The Tech category in the Press Section of the eCabs website

Here one can find informative and interesting articles which the mobility company publishes from time to time.

Please click on the photo above each item to access the original article.

eCabs Google Noovle

eCabs partners with Noovle on machine learning project

eCabs has partnered with Noovle Malta Ltd, the international branch of Noovle S.p.A, part of TIM group and their main partner Google Cloud, to carry out a machine learning project. This serves as the next chapter in the evolution of the state-of-the-art mobility company’s platform. The project supports eCabs in moving onto its new generation of software. It also lays the foundations of AI through cutting-edge machine learning solutions to power the company’s soon to be international platform.

Working with Noovle and Google Cloud experts

In the project’s framework, eCabs team members work hand in hand with Noovle and Google Cloud experts. This allows the Malta-based tech company to leverage the multitude of its data points through the Learning Platform to empower real-time, machine-enabled analysis and real time actions. Consequently, this will thus allow the eCabs platform to make faster, more efficient, and more effective decisions based on market supply and demand.

The project objectives seek firstly to elevate eCabs’ technology to the intended next level in support of the company’s internationalisation plans by allowing instant, consistent and scalable improvement to its proprietary platform. The technology will accordingly enhance the optimised user experience for drivers and passengers by learning from automated decisions rooted in big data processing.

eCabs Google

The future of self-learning software

Luca di Michele, Chief Technology Officer at eCabs, said, “It is to our delight that we are collaborating with such expertise on the global market leading in machine learning platform, on such an important project that sees us move into our next generation of software development.”

As the next step in this project, eCabs is planning to use its data to create the future of self-learning software in their vertical, which shall be able to scale quickly based on big-data-driven decisions made by the machine learning process. Additionally, via this ambitious undertaking, the technical teams of eCabs are exposed to a great learning curve as they work with the best of the best professionals in the field.

eCabs Google

CTO di Michele added: “This is only the beginning. By improving our supply and demand analysis, we will be able to positively impact all other software components of our platform, such as estimated time of arrival and map mechanics to mention but a few examples. This is an important evolution of every aspect of the eCabs platform, which eventually boosts the data-driven aspect of our business by using automation.”

This machine learning collaboration comes after eCabs has recently successfully migrated to the Google Cloud Platform.

In the press:

Times of Malta | Who’s Who | The Malta Business Weekly| josannecassar.com

Cuorium Technologies

eCabs’ tech arm Cuorium Technologies eyes international expansion

Former eCabs Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina recently took over the leadership role at Cuorium Technologies.

Malta’s ride-hailing company eCabs has shown impressive growth lately and, propelled by this success, its founders are looking to expand into new international markets. Most still think of eCabs as a transportation operator but in reality, at its core, we discover that behind the popular brand we see daily on our streets there is a technology and innovation powerhouse called Cuorium Technologies.

This business is poised to take its products into the mainstream of one of the most competitive and fast-paced sectors in the world: mobility. To chart this path, the company recently announced that former eCabs Chief Executive Officer Matthew Bezzina has now taken the leadership role at Cuorium Technologies – with a very clear vision of where this will take their business and the Maltese tech scene.

The Malta Business Weekly sat down with Bezzina to talk about the growth potential of Cuorium Technologies, what the challenges and opportunities are, and how the future of mobility is shaping up.

How would you describe the eCabs journey so far?

When we started the business over a decade ago, at the centre of our most rudimentary thoughts was how we could harness the emerging technologies to overhaul an archaic sector which thrived on the typical closed-shop culture that stifles innovation, competition and improved service delivery. Many – up to this very day – think of us as a transportation company but in effect we are an innovation-driven business which was capable of adapting technology to bring about a transformation in the mobility sector in Malta.

This has been a fascinating journey for us, particularly when you consider the uphill struggle any tech start-up faces in this country and this is why I look back with a sense of satisfaction and pride witnessing the way the business has grown over the years despite many challenges.

The major game-changer in our trajectory came about when we took a very tough decision and opted to re-build all our technology assets internally in order for us to own the intellectual property of all our platform, which would enable us to leverage what we achieved in Malta and transpose it in other jurisdictions.

