For many of us, it is important to stay up-to-date with developments in our industry. Thankfully, there are many ways to keep our fingers on the pulse of the latest topics and trends. For example, trade fairs allow us explore the topics that are moving our customers, suppliers and competitors. For the real estate industry, Expo Real in Munich is just such a meeting place. When the gates of the trade fair reopen in October, one thing will become very clear: Digitalisation is and will remain an enduring phenomenon in the industry. “How radically can digital work” is one of the key questions due to be addressed by the conference programme on the future of the real estate industry.
At APCOA, we have already found the answer to this question. We believe in the radical transformation of parking management. As a key driver of digitalisation, we have made it our goal to set a good example. With the market launch of the APCOA FLOW smartphone app, we have just taken a major and very important step in this direction. Together with our partners, we have developed a scalable platform that allows us to quickly add extra services, and which serves as the basis for new strategic partnerships.
In the future, digital services will be immensely important. As “mobility hubs”, multi-storey car parks will allow us to combine different forms of mobility and offer our customers far more than “just” car parks in attractive locations.
If you would like to find out more about our plans for the future, please visit us at EXPO REAL in Munich. You will find us from 8 to 10 October at our exhibition booth (Hall B1, Stand 135).
You can also experience APCOA on 9 October from 11:00 a.m. to 11:50 a.m. where we will be participating in the panel discussion “How do we want to live? Experience new mobility concepts as an integral part of sustainable neighbourhood development” at the Intelligent Urbanisation Forum, Hall C1, Stand 442.
We can’t wait you see you there!
APCOA FLOW off to a perfect start
At the beginning of May 2018, APCOA launched the APCOA FLOW app, the largest “Smart Parking” service for car parks in Germany. Ever since, drivers have been able to use the smartphone app to navigate to 200 selected APCOA car parks with more than 100,000 parking spaces across the whole of Germany. When they arrive at their chosen car park, their vehicle is identified by an RFID chip and the barrier opens automatically. Payments are processed automatically, which means there’s no need to queue and no need to search for change at the ticket machine.
At launch, the app featured an attractive range of functions. Nevertheless, this is just the beginning. APCOA FLOW is based on an open, scalable, digital platform. The platform can be extended and additional services can easily be integrated. For example, drivers will soon be able to choose, reserve and pre-book parking spaces in multi-storey car parks, barrier-free car parks and on-street parking areas. Planning is well underway to connect all of APCOA’s 300 or so parking facilities across Germany. This will provide customers with convenient access to more than 230,000 parking spaces. In addition, we are already laying the groundwork for the introduction of APCOA
Partnership with leading “Smart Parking” start-up delivers new mobility solutions
APCOA has entered into a strategic partnership with the Indian start-up Get My Parking (GMP). This exciting young company is already playing a dominant role providing smart parking solutions in its home market. The partnership between APCOA and GMP is already bearing fruit: the two companies have developed an open platform that integrates all interactive elements of the parking process, thereby giving customers the smoothest possible mobility experience. With the help of cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) technology and APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), the full spectrum of information from APCOA’s car parks is seamlessly integrating into the system. The two partners share a common goal: to connect all of APCOA’s parking spaces in 13 countries to this standardised, interoperable platform – that’s a total of 1.4 million parking spaces at over 9,000 individual locations.
What’s more, our new open platform is the basis for a host of new partnerships, allowing us to develop a range of new business models in the fields of smart cities and networked mobility. Customers can already get experience the technology that underpins our new system whenever they use our new APCOA FLOW app, which is the first mass-market digital service based on the platform developed by GMP and APCOA.
Thanks in large part to GMP’s outstanding work, we were able to develop the new platform very quickly and cost-effectively. Another major benefit: GMP’s technology is compatible with different generations of car parks, which means that there’s no need to invest in new parking systems in order to use the system. “This open, scalable digital platform will enable us to deploy a host of new services and partnerships in the near future”, says Philippe Op de Beeck, CEO of APCOA PARKING Group.
City-centre car parks are the mobility hubs of the future
Frank van der Sant, Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) of APCOA, is convinced that city-centre car parks have an exciting future – if they can expand the range of services they offer. Over the next few years, they could emerge as hubs for a variety of mobility solutions.
In central districts in many of our largest cities, space is at an absolute premium and is often needed for apartments and offices. Will car parks suffer as a result of this intense demand?
We do need more offices and apartments in downtown locations – that’s right. But, if these new buildings are developed at the expense of parking facilities, well, planning authorities will need to offer alternatives – for example by approving more underground parking garages. It would be an absolute disaster if our city centres were inaccessible to private vehicles. After all, brick-and-mortar retailers are already suffering enough in their battle with online competitors. What’s more, we will increasingly need hubs where a variety of new mobility services can be provided.
Which mobility services do you mean?
Well, carsharing and electromobility services, to name just two. Multi-storey car parks are the ideal hubs for such services, especially as they offer electric vehicle owners a secure environment to charge their vehicles. In addition, multi-storey car parks can become intermodal transfer points, for example providing convenient bases for people to transfer from cars to bicycles, e-bikes or electric scooters. And we shouldn’t forget that the logistics industry is also desperately looking for interim storage facilities in central areas to deliver their goods across the city.
But isn’t it true that from a real estate investment perspective, office and residential buildings offer potentially higher returns?
Yes, but the current attraction of central office and residential buildings is partly based on the fact that they are accessible to private vehicles. As soon as parking spaces start to disappear, these properties become less attractive to tenants and users. In contrast, many car parks still offer significant value-add potential, which can be exploited to dramatically raise revenues and profits. Many parking facilities have never been managed professionally. In many cases, operators are only generating a very small fraction of potential income. For inner-city car parks to become true mobility hubs, they will need specialised management. Operators such as APCOA manage parking facilities professionally and provide a wide range of mobility services thereby making a valuable contribution to our inner-cities and ensuring that they are more vibrant and livable than ever before.