On the occasion of Parkl‘s live demo and a test drive of the new electric BMW taking place at Millennium Gardens, we have interviewed Balázs Magyar, Head of Business Development at Parkl.
Why did you choose Millennium Gardens for the Parkl live demo and test drive of the new electric BMW?
We consider Millennium Gardens not only one of the most modern office developments in recent years in Hungary, but also one of our most important benchmark projects in the field of parking digitalisation and e-mobility. The digital parking system implemented in the building, including the highest quality license plate recognition camera, digital display, and the Parkl ecosystem behind them, all provided us with an outstanding opportunity to give our existing and potential partners a complete overview of how our service works. It was also important for us to highlight the ESG aspects of Millennium Gardens, which included the installation of 20 EV charging points, which project was also delivered by our company, from the purchase and installation of the chargers to the implementation of the Parkl’s smart e-mobility system. This allowed us to demonstrate to our partners, who came to the event from the most important companies in the Hungarian real estate market, how managing the parking and charging process within a single system can simplify day-to-day operation for office building stakeholders.
With the rise of EVs and PEVs, there is a growing demand for electric charging stations in office buildings, shopping centres, hotels and residential parking lots. How is Parkl adapting to this growing demand? Do you always take into account the growing demand when designing a parking system?
We recognised relatively quickly that electrification had reached our country, so we introduced our e-mobility services back in 2018. This step was also justified by our belief, that with the spread of EVs, our parking habits will change, as parking and charging will go hand in hand, so we need to develop the charging network in places where we spend more time parking our cars. This is primarily our workplace, in addition to our homes, shopping centres, car parks and hotels. Our ideas have been proven right and the importance of destination charging has exploded in recent years, thanks to the growing number of electric cars, government regulation and the fact that companies that have access to parking (whether in an office building or a shopping mall) have realised the importance of meeting this new demand.
Is there an increasing demand for EV chargers in logistic real estate, warehouses, etc.? Do you have experience in it?
Our experience shows that more and more companies are opting for electrification of their car fleet in logistics too. We have several partners who have installed electric chargers with our help in their logistics centres or on their premises. For example, one of the largest delivery companies in Hungary, or maintenance service providers, who have replaced their commercial vehicles with electric ones and therefore the installation on their premises became necessary.
Today, almost everything is digitalized, including Parkl’s service. How do users keep up with your system, especially the older generation who’s not necessarily used to digitally booking their parking spaces or controlling the charging of their cars in the app? Do they adapt easily to the new parking system?
When developing Parkl, our priority was to create a user-friendly mobile app and online administration interface. While our system has a lot of features, we have organized them in the interfaces in a way that everyone can easily access the ones that are most important to them. In addition, Parkl team takes a great attention when launching a new site to ensure an extensive training to all colleagues who will work with the system and also the users who will use the app day-by-day. For this reason, the implementation of the system usually starts with a test period of a few weeks, during which our Customer Success Experts provide active support. This opportunity remains after the test period too, but we have found that support is needed much less frequently, as both the operators and the users visiting the office get use to the system quite early.
How did you come up with the idea for Parkl Digital Technologies and how did you realize it? Were you motivated by the market gap in the Hungarian market or by other personal factors?
The idea was born from the digitalization of parking in 2016, and in the early years, we primarily provided smart parking services to car park operators, with in-app barrier opening and payment. As sustainability has always been an important aspect of our business, we introduced e-mobility services alongside smart parking in 2018. Shortly before covid, we started developing our business solution called Parkl Office. Even then, we could see the increasing demand for digital and e-mobility solutions in the office market, but the epidemic effects such as hybrid working and growing number of EVs further triggered this. Fun fact, that we started working on the parking reservation feature already in the very early stages of the app development, but initially we wanted to use it in apartment buildings and hotels. However, the development took a completely different direction, and the focus was more on the digitalization of the parking system. In the end, all the hours invested in the development of this function were not in vain, as we were able to develop it further to meet the needs of office buildings and create Parkl Office, which is now Parkl’s flagship product. The lesson of the story is to believe in what you do, because often it’s not the product that’s wrong, but the door you knock on.