Cuorium Technologies

After a huge investment and many man years of effort by all our fantastic tech team at Cuorium, we are now thrilled to see Cuorium Technologies embark on this exciting, new journey as we head for the internationalisation of our e-hailing platform.

What awaits you in the global mobility markets?  

We have no delusions of grandeur. We are grounded in reality. And whilst being firm believers in our product we are cognisant of the daunting challenge ahead of us. Our market intel clearly points at at a rapidly evolving market in practically all the continents, with ever-changing mobility trends and needs dramatically changing the world over.

Whilst international market penetration is always a tough proposition for a Maltese company we are striving to differentiate ourselves by leveraging our own IP and provide an e-hailing platform that delivers convenience, trust, and speed to both the driver and the passenger at the most affordable rates internationally. Our success in Malta is a living testament that our platform not only works but can also compete on equal footing with the mobility tech giants, something that makes us extremely proud of what we achieved and the space we’re in at the moment.

What are your expectations of the global mobility market?

As mobility is evolving, people are increasingly more likely to abandon their cars for running short-distance, urban errands. In this context, we expect the demand for services such as our platform to increase significantly across all demographics.

Forecasts see the European ride-hailing market reaching a value of over €51 billion in 2025. More than 160 million European residents will have used ride-hailing mobile applications by then. According to a Deloitte study in 2020, customers increasingly favour ride-hailing apps over traditional taxi services. It is important to note, that while the figure of 160 million passengers may seem high, it is only 20% of the entire population of the European Union. So, yes there is definitely potential for further market growth and expansion.

Today a small number of giant operators with rigid and complex model have captured the global market. These models are not nimble and flexible enough to enable existing fleet operators to participate in the e-hailing market through a seamless transitionary process, without making any capital outlay. Our model is squarely based on achieving a strong dose of fairness for:

  • the passenger (offering convenience, exceptional functionality and highly affordable rides).
  • the operator (delivering a fair return for the local champion of the service).
  • and most importantly the driver (ensuring he/she gets the lion’s share of the revenue generated).

What is your take on the Maltese start-up scene?

As much as I would love to say that there is a start-up ecosystem, I have to be frank and say that it does not really exist. We learned this the hard way. Incentives are negligible and procedurally cumbersome. Funding at the beginning of the project was non-existent, and as young entrepreneurs we never really managed to break the glass ceiling of the ‘established business community’.

Having said that we have recently witnessed a sea-change in attitude with the advent of the Malta Development Bank which is moving in the right direction to support viable and bankable businesses with the potential and commitment to make their venture happen. Hopefully other institutions follow in their footsteps so that we gradually start to create the much needed start-up ecosystem in Malta.

What are your strategic plans for supporting your internationalisation?

We have massive developments in the pipeline, which in turn will create further demand for the growth of our in-house technology team. By the end of the year we estimate to be one of the largest software firms in Malta fully dedicated to the development of our mobility technology assets. We will be onboarding more talent on our team as we increase our expertise in areas such as (but not limited to) machine learning, data science, cloud-computing and cloud-based architecture, edge-environment management, IoT application integration and mapping services.

I am also a firm believer that the success of our company’s internationalisation lies in the dedication and strong sense of belonging of our multi-cultural team. Apart from being an exceptional experience for all of us, the multi-culturalism of our team will be also commercially essential as we venture into foreign markets of diverse cultures. Our team, our leaders, my fellow founders and I are now on the starting blocks of a global race to penetrate as much markets as possible through our scalable platform. As we embark on this journey, we remain committed to fly our technology and innovation flag as high as we can across all the cities we shall be penetrating. The real journey starts now.

In the press:

The Malta Business Weekly 

eCabs technology

Women in technology spotlight | Kerstin Rizzo

Head of Programmes at eCabs Technology Division

Technology has been a seed in the eCabs culture since the day it moved its first passenger from point to point. That seed today became a thriving branch. A fully-fledged transport technology division, composed of an exceptional team of technologists who are driving the engines for the internationalisation vision of eCabs. Kerstin Rizzo joined eCabs’ technology team as Head of Programmes a year and a half ago. She explains how fundamental technology has been in the growth achieved by eCabs in the past years. She also describes her role as a professional in a tech company.

“I wanted to become a chemist and had focused most of my studies on research. However, tech always interested me. I recall myself patiently typing code from various games’ magazines onto our ZX Spectrum a few moons ago”, she smiles.

