In densely populated areas, available parking spaces are often scarce. When you are traveling by car, you often face the problem of finding a suitable parking space. Since parking the vehicle takes significantly more time than most people would like, various app providers have recognized the enormous potential for improvement and developed their own solutions.

    The range of services offered by the parking lot apps

    The corresponding parking apps offer drivers a wide range of services. However, it should be mentioned that an app does not always combine all services in itself, but rather focuses on a sub-area. There are applications that show their users free parking spaces on roadsides, in parking lots and/or in multi-storey car parks. In addition, information regarding the possible opening times, parking fees and the maximum parking time is displayed. So that you don’t have to buy a ticket at places that are subject to a fee, you can even buy them conveniently via some apps and pay for them to the minute. It is also possible with some providers to automatically open the barriers of underground car parks, multi-storey car parks or parking lots. As a private car park owner, you can also register as a landlord and make your free spaces available to the general public.

    The providers differ not only in their range of services, but also in their cooperation. This is why users of certain apps can only park in selected car parks, for example. In addition, the activities are limited to certain cities and communities, so the applications do not work everywhere. So before you download a parking app, you should find out exactly about the included functions, parking options and cooperations so that the service also suits your own needs. There are also free and paid offers.

    From startups to large companies – the competition is fierce

    The range of parking apps is very large. So far, no provider has really been able to assert itself, so that the market is highly competitive. Many large and small companies are trying to address the demand with their self-developed apps and win over most of the customers. In addition to Porsche (“Parken Plus”), BMW and Daimler (both “Park Now”), numerous startups are also working on the topic of “Smart Parking”. Another big player is APCOA PARKING Deutschland GmbH, Germany’s largest car park operator, with its “APCOA FLOW” service. This offers users the opportunity to open contactless barriers in over 200 parking garages throughout Germany, to pay automatically and without cash, and to find the nearest free parking garage. Customers only need the free “APCOA FLOW” app and an RFID chip, which must be visibly attached to the windshield.

    In addition, in this dynamic market segment, it is not uncommon for large corporations to buy up small companies with high expertise in order to further their own progress and thus gain an advantage over the competition. For example, Continental took over the startup Parkpocket and the large supplier Scheidt & Bachmann the smaller competitor Evopark.

    It is also about customer data

    One of the valuable things about the parking app business is the customer data. On the one hand they are required for the simple functionality of the applications, on the other hand they also provide important insights into the behavior of the users. According to Bernd Bienzeisler, border crossing scientist at the Fraunhofer IAO, the providers of the apps are receiving personal data relating to parking for the first time ever. So far, it has been an anonymous process to draw and pay for a ticket. The information now available, on the other hand, enables companies to provide their customers with an individual offer. According to a blog entry by Bienzeisler, this can create an enormous competitive advantage. For example, the providers could develop bonus systems and measures for targeted customer loyalty. It is therefore not to be expected that the many apps will come together to standardize their services. Although the users would probably prefer to have a solution and there are already different forms of cooperation, the number of providers will probably not decrease noticeably, since nobody wants to give up their own contacts to the end customers.

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