancient Silk Road embraces modern technology

In my book ‘Slingshot’ I tell the story of a family trip across Europe.  The point was to illustrate how smart use of new technologies allow organizations to leapfrog competitors who have invested heavily in capabilities that are no longer necessary.

The story described our experience with various highway payment collection systems, highlighting the contrast between the costly and inefficient toll booth systems in Western Europe vs. the cellphone-based payment system in Hungary.  Now it seems that Hungary is exporting its electronic highway payment system to help resurrect one of the most famous ancient corridors:  The legendary Silk Road.

Kazakhstan, which is the world’s largest landlocked country, intends to build a nearly 1,800 mile (3,000 km) highway to once again connect Europe and Western China along the path of the Silk Road, and has chosen the Hungarian payment system Hu-Go for its fee administration.  The 150 million Euro project will apply the high-tech payment system to a country roughly 30 times larger than Hungary.  Way to go, Hu-Go.

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