Timo Latruwe works at the Techno-Economics unit of IDLab, a research group within Ghent University and Imec. The TE team consists of a handful of driven researchers who share a passion for economics and technology. It is the intersecting line between the two that forms the link between Techno-Economics and TMaaS. With this in mind, it does not come as a surprise that Timo applies a great deal of enthusiasm to his work on the project. Particularly because his hobby horses, the value of data and the dynamics of data driven business models, are fully addressed in the development of the TMaaS concept. We spoke to him about his lecture at the MaaS Congress, which took place in Rotterdam on 12 February.
What exactly do you do within TMaaS?
Timo Latruwe: “I am collaborating on the development of a business model for TMaaS the aim of which is to ensure that the product is ready for the market. Coming up with a great innovative concept is one thing, but ensuring that it will survive in the marketplace is another matter. TMaaS receives financial support from Europe for creating something that generates value for Ghent and other cities, but we also want to ensure that it has a lasting impact. To this end we have mapped out how TMaaS can generate value and how this value can be harnessed. Our role in the coming weeks and months is to work out and evaluate the different avenues open to us.”
Coming up with a great innovative concept is one thing, but ensuring that it will survive in the marketplace is another matter.
How do you think you will be able to achieve this?
Timo Latruwe: “We see two options for ensuring the chance of long-term survival. We can ensure that TMaaS becomes viable in its own right and thus be able to survive as a commercial entity. But there are other avenues we can look at too. We could also turn it into a concept that brings together different consortia so that we can generate value in this way. This could also provide a durable concept. As things currently stand, we are presenting TMaaS above all as a commercial activity.”
You have since presented TMaaS at the MaaS Conference. What approach did you take to the presentation?
Timo Latruwe: “I shared our experiences with the representatives of other participating towns, managers and mobility providers and I also shared the lessons that we learned through the project. I also talked about the role that TMaaS can play in the mobility value networks. So, you could also see it as a piece of PR for TMaaS. Another subject that I covered was the Belgian political context and the impact thereof on mobility policy. The exciting element in this conference though was not primarily what we ourselves presented, but the interesting information that we were able to gather from the different participating companies. A lot of players and representatives from the industry were present and it was very useful in enabling us to gain more insight into the market.”
How do you yourself get to work?
Timo Latruwe: “With my back pedal brake system bike – in Flanders it is known as a torpedo brake.”
Timo Latruwe has a degree in business engineering from UGent. He also obtained a Master’s Degree in the Science in Business Engineering in July 2017, following which he joined Methis Consulting, which, among others, focuses on support for the public transport sector. He started working as a researcher at Ghent University in 2018.