Our second newsletter of 2019 is also our last – but don’t worry, we will definitely be staying in touch. From now on, we’ll be using LinkedIn articles to keep you up to date on our latest developments, innovations and plans. This will streamline your email inbox and allow you to find, read and share all of our articles in one place – and network with other readers. Follow APCOA on LinkedIn – you’ll find us at www.linkedin.com/company/apcoa-parking-holdings-gmbh/.
Our first article introduces you to our “Park-up” project, an exciting partnership with three other project partners that enables logistics companies to conveniently book and pay online for demand-oriented storage space in our multi-storey car parks in inner-city areas.
In this issue’s interview, I talk about innovation, the digital transformation of APCOA and the APCOA FLOW digital platform, which is a key element of APCOA’s digitalisation strategy and forms the basis for completely new business models and partnerships. One of our new partners is Berlin’s public transport authority, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe.
The APCOA FLOW mobility app is also a great success, making short-term parking even easier and more convenient than ever before for all registered users. With automatic number plate recognition, users can park without a ticket and benefit from seamless, in-app reservation and payment processing.
If you are going to be at this year’s EXPO REAL in Munich from 7th to 9th October, we warmly invite you to visit us at stand B1.135. We look forward to seeing you there!
Your Philippe Op de Beeck
APCOA FLOW international roll out
In addition to Germany and Italy, APCOA FLOW has also been successfully launched in Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Austria. The smartphone app is designed to improve the parking experience by navigating registered users to the nearest available car park, where users of the FLOW platform can navigate to the multi-storey car park, enter and exit without a ticket and automatically make cashless payments. In addition to numerous multi-storey car parks, the APCOA FLOW app can also be used for barrier-free parking spaces and metered street parking. What’s more, customers benefit from reservation options at selected locations and from discounts and special promotions offered in cooperation with retailers and other partners.
Of all the countries it has been launched in, FLOW is especially popular in Norway. Since its release in late 2018, over 200,000 customers have already downloaded the app. In total, more than 800,000 drivers across Europe are already reaping the benefits of APCOA FLOW. Even with this success, we are continuing our intensive development work on the platform and app to ensure that APCOA FLOW keeps on growing and attracting new users. We have also recently started using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR), which makes short-term parking even more convenient for our customers. Anyone who registers their vehicle’s number plate can automatically start the parking process the moment they enter one of our car parks. When they exit, their parking process is concluded and electronically billed. The customer receives a push notification on their smartphone that provides them with all of the details of their parking transaction. Parking has never been easier. And thanks to our “ENABLE” system, all parking systems can be integrated into the APCOA FLOW platform, irrespective of manufacturer or product generation. It couldn’t be easier – or more affordable – to incorporate existing systems: Thanks to APCOA FLOW and ENABLE, substantial investments to upgrade existing systems are now truly a thing of the past.
APCOA Park-up turns multi-storey car parks into mobility hubs
APCOA PARKING Germany, as part of a consortium comprising Fraunhofer IAO, veloCARRIER and evopark, has launched Park_up, a project that strengthens the company’s pioneering role as a provider of innovative parking solutions. Park_up makes publicly accessible parking space available to logistics companies, thereby supporting the distribution of goods and merchandise in urban centres.
The project is geared to the needs of companies who from an economical perspective cannot justify leasing logistics space on a permanent basis. Unutilised parking spaces can be rented by logistics companies as and when they are needed, a particularly attractive proposition for cargo bike logistics platforms. Park_up allows unused areas within a multi-storey car park to be temporarily repurposed as transhipment hubs for cargo bikes. This enables freight cyclists to transport their shipments from centrally located multi-storey car parks to end customers far more quickly. And thanks to Park_up, logistics companies can conveniently reserve and pay for the spaces they want online.
Steffen Bilger, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, is convinced that the implementation of Park_up creates a win-win situation for all stakeholders. “Using cargo bikes to distribute parcels representsa cost-effective, low-emission and sustainable solution in the supply chain of the future”, explains Bilger.
The Park_up project aims to develop new digital usage concepts for parking spaces in multi-storey car parks at times of low utilisation. It is an intelligent solution that transforms car parks into mobility hubs, reduces motorised logistics vehicle traffic and makes city logistics more sustainable and efficient. The benefits for urban populations and the environment are eminent.
Park_up has already been implemented in three car parks in Stuttgart. The project has received approximately €2 million from the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure, which launched a Modernity Fund (mFund) to support R&D projects related to digital data-based applications for Mobility 4.0.
New mobility concepts require digital innovation
As CEO of APCOA PARKING Group, Philippe Op de Beeck is also responsible for the company’s digital transformation. He joins us to talk about the company’s goals and strategies, and about its newly launched mobility app, FLOW.
What expectations do you have for the current year?
Last year, we achieved organic growth of 3.5%. On top of this, we are currently getting very close to finalising a number of acquisitions. For the year as a whole, we again expect double-digit growth in pre-tax earnings and an increase in sales of 7.0 – 8.0%.
APCOA is becoming a more digital company. Which strategies are especially important for your company?
In everything we do, whether operationally or in terms of transactions, we pursue a clear strategy of not acquiring any real estate assets. Our consistent “asset light” business model has established APCOA as a reliable partner that maximises value for private and public property owners while offering consumers innovative services across the board. A key element of our growth strategy is the digital transformation of APCOA’s full range of products, which allows us to broaden our focus from being a B2B-centric car park operator to a consumer-oriented provider of mobility services and digital products.
With APCOA FLOW, you have developed a mobility app and rolled it out internationally. What goals are you pursuing with this app and the new platform it is based on?
APCOA FLOW is our response to megatrends such as urbanisation, digitalisation and new mobility concepts that are disrupting the economic environment in which the parking industry operates. The response to our digital platform has been extremely positive, which means we will recoup our investment costs very quickly. We’ve also significantly expanded the range of functions offered by the app since it was first rolled out in 2018. Registered users are not only able to navigate to the most convenient multi-storey car park, they enjoy ticketless access and automatic, cashless payments. What’s more, users can also book parking spaces in advance and pay electronically for on-street parking. Our customers also benefit from discounts in seven countries. We have designed the underlying platform to allow additional services to be added and flexibly integrated. This gives us the firm foundation we need to continuously expand our targeted range of services for our customers and ensure that we are ideally equipped for the future.
APCOA has been working with Berlin’s public transport authority, the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), since June. What synergies can APCOA achieve by bringing parking and public transport together?
Our partnership with the BVG fits perfectly with APCOA’s strategy of harmonising parking and urban mobility to deliver intelligent and convenient transportation solutions. By transforming our parking spaces into intermodal mobility hubs, we are creating platforms for new transport and logistics services. In Berlin, APCOA FLOW is joining forces with the considerable resources of a major public transport company. As a result, we can seamlessly integrate private transport, local public transport and vehicle sharing services to meet the needs of a highly mobile urban population.