In May 2020, Intel went shopping and he went to Israel. Specifically for a technology company that was worth a lot for what it did, and continues to do, but also for what it knew. Moovit, the urban mobility app presented virtually everywhere in the world, was a mine of data. With 6 billion anonymous data, it has the largest mobility repository on the planet. One that brings together information from public and private companies, operators or shared mobility companies.
In 2017, Intel also acquired another Israel-based technology company Mobileye, which is dedicated to creating self-driving cars and improving the intelligence of older models, is part of the American company. They wanted to enter fully into the race for the autonomous car which, already at the time, was and is still being led by Elon Musk with Tesla.
With the purchase of Moovit, it was expected that the two companies would create synergies. A common ground to take Intel to the next level. What wasn’t clear was how they were going to go about it. Today, the first steps have been taken. Moovit, drawing on its knowledge of urban mobility in its more than 3,500 cities on the agenda, will become the visible face of Mobileye’s self-driving cars.
The “robotaxis”, which they want to pilot in Israel in 2023, will use Moovit’s software, via MoovitAV for management and control. In addition, they will also be integrated into the public and private transport offer already available on the mobility app. With this, and thanks to their knowledge of the data, want to improve transport management in cities. For other cities? According to Yovav Meydad, CMO of Moovit, more sites will be announced in the future.
Moovit wants to monetize with ads
The creation of its own Robotaxi system, in collaboration with Mobileye, opens a new path of monetization for the Intel technology subsidiary. However, they are also working on another important avenue to generate revenue from their data business. And it’s a logical path. The company first created an ecosystem, now it wants to monetize it.
Starting from a large database and knowledge of its uses and habits, Moovit is preparing an advertising and sponsorship model. For certain stores and establishments, the company wants them to appear on users’ directions. This way, if they are looking for any place, they won’t have to go to other apps.
It would be, roughly speaking, a kind of Google Maps but with paid appearances. Logically, with fewer appearances than its more direct competitor. They give the example, in this case, of a McDonald’s or a coffee shop that can be at a strategic point for the user.
However, as Meydad assures us, they still need to work on increasing their user base and growing it to ensure their future growth and path to monetization. They are also in the process of contacting potential partners who will eventually appear on the platform.
The public transport problem
Moovit has grown since Covid arrived. If the drop in confinement, which affected all international activity, was marked, they claim today to record record figures. And the fact is that in this case several circumstances came together.
On the one hand, Moovit sought to adapt to the reality of the moment. With the need to maintain interpersonal distance, the application has added information on the capacity of different means of transport. This led to an increase in app usage. Today, with rising fuel prices, “many people who used to drive have turned to public transport,” they explain.
However, it was the inclusion of public transport ticketing that improved the company’s data the most. In the Netherlands, Israel and several American cities, Moovit added the in-app purchase option during the pandemic. It was the perfect time for a world that didn’t want to touch anything or interact with money exchanges with anyone. It was easy in those cases. The integrated and unified systems of these regions in the case of public transport have enabled a rapid transition. With software prepared for the junction, Moovit didn’t have to struggle much with either side.
In Spain, this process is taking place slowly. They say they are in talks with local governments to help them make any changes. But, they explain, many are not yet able to integrate these third-party services. If that happens in the future, they add, “they’ll be happy to be at this point.” They ensure, in any case, that despite all this, the good state of the opening of data in the country has made it possible to have up-to-date information. In many other countries, it is still a dream. For the next step, however, they still have to tackle all levels of local government. It is still a Herculean task to this day.