Parking Insights 01/19
In our first newsletter of 2019, we would like to provide an update on the host of innovations APCOA PARKING has successfully brought to market since 2018. Our APCOA FLOW digital platform – a key component of our digitalisation strategy – leads the way. It is an open platform, developed in close collaboration with our partners, and which we are rapidly expanding through many other partnerships.
For us, partnerships are an important instrument for innovation. Which is precisely why we joined the SynCoPark consortium, a research project based at the TU Braunschweig. In close collaboration with our other project partners, we are jointly defining the standards for autonomous parking in multi-storey car parks. The project is about more than just standardisation, it also focuses on solving legal challenges and unlocking new financial potentials within this emerging business field and developing new, profitable and sustainable business models.
No review of 2018 would be complete without looking back on the opening of APCOA’s Royal-Hamilius parking facility in Luxembourg. This state-of-the-art car park provides 626 parking spaces in a modern, highly functional environment and means that APCOA PARKING is now active in a total of 13 countries in Europe.
Incidentally, if you are at MIPIM in Cannes from 12 to 15 March: We look forward to seeing you at our stand P4 C1!
Your Philippe Op de Beeck
Milestones on the path to digital transformation
APCOA PARKING is becoming a digital company. Over the past year, the transformation from a business-centric car park operator to a consumer-oriented provider of mobility services and digital services has made great strides. The introduction of our APCOA FLOW platform, which also includes a smartphone app for consumers, represents an important milestone. APCOA has established an agile process for the expansion of digital services, enabling new functions to be developed and brought to market in just two weeks.
The APCOA FLOW platform is open and scalable and a key component of our digital transformation infrastructure. The platform also enables APCOA to enter into new partnerships. Talks are already underway with potential partners from the automotive industry, with car-sharing and car rental providers, as well as with fuel card, fleet management and e-charging companies. Thanks to one such partnership, 1.4 million Volkswagen leasing customers in Germany can already experience the benefits of APCOA FLOW.
In 2018, we founded the “APCOA Digital Academy” to train our international marketing teams in how best to market our expanding range of customer-centric and data-driven digital services.
Learn more about the open platform APCOA FLOW in an interview with Chris Hewertson, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of APCOA in our interview.
Smart Mobility – APCOA and partners define standards for autonomous parking
APCOA is a partner in a major research project that is defining standards for autonomous parking in multi-storey car parks. Scientists from the TU Braunschweig and partners from across the industry have equipped a new research car park with cutting-edge digital infrastructure. Autonomous parking is set to become a reality at Braunschweig Airport: regardless of vehicle manufacturer, infrastructure service provider, car park operator or level of automation.
The partners in the SynCoPark project also intend to explore the potentials for new business models as car parks evolve into intermodal mobility hubs. This exciting project not only aims to create standardised solutions for new car parks, but also to set standards for retrofitting existing car parks. The solutions developed by SynCoPark will be used in the Elbphilharmonie multi-storey car park in time for the ITS World Congress 2021 in Hamburg.
“Innovation only works if it is user-friendly”
Chris Hewertson, Chief Information Officer (CIO) of APCOA, is a key driver of technology and innovation. He explains which milestones on the path to APCOA PARKING’s digital transformation were the most important for him last year.
You drove APCOA’s digitalisation in 2018. How important are your achievements for the company as a whole?
In APCOA FLOW, we introduced a platform that enables us to quickly increase the number of customers we serve and the volume of our digital revenues. We have also created the optimum foundation for partnerships with other mobility companies that will enable us to grow further.
And which specific innovations are you most proud of?
As a consumer-oriented company, our primary benchmark for success is whether our customers are accepting our offers. And this is precisely what we have achieved with our APCOA FLOW app. We already have more than 250,000 users in Germany, Denmark, Norway and Italy. This shows that we are on the right track.
In your opinion, what are the most important factors that determine the success or failure of a new app?
We were determined to bring a true innovation to the market. In Germany, we rolled out APCOA FLOW in 200 car parks simultaneously, connecting more than 100,000 parking spaces in one go. The market has never seen an app like this before, one that allows users to select from a wide range of potential car parks and navigate to their chosen car park, enables ticketless entry and exit via RFID chip, and includes fully transparent, automatic electronic payment processing. But innovation only works if it is user-friendly.
So that’s why you had to focus on making the app as easy to use as possible. Is this the most important foundation for APCOA FLOW’s growth prospects?
In fact, it was especially important to us to develop an app that is entirely intuitive to use. Otherwise, it would not have been embraced by our customers to the extent it has been. And based on user feedback, we are constantly developing and improving the app, equipping it with new features and enhanced functionality. Equally important is the platform behind it, which, thanks to API technology, is universally compatible, freely scalable and open for collaboration for a number of third-party partners. We are already engaged in lots of promising discussions. As you can see, our business model and that of our partners is constantly evolving.