“Eventually I read Chemistry and Computer Studies at University only to realise there were many tech opportunities available. By then, my choice was an obvious one which I never regretted.”

After 15 years as a systems’ analyst and a software developer, Kerstin spent another 10 years in management, leading several high-profile projects.  She then joined eCabs to realise she had just walked into an immensely disruptive and innovative culture.

“I must admit that I had my reservations. I wondered what my interactions would be like in a company which I thought would have a relatively heavier male presence. Only to find out that the workplace is also highly populated by fellow ladies. I had joined a company whose priorities are focused on innovation and a relentless pursuit for excellence. The vision is an ambitious one and it’s what makes the environment so inspiring to work in. ”

A robust technology infrastructure

Technology remains fundamental in eCabs’ growth journey. As the organisation keeps investing heavily in this area, it bids to consistently improve its efficiencies in operations. Thus it ensures a seamless service delivery to its clients. It also brings about the ability to quickly adapt to unpredictable scenarios such Covid-19.

“Our technology also takes into consideration our growing driver base. Coordination of all the trips, tracking and timely pick-ups all depend on a robust technology infrastructure. This also enables us to lay out our long-term vision for the organisation. eCabs’ primary strategic goal is to internationalise its product portfolio. It is in the process of transforming its current technology to a cloud-based solution.

“One of the aspects that makes working at eCabs a unique proposition is the fact that we are a company intent on bringing a drastic shift in the country’s mobility patterns. Mobility remains a big challenge for Malta with a very particular and complex infrastructure. I am thrilled to be working on such challenges at a company with a vision of bringing a positive change in this aspect.

Being the only mobility company in Malta adopting an all-inclusive multi-booking channel model through the app, phone, web, social media and email, eCabs has made its service accessible to all to ensure mobility for everyone.”  

eCabs technology

New exciting challenges for eCabs technology

In a world driven by data, new exciting challenges emerge to harness that power and make good use of it. “As our service grows, our models are increasingly helping us predict traffic patterns and trends. This allows us to keep offering a reliable service within the shortest time possible and at competitive prices. With aspirations of product development into the ‘Last Mile’ delivery segment my role becomes more fun and challenging as I help to translate these innovative business requirements into IT deliverables, which will essentially see customers and their parcels reaching their destinations in a quicker, smoother and more efficient manner.”

Agility in adapting is also an essential attribute as external factors can very quickly change the priorities. Covid-19 is a perfect case in point as Kerstin points out: “The surreal scenario that hit us in March 2020 had instantly shifted the priorities. But we are an amazing team and we managed to pull this through together, matching the speed and change in direction”.

The future is female

Turning back to the topic of women and IT, Kerstin is proud as a woman not only in an IT environment but also at a tech mobility company. But she also quickly admits that STEM subjects remain male dominated, and augurs that the future will see more women choosing Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. 

“The fact that I made it means that change is indeed possible,” she quips enthusiastically. “But this change needs to start from the very bottom, tackled from as early as kindergarten. There are plenty of innovative educational programs and science challenges that school children should be introduced and exposed to. It would help encourage a larger cohort of young women to take up tech-related jobs by also promoting women in these fields to serve as role models”. 

Kerstin is interested and fascinated by astronomy. Her first inspiration as a young girl was Katherine Johnson, the famed mathematician who was instrumental in Nasa’s first manned space flights. Famed by the recent Hollywood movie Hidden Figures, Katherine Johnson carved her place in the history books. Kerstin says that there is no reason not to dream big and go for the achievement. “We’re only scratching the surface of possibilities here and that is what I love about this subject and this company. The future is bright – even in the face of the battles we face today.”

In the press:

Business Today

technologists

We’ve got the power

How eCabs’ empowered technologists are engineering the growth of the company.

Very few people know that behind eCabs’ complex operation there is a fully-dedicated team of developers and in-house technologists, building and developing the company’s international-grade IT systems.

“When I came to join, I did not even know that the company had its very own team of developers who were running the eCabs App. Honestly, I was blown away when I was introduced to the whole set-up and was immediately offered the first project to work on the drivers’ app,” said Mark Spiteri, one of eCabs’ in-house developers.

