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OCTO.CAB, founded by a group of visionary entrepreneurs, already saw opportunities to break into the data terminal market in 2019.

A revolution in the taxi sector is coming from an office in Eindhoven. With the expected introduction of new legislation on January 1, 2025, whereby all taxis must be connected in real time to the servers of the Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), the company OCTO.CAB is responding to a major change.

During brainstorming sessions, co-founders John van Gils, Luuk Soentjens, Ruud Mathijssen and a few others sat together at the table, where they felt free to exchange ideas and approach each problem from different angles. Just as octopuses adapt to their environment, the founders looked for flexible solutions for the rigid data terminal market. “We tried different approaches and ideas, just like an octopus uses different tactics to solve problems,” explains John van Gils.

The name OCTO.CAB is a direct reference to this multi-armed strategy. Each 'arm' of the octopus represents a different aspect of the service OCTO.CAB provides, from user interface and hardware design to integration with existing systems and compliance with new regulations. “The existing market was saturated with a few players closely linked to software companies, which limited our ability to make connections. This has encouraged us to develop something ourselves,” says van Gils.

The development of OCTO.CAB has been supervised from the start by Luuk Soentjens, who, with his extensive practical experience, knew exactly what the market needed. “We have taken the time to further develop and refine the product. Certifications for the current BCT are far too expensive for the period of the 'old' BCT that remains, so it was worth waiting. We wanted to make sure we had a fully functional and optimized product,” says Soentjens.

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OCTO.CAB
Photo: © Pitane Blue - OCTO.CAB

"As long as one does not know definitively what the certification requirements are, it is difficult to put a label on the monthly costs. We can do that for the hardware, which is EUR 1.499 excluding installation costs. But the additional monthly costs are not yet definitively determined.”

The new terminal, which is suitable for any type of passenger or freight transport, is not only aimed at compliance with the new legislation, but also offers practical advantages. “The device is compact, easy to install and does not require long explanations. It is intuitive to use,” adds van Soentjens. This is a major selling point given the limited space in newer cars for installation.

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compact device

As for the hardware, OCTO.CAB has paid attention to every detail. “We have placed all connections on one side of the device to simplify installation and maintenance,” explains Luuk. This design, combined with a user-friendly interface and a robust software platform, makes the OCTO.CAB an attractive option for taxi companies preparing for future regulations.

The innovative developments within the taxi sector also encounter significant bureaucratic hurdles. The introduction of new technologies such as those of OCTO.CAB is crucial for the modernization of the sector, but regulations can also put innovative companies in a difficult position, as shown by the challenges outlined by the entrepreneur.

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Photo: Luuk Soentjens talking about the OCTO.CAB

"If they insist on the obligation to install a BCT in addition to our solution, there will be a backlog from the start. Not many companies want to install two cabinets in the taxi. This makes my chances of testing a lot smaller."

The company faces potential participation in 'Practical Test 2', an initiative of the Environment and Transport Inspectorate (ILT), intended to test whether new technologies meet the strict regulations in the sector. However, Soentjens emphasizes that the conditions for participation are still unclear, which makes it difficult for them to plan their participation and strategy. “We didn't quite know how to participate yet,” he explains. This shows how uncertainty about regulatory frameworks can inhibit innovative companies.

disadvantage

The situation is further complicated by the existing obligation for taxis to install a Taxi On-Board Computer (BCT). Soentjens feels that his company and the taxi companies that want to participate in the test are disadvantaged because they may be obliged to install a standard BCT in addition to the OCTO.CAB terminal. “Not many companies want to install two lockers in the taxi,” he says, pointing to the practical and financial burden such regulations entail.

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The frustration is clear when he talks about the unfair playing field created by these dual requirements. He is calling for an interim injunction that would allow new suppliers like OCTO.CAB to test their devices without the need for a BCT, something that would significantly lower the barrier to innovation. “I had hoped that they would grant an interim injunction,” he notes, which would open the door for more flexibility and innovation in the sector.

future

The future of OCTO.CAB looks bright, with a strong emphasis on ease of use and innovation. If the legislation is implemented as expected, OCTO.CAB is poised to become a major player in a rapidly evolving market. All this points to a smart strategy that not only complies with new regulations, but also delivers real value to end users in the taxi sector.

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