Q&A with: TanQyou
The Data Sharing Coalition is an open and growing, international initiative in which a large variety of organisations collaborate on unlocking the value of cross-sectoral data sharing. In our recurring blog section ‘Q&A with’, you learn more about our participants and their thoughts, vision and ideas about data sharing. Jan Harmen Akkerman, CEO of TanQyou, shares their thoughts.
1. Could you briefly introduce your organisation?
Jan: “TanQyou started as an innovative chain of unmanned gas stations and has since developed into a digital mobility platform. Within our platform and apps, TanQyou customers – both business and private – have the possibility to refuel, park, charge an electric car and soon to check in with their TanQyou app when using public and shared transport.
Furthermore, we offer many additional insights such as transaction history, consumption and emissions. Our mission is to facilitate all mobility needs and simplify payments for customers and this way contribute to the future of sustainable travel.”
2. To what extent is your organisation involved in data sharing (within and across sectors)?
“TanQyou has a number of collaborations. One of the best examples is our strong collaboration with the University of Groningen. We provide anonymous datasets to the university, the students dive into this and provide solutions. For example, they do scientific validations on our AI and ML algorithms to reduce travel time or recommend more sustainable travel, and thus influence mobility behaviour. We can then implement and improve these solutions: a win-win situation.”
3. Why is or should sharing data be important for your industry or domain?
“Data sharing is very important in our industry. The goal of our mobility platform is to optimise the convenience for our customers. For this optimisation, we need different types of data to be able to determine and respond to customer travel behaviour. You can only provide optimal advise on travel behaviour when you can define complete patterns. But parts of the travel data are often held by different parties, which is why good collaboration and regulation are so important.”
4. What are the most promising data sharing developments and trends you see in your sector?
“We see in our industry that there are more and more initiatives that encourage collaboration, for example our collaboration with the RUG or the data sharing commitment within the Ministry’s seven MaaS tenders. These collaborations enhance the convenience for the consumer. By working together, the needs of the consumer can be better met.
The Netherlands is at the forefront of developing highly intelligent MaaS (Mobility as a Service) systems. And with the development of standardisation such as the TOMP API, which allows all carriers to link their systems through the same protocol, the Netherlands creates a good blueprint for a more open MaaS landscape. For example, within the seven national MaaS pilots, data is already being shared with the government in order to better align services and citizens’ needs in the future.
As TanQyou we like to be part of the frontrunners of this sector and we try to actively contribute to the development of an open ecosystem.”
5. How do you see the future of data sharing, and what steps are you currently taking in that direction?
“Data sharing will become an increasingly important and undeniable component to optimally meet a cross modal mobility need. Complying with global laws and regulations is essential here. But it’s even more important to listen to our users’ wishes regarding the optimisation of services and to guarantee their privacy, so we need to enable the anonymised sharing of data. We are currently investing heavily in the continuous expansion of our data analysis team and are trying to use collaborations with universities and partners to bring young and good data analysts in contact with our anonymous mobility data.
We still have hundreds of issues to solve in the years ahead, which will allow us to make true barrier-free mobility the new standard. This is necessary because everyone is different and therefore travels in different ways. Continuous and active testing of our policies with our users is a crucial part of this. We can improve our services on a daily basis, provided we have the grace of our users. This conviction is the greatest asset to guard in our organisation.”
6. Why are you participating in the Data Sharing Coalition?
“Being actively involved in the formation of policy, but especially sharing experiences and good examples has been an important reason for TanQyou to join the Data Sharing Coalition. We are convinced that the development of a well-functioning MaaS model is only possible when there are dozens of collaborations between market parties that enable the sharing of certain data. Together with the other members, we hope to contribute to standardisations and market and user accepted guidelines.”