“I wanted a new challenge and eCabs clearly want to go places with their technological efforts. More importantly, I realised the dynamic and technologically disruptive nature of eCabs in which I saw a company that was committed to harness the power of technology and was willing to invest in order to claim its rightful leadership position.

An amazing journey

“Looking back, it has been an amazing journey. But what’s more amazing is the fact that so much more is coming up our way as this sector is going through many important changes,” said Mr Spiteri.

Luca di Michele heads eCabs’ team of developers. He explained how, this year, eCabs founded Cuorium as its very own captive logistics software set-up which is now tasked with not only developing all the technology behind eCabs’ new IT infrastructure, but to transform this into a platform to enable the company to take its operations into the international market.

“Although owned by eCabs, Cuorium operates on the same engaging lines as those of a start-up. The structure is flat and communication between us and management is extremely dynamic. We source ideas, explore them together within the team, shape them in our programmatic plans, put them forward to the CTO and CEO and we evaluate them together until the way forward is identified,” said Mr Di Michele.

eCabs technologists

26,000 new app users in four months

“Up to two years ago, eCabs was running on a system built on outsourced software. This served its purpose to enable the growth of the company but was increasingly limited to match the growing needs of the operation. In parallel, the company’s strategy was evolving at a very fast pace in which technology was the centrepiece enabling its execution,” added Mr Di Michele.

“This is what led us to rebuild our platforms, with the medium-term objective of opening up the platform to other operators and the international market.

“We, therefore, set out on a long-term plan where the first target was to build our own system to fit the evolving operations framework of the company. Subsequently, we redesigned the whole interface, gave a new look that reflected the company’s evolved identity and plugged the system on to the new platform. The app’s success was instant.

“In the first four months of this year, 26,000 new users downloaded the app which eventually saw over 80,000 booked rides in the same period. To date, there have been almost 215,000 downloads of our eCabs App,”

Today, eCabs’ mobile app is a recognised best practice. It is highly rated for offering a very straightforward method of booking a ride within a few seconds.

A great tool helping eCabs technologists collect data

The app runs in parallel with three other methods of booking namely, phone bookings, e-mail bookings and web bookings, with new tech-based booking channels on the horizon in 2020. All these channels are operated from a fully-fledged contact centre handling hundreds of customer interactions on a 24/7 basis.

“We have been watching the technology behind our app revolutionise passenger mobility and how people decide and choose to commute. The app is also acting as a great tool that is helping us collect data to be able to improve our service by aligning our operations to the changing mobility trends. Having our own team of developers is now allowing the company to focus on solutions that cater for Malta’s unique needs,” added Mr Spiteri.

“One of the main features of the eCabs’ App is that once you book a cab, you can monitor in real time the location of the cab. Another smart feature is that when you pre-book a cab through the app, customers enjoy highly-beneficial rates.

“Our technology, together with our contact centre, are the heart of the company. Now that the app and our platforms have been completed, we are ready to move on to the next level. That of fuelling innovation across all our operations.”

“Developers are usually the ones working behind the scenes but at eCabs, I am proud to say that we constantly play a central role not only in the company’s IT evolution but also as protagonists in its commercial way forward,” the duo remarked.

A truly exciting place to be for eCabs technologists

Both are now already looking at some very exciting projects for next year.

“Being part of the eCabs’ tech team is a truly exciting place to be at this point in time. We are busy improving our tracking system whereby passengers will also be able to share their vehicle’s tracking with others. Additionally, we are working on a gamified loyalty scheme proposition to reward our customers more. We are adopting cutting-edge geo-spatial technologies, flirting with the application of AI and looking at better ways how to consume our huge data bank to enhance trip optimisation capabilities.

“We’re on the right track. This year, we managed to bring down the booking processing time from six seconds to one second and we want to review the post-booking phase in a more transparent way that reassures customers that their cab is actually on its way and at the best price possible. We could easily say that technology is enabling us to commit a much stronger value proposition to customers even on a day-to-day basis,” they added.

What’s most exciting for the future of the technologists at eCabs? “Invariably, reckoning that our platform will now be exposed on the international market is a unique experience for all of us and an opportunity of a lifetime,” Mr Spiteri and Mr Di Michele concluded.

 
In the press: