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MaaS Goes Mainstream: How OCTO is Remapping the Auto Industry

Fritz Cambier-Unruh
Staff Writer, Subscribed

There are mobility innovations that impact an individual and then there are innovations that impact everyone in the transportation ecosystem.

A new pair of shoes will improve a pedestrian’s comfort, but they don’t have an impact on the roads everyone walks on. Power windows make it easier for drivers to get fresh air, but they don’t improve traffic patterns for all drivers. Mobility as a Service (MaaS) companies like OCTO are changing the way the entire local transportation system operates for everyone with their disruptive business model. OCTO Telematics is the European leader in providing innovative technological solutions dedicated to shared mobility and connected vehicles. Its proven cloud platform enables the rapid development of new mobility offers for its clients, which include insurance companies, fleet managers, car makers, car sharing operators, and corporate car sharing services. OCTO operates more than 15 services for its customers which powers and manages about 200,000 cars and scooters, 900,000 registered users, and more than 400,000 rentals per month. A major component of OCTO’s business is helping traditional mobility companies transition to a subscription MaaS model that focuses on delivering customer value through usage pricing and billing. By incorporating OCTO’s telematics into their vehicles, companies can track any usage metrics their drivers value like vehicle location (distance), speed, idling time, harsh acceleration or braking, fuel consumption, and any mechanical faults or failures. This usage data is then used to price and bill for services. But monetizing the vast amounts of usage data provided by OCTO is several degrees of complexity greater than the flat fees used by traditional vehicle businesses which were not tied to real-time usage. In addition to complicated and unique vehicle metrics, companies also need to account for road conditions, traffic, construction, as well as additional services like roadside assistance, insurance, and financing. There are lots of inputs to consider, metrics to measure and levers to pull. In other words, transitioning to a MaaS model is complicated! Says Tina Martino, Head of Market Strategy and Intelligence at OCTO. “Our customers’ IT teams are normally overloaded by customization, integration, and other tasks associated with the transition from a traditional to a connected model.”

A successful transition requires a company to first determine what problems need to be solved, then work backwards from there to find the right combination of technology solutions.

In addition to telematics tech, OCTO configures MaaS systems for their customers, and helps them run the systems on a subscription basis. But perhaps the biggest value OCTO provides is curating the right combination of services. “We provide a single solution that can easily integrate with whatever business case companies are pursuing,” says Martino. “It’s not easy for a traditional company to reinvent itself as MaaS. The important thing is to put all the components of the business as one full and complete product.”

It’s not easy for a traditional company to reinvent itself as MaaS. The important thing is to put all the components of the business as one full and complete product.

Tina Martino, Head of Market Strategy and Intelligence at OCTO

Indeed, fragmentation is often the biggest barrier to providing one seamless customer experience.

Connected devices, billing and invoicing, insurance, etc, are all distinctive competencies that often operate in silos. And companies don’t have the internal resources to anticipate, let alone develop in-house patches for any services that OCTO doesn’t provide. That’s why OCTO serves not only as a telematics expert, but as a curator of the best suite of subscription services on the market today. “We humans love to have someone who can solve the problem for us,” says Martino. “If we can put together all the components and show the customer the value – that’s the essence of the partnership model, to build this ecosystem of services.” Continues Martino, “Take direct customer service, as an example. There is a moment in the customer experience when you need a partner for assistance in case of breakdown. OCTO is a telematics company; we don’t provide road assistance. But we find the best partner in the company’s operating geography to provide this kind of service, so that the customer has a full integrated solution.”

OCTO’s customers use OCTO telematics to collect data from vehicles, manage that data, and then build a customized solution for their particular mobility business in their particular market, whatever that means for their business. Ultimately it is about a business model that is easy for the company to operate and seamless for the end consumer to use. In many ways, OCTO acts as a consultant. “Each of our customers has their own strategy based on their vision of the market. More than for pricing, our customers come to us for our long-standing experience and want to understand how the market is moving,” says Martino. In the insurance market, for example, OCTO was and continues to be the pioneer in using data for risk rating to help customers define pricing strategies based on individual consumer behavior. Summarizes Martino: “We give advice to our customers because it’s a value-add. You cannot just sell a technology any more. You must sell a solution for a need.”

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