Gloom and Zoom
We won’t be the first or last to say this but…what a year 2020 has been! Who could have predicted a year ago, as we sat in our Christmas jumpers, at office Christmas parties, reminiscing on 2019, we were on the brink of a global pandemic. Lots of us left the office for the last time, naively thinking we’d be back in a few weeks. Well, here we are, 9 months later and only days away from 2021, and it’s likely we won’t be seeing teammates and colleagues in person until at least the spring.
This year has been a challenge for everyone and it’s safe to say every company, across most sectors, has felt this pandemic in some shape or form. AppyWay was in a fortunate position to adapt quickly. We left on that last day in March laptops in hand and already proficient in Zoom.
That certainly didn’t alleviate all of our challenges though. Many clients were left scrambling, sourcing laptops, installing the right software before we could pick up where we left off. Amongst AppyWay colleagues, we were also feeling a sense of sadness at not being able to work from our usually buzzing and vibrant office, meeting clients and partners in person.
Positives in a pandemic
Whilst it can be easy to dismiss this year as a write off, on reflection there is much we can look back on with a sense of pride and achievement.
Two weeks before the UK went into its first lockdown, AppyWay attended the British Parking Awards. This year we were recognised by our industry peers for not one, but two awards. Our ‘Smart City Parking’ scheme in collaboration with Harrogate Borough Council and North Yorkshire County Council took out the Intelligent Parking Award, and ‘Future Ready Traffic Orders’ in partnