There is no longer any doubt that today’s golden era of mobile applications has transformed the way we use our smartphones, which have become more functional than ever. It would be hard to imagine living without mobile apps: they have become a staple of life and we use them everywhere and at all times, without giving much thought to the process. So what are the most popular apps among Poles? The answer is those that save us time and money and make our daily life easier. Or in one word: functional.
DEVELOPMENTS IN PARKING
As every driver knows only too well, finding a parking space can be quite a challenge. To make the process easier for its customers, APCOA Parking has launched a multi-purpose mobile application called APCOA Flow.
The Polish parking market is going from strength to strength, opening up a lot of untapped potential for APCOA Flow. Poles like digital innovations and appreciate apps with navigation and GPS services that make it easier for them to find not just an APCOA car park, but also restaurants, cafés or cinemas nearby. Applications such as these also allow drivers to check their current whereabouts easily and guide them to their final destination.
People are creatures of comfort and they value their time. By connecting hundreds of conveniently located APCOA car parks in practically every major Polish city with other app services – including for shopping and leisure centres, office buildings, sports facilities, airports, paid parking areas, public transport, railways, car sharing or city bikes – APCOA Flow should become a platform integrating different forms of parking and mobility in the smart city ecosystem.
For APCOA, a car park is more than a place to leave a car. The company wants to give its customers a comprehensive offering that will make parking quicker, easier and more convenient, including the availability of car wash or EV charging services or the ability for customers to make use of their loyalty discounts or enjoy a “shopping night”.
APCOA Flow will move the industry forward into the digital realm. The app’s forte is that its underlying platform allows integration with any kind of external application services (public transport, shopping malls, etc.) and can be integrated into parking management systems from a lot of vendors.
BENEFITS FOR CUSTOMERS
Patrons at hundreds of APCOA car parks in Poland who have registered their application account will be able to find the nearest car park and check the availability of parking spaces or the prices. They will be able to book a parking space at a discount or choose a guaranteed parking option. The application will also navigate them easily on their route to the selected car park. As part of loyalty programmes, patrons will also be offered local discounts or sales promotions, e.g. in shopping malls. On entry, cars will be recognised using LPR (automatic plate recognition) or RFID technologies and the entry control system will verify whether a parking fee can be charged automatically to the customer’s credit card. The barrier will then open automatically. On exit, the platform will calculate the payment, charge it to the credit card and raise the barrier. Easily, quickly and conveniently.
TEN THOUSAND CAR PARKS ACROSS EUROPE
The same process will be used at car parks with parking meters, e.g. at shopping malls. Once they have parked their car, customers will launch their APCOA Flow smartphone app to start a parking session. When they are done parking, customers will close the session and the system will collect a proper charge based on the time spent parking or it will record time free of charge, e.g. for the first hour parked. Alternatively, the LPR system will recognise a car on entry and exit and transmit the relevant data to the APCOA Flow platform to calculate the amount to be charged against the credit card.
APCOA Flow is flexible enough to be seamlessly integrated with nearly all external applications and it can work with most parking management systems. With digitised access control and fee collection processes, the app also brings savings on ticket costs and equipment wear and tear.
APCOA Flow is currently available at 600 APCOA car parks in Germany. It has been recently rolled out in Italy and is set to be launched in Scandinavia by the end of this year, with its Polish debut planned for 2019. Most importantly, all APCOA Flow users will be able to use the service at each of more than ten thousand APCOA car parks across 13 European countries, including more than 300 locations in Poland.