As we transform the APCOA PARKING Group into an even more customer-oriented and digital company, we have reached an important milestone this quarter: the successful market launch of our APCOA FLOW digital platform, which our end-customers use via a smartphone app. APCOA FLOW is our solution for key trends such as urbanisation, digitalisation and the new mobility concepts that are changing the economics of the parking industry.
In 2017, we decided to network all our car parks across Europe. To this end, we developed an open and scalable digital platform in close cooperation with our suppliers and an international start-up company. End-customers can already use APCOA FLOW in over 200 car parks with a total of more than 100,000 parking spaces throughout Germany. And this is just the beginning.
More details can be found in this newsletter. We are sure you’ll enjoy reading all about it!
Your Philippe Op de Beeck
APCOA FLOW sets new standards for the European parking industry
A smart vehicle navigates its driver to the nearest free parking space in a multi-storey car park, the barriers open automatically in less than a second and the fee for the exact time of use is simply debited from the registered user’s credit card when they leave. At the end of the month, the customer receives an itemised invoice.
Sounds like a dream of the future? But it’s not! Registered customers can already enter and exit 200 APCOA car parks throughout Germany with more than 100,000 parking spaces without having to draw a ticket. The car park automatically recognises the vehicle via RFID chip – queuing up at the pay station and the search for change is a thing of the past. The parking process thus gains a completely new quality – a premium experience paired with a higher sense of security and simplified travel expense accounting.
Once they have selected their destination, users can view the nearest APCOA FLOW car parks quickly and intuitively with a simple click in the app. After choosing their car park, the app navigates the customer directly to their destination. Thanks to the integrated navigation feature, parking in an unfamiliar city becomes a pleasant experience with no risk of getting lost. The app also displays prices and opening hours for each car park as well as additional information such as accessibility, access height and electric charging stations. In the near future, APCOA is planning a range of additional features, such as the reservation and advance booking of specific parking spaces as well as the integration of parking facilities without barriers and on-street parking spaces.
In addition, all approx. 300 APCOA car parks in Germany will be equipped with APCOA FLOW by the end of 2018, providing customers with convenient access to over 230,000 parking spaces nationwide. APCOA FLOW thus represents the most comprehensive “connected car” offer for car parks in Germany and sets new standards for the parking industry throughout Europe.
The current range of features is just the beginning
APCOA started the European rollout of APCOA FLOW in Germany in early May. Detlef Wilmer, Managing Director of APCOA PARKING Deutschland GmbH, talks about the goals of the market launch and the future plans for the digital platform.
Why is the APCOA FLOW app only available in Germany to begin with?
Germany is APCOA’s core market – here we have the highest density of multi-storey car parks, which are mainly located in city centres and at major traffic hubs. Therefore, Germany is particularly well suited for the market launch. The app is to be deployed in Italy, Sweden and Austria by the end of the year, followed by Norway, Denmark and the UK as well as in our other 13 European markets by summer 2019.
Other companies have also presented their own Smart Mobility initiatives. Are partnerships an option, or is this purely cut-throat competition?
APCOA is of course open to partnerships. The philosophy behind our new open, scalable digital platform is to integrate our services with those of our partners and vice versa. The contract we signed with the VW Group perfectly demonstrates our approach. As part of a comprehensive partnership with sunhill technologies GmbH, a subsidiary of Volkswagen Financial Services AG, customers of all of the VW Group’s brands will benefit from new functions for parking – namely contactless entry and exit, and automated billing of their parking processes. VW Group will be the first to offer these new options to its 1.5 million leasing customers across its full range of brands.
Are further partnerships already planned?
Yes, the high compatibility of the digital platform, which is equipped with an API interface, will enable a large number of new services and partnerships in the future. For example, we are currently in talks with car-sharing service providers, car rental companies and electric charging station operators. The current functionality of APCOA FLOW is just the beginning.
APCOA FLOW is now available in the App Store
End-customers can now download the APCOA FLOW app from both the Google Play Store and the App Store, register and order their personal APCOA FLOW RFID chip. Thanks to RFID recognition, car park barriers will automatically open. The system records each parking process, which is automatically charged to the registered user’s credit card. Customers can view their payment history at any time and have a transparent overview of all parking transactions. This simplifies both billing for business customers and the management of a vehicle fleet. The new app makes parking faster, easier and more convenient. No ticket. No cash. No stress.