Since the last iteration of Intertraffic Amsterdam in March 2018 the world as we know it has changed significantly; and in one particular sphere of the Intertraffic universe the picture has altered in an undoubtedly positive way.
For Jesse Heitlager, Global Product Manager with exhibition veterans WPS Parking Solutions, the parking sector has become more and more a vital part of the smart mobility ecosystem, playing an increasingly important role in the speeding up of the mobility transition, the overarching theme of this year’s event.
“First of all I wanted to say how great it is to be back at Intertraffic,” he said. “It feels like we’re alive again – we’ve missed the tremendous energy that comes from a group of colleagues working together. The interaction we’ve had already has been awesome. Also, we’ve got colleagues here from six different countries and it’s been hugging time! We’ve been fist-bumping and saying hello from a distance for two years so that’s been great to reconnect and be with people again.”
As for parking’s elevated position within the smart mobility ecosystem, Heitlager believes that the pandemic actually played a positive part in how smart parking solutions are being perceived differently.
“We’re now making better use of existing spaces, such as multi-tenant buildings. Parking spaces around the office and in residential streets desperately needed to be used more efficiently but it’s a complex process. We need systems and solutions that allow us to get these things organised,” he explains.
“Over the last six months we’ve highlighted that our software is not the only product we can offer to customers. We’ve split our solution into our ParkID software which is now a parking operating system as a true base layer with the marketplace on top of it.”
Collaboration is also key for parking to truly be a part of future smart mobility ecosystems.
“No single company, in my opinion, can build all those solutions, so we want to offer a platform to try stuff out. We’re embracing local initiatives while focusing on easy on-boarding for customers to test the system out. If it works then we’ll support it and if it didn’t then nobody burned a pile of cash in the process. This is what the new mobility world is all about,” Heitlager insists. “Being interconnected, trying things out but all the time being aware that trends come and go.”
While clearly celebrating the return to the expo floor, Heitlager points out that WPS, for all their empathy and human-centric approach, are a commercial entity whose customers were hit very hard during the worst of the pandemic and its series of lockdowns.
“Parking isn’t a people business – it’s real estate. We had to figure out how we could work with our customers that had seen their investment budgets disappear almost overnight. What solutions could we offer them that would mean they didn’t have to reinvest in new equipment or find a new use for existing hardware. That is what we are showcasing at Intertraffic this week. Our capabilities as much as the products themselves. It’s going to be exciting,” he says.
“If by the end of this week I have a really good appreciation of the general appetite for what we’re doing then I’ll consider Intertraffic Amsterdam 2022 a success.”