Toll Insight spoke with Devaki Baker, CEO for VeriToll.
Based in Ashburn, Virginia USA and founded in 2016, VeriToll serves the tolling industry with professional services as well as mobile, cloud, and crowdsourced technology. They offer forward-thinking, scalable Tolling-as-a-Service (TaaS) solutions that seek to empower clients through transformation and innovation.
1. VeriToll is a relatively new toll technology company, among many legacy players. What role does VeriToll play in the industry?
VeriToll is comprised of industry leaders who have many years of experience working in transportation. Building our experience in many different companies and roles, we felt there was a better way of providing tolling services and a huge opportunity for innovation.
With our professional services and innovative technology, we are introducing a new model in how tolling services are procured and operated by leveraging the major benefits of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). Tailoring this approach into “Tolling-as-a-Service", we bring together the people, process, and technology to offer integrated solutions on a per-transaction model without the costs and implementation timelines that we typically see.
Our goal is not necessarily to compete against others but rather complement what is already working well in the industry. We typically work with strategic partners, where we bring the efficiency and competitiveness of an agile team to enhance solutions which ultimately benefit everyone, most importantly, the client.
2. Tell us more about your products and services.
Our professional services focus on innovation and transformation and include enterprise architecture, systems integration, cloud migration, Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS), transportation procurement and operational strategy.
On the products side, our two core platforms are AuditToll and CrowdToll.
AuditToll provides end-to-end, continuous, and automatic auditing of roadside toll systems and processes. If you have been part of an audit, you know how painful and expensive it is to hire drivers, coordinate trips, collect data, and all the things that you need to manage. We take care of all that and offer it as a service, so you have the flexibility to choose trips and pay for only what you need.
CrowdToll provides image review as a service. It operates as a stand-alone platform or can integrate into existing systems to scale-up the image review process and manage overflow transactions (e.g. following a transaction surge due to an outage or high-volume holidays); it can also serve as a quality assurance tool. CrowdToll offers unique advantages while we are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. It provides organizations the option for employees to work remotely, it’s highly available, there is a disaster recovery plan in place and the readiness to scale up or down the operation based on demand thanks to our crowdsourced model.
Both platforms leverage mobile, crowdsourcing, and cloud technology. There is no initial capital cost and both still offer the full benefits of SaaS: faster delivery, lower cost, scalability, easy integration, easy upgrades and easy to trial as a proof of concept.
At VeriToll, we have a strong social mission behind all the technology we build. We want our technology to provide equity to people. We use crowdsourcing to let those outside the toll operation – including users and potential users of the road – to participate in the process to offset the cost of their tolls. With both platforms, we are offering an alternative payment mechanism for roadway users based on tasks that are needed for the operation of the tolling system. Particularly during these uncertain times where social distancing guidelines are in place and unemployment is on the rise, we see an opportunity to support both operations and communities.
3. What are some of the "wins" and successful projects you have now delivered or are delivering?
At VeriToll, we have had many success stories in the last five years. Representing Transurban, we successfully supported the execution and on-time delivery of the I-395 Express Lanes in Northern Virginia. AuditToll was used to verify the new toll zones, ensure trips were properly conducted in the back office, and provide real-time monitoring of the test vehicles as they ran scripted and ad-hoc test runs. Additionally, our team was embedded within the Technology group to develop, launch, and maintain the GoToll and Express Lanes mobile tolling applications. At Indiana Toll Road, we are driving multiple transformation efforts such as the migration of legacy storage to the cloud, while improving their security and implementing a modern monitoring and alerting system. Additionally, the team is conducting a full evaluation of the existing Toll Collection System in alignment with the client’s long-term roadmap and industry initiatives such as transitioning to multi-protocol readers and acceptance of Apple Pay and Google Pay.
I would also consider it a huge “win” when we identify inefficiencies in the industry and build solutions that raise the bar, reduce costs, and share the benefits with the community and its residents. That is how and why AuditToll and CrowdToll were created. We are taking our two platforms to market and offering a better service model for transportation and tolling operators with TaaS. This is where we see the change from delivering a successful project to moving the entire industry forward, which is where we want to be.
4. Tell us more about your team and how you complement each other to work together.
At VeriToll, we are all engineers with backgrounds in technology, SaaS, cybersecurity, and most importantly, decades working in transportation. We have complementary experience from the business side of tolling, delivery, architecture, roadside implementation, systems engineering, testing, and auditing.
Our team is lean and agile, which allows us to be efficient and change directions quickly without deep layers of management. We can also understand our clients’ goals and challenges intimately. We have a good recipe to build elegant solutions with the creativity, resilience and business sense that our clients are looking for.
5. What about your own goals and interests within the tolling industry? What brought you to this line of work and why do you find it exciting?
I have always been drawn to technology. I started in tolling as a project manager many years ago, managing the delivery of ITS systems for tunnels and roadways. I quickly noticed that there was an established and accepted way that technology was used and procured in the industry. I witnessed Departments of Transportation relegated to long, expensive procurement cycles while maintaining legacy systems. I later decided to found Team Verso and set out on a new path of entrepreneurship. My work through Team Verso led me to work alongside VeriToll and learn about their vision for the tolling industry as well as their social mission. It was an epiphany for me. I realized at that point that I could use my skill set to further advance VeriToll’s transformation efforts within a tangential industry.
As CEO of VeriToll, my goal is to position the company as the innovation go-to expert within the industry. I am focusing on our go-to market strategy as well as strategic partnerships to expand our TaaS offering.
We have a non-stop idea factory in-house, so I am excited about the future. I love being part of a company that is using technology to create win-win situations that can provide powerful solutions to organizations while also sharing equity with the community.