December 13, 2023
Iñigo Herzog has been the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at Meep for over 4 years. Among his responsibilities is managing and fostering the growth of the technical team, acting as a link between the company's business-level strategy and the creation of requirements and potential developments for native applications and backend. He also serves as the primary contact for potential technical collaborators and growth opportunities for Meep applications.
Who better than him to talk about data security mechanisms, what is needed from the government and institutions to achieve a more connected, sustainable, and efficient mobility, as well as the state of the infrastructure to face the sector's challenges in the coming years in Spain?
1. From a technological standpoint, what's lacking to improve interoperability and intermodality flow better?
Firstly, the requirement for digitalization within the offerings. Although shared mobility companies were born digitized, other models, such as parking, require a platform to digitize their offerings. Likewise, connecting public transportation with certain systems is more complicated than connecting newer, more recently digitized mobility models.
Secondly, providing real-time information is necessary. We need information about what's happening in the present moment: what shared mobility options are available around me? When planning a trip, the user needs to have a reserved vehicle waiting and should know when they'll arrive at that meeting point, as the reservation has a specific duration.
Lastly, having complete trip planning, the ability to pay and book those vehicles in advance and in one place, is fundamental for comfortable intermodality. Ultimately, the challenge lies in users adapting to this change, hence it's crucial to provide convenience for a smooth flow.
Ultimately, to achieve this objective, the challenge is to achieve that digitalization; ensuring that all integrated services offer real-time information, and having robustly constructed technological infrastructures.
2. How far is the user from seeing an app managing all mobility services? How can the public administration or institutions assist?
In reality, not far, as it's already a reality. Currently, we already integrate public and private mobility in cities, closing the circle around the user. We allow, in one place, to see the available offerings, plan a trip, reserve it, and pay for it. The nearest future lies in integrating everything at a transactional level.
Technologically and from a user's perspective, it's complex to integrate numerous diverse means of transportation to offer a homogeneous experience. However, at Meep, we have six years of experience in this. For us, technology isn't a barrier. What's needed is more willingness. The willingness to reach an agreement between all parties, especially between public and private sectors, which positively affects more connected, sustainable, and efficient mobility. The challenge is to reach that agreement, as technologically, the solution already exists.
3. Meep handles large amounts of data. What do you do to prevent this data from falling into the wrong hands?
From Meep's perspective, a startup that integrates various means of transportation into one application, we believe that nowadays, as almost all infrastructure is in the cloud, major infrastructure operators already have highly tested and advanced mechanisms and solutions that provide access, more or less quickly, at a high-security level.
4. What security mechanisms are in place?
On one hand, there's access control, meaning who is accessing the data and how they're doing it. The problem may arise when someone impersonates an identity and attempts to access your system. To address this, there are increasingly more tools that, through AI, map the structure of a company, how data is consulted, consumed, and stored. All this is done to understand the uses, customs, and patterns of data consultation.
What does this enable? If someone enters with credentials and uses them unusually, alerts are triggered, indicating that something unusual is happening. In other words, these mechanisms don't prevent someone from entering, but they do identify unusual behaviors so that you can react in time. This is achieved by establishing rules that, once detecting that anomaly, deny access to that resource.
5. Spain is a leader in telecommunications infrastructure. But what's really needed from the sector to face the challenges of the coming years?
Connectivity capacity is crucial, especially for transport operators with fleets of thousands of vehicles continuously transmitting data. Data that must be updated in real-time so as not to affect users' route planning. In Meep's application and the customized apps we develop for consortiums or major transport operators in Spain, we don't have notable connectivity problems. But in countries like Malta or Cyprus, where we also operate, yes, because not all areas have good network capacity.
In conclusion, Spain's infrastructure is very potent, but it's worth reflecting: isn't it worthwhile to allocate more infrastructure resources to aspects beyond connectivity? In my opinion, there are more pressing problems concerning IoT devices on buses, validators, or a centralized data cloud where we can make all this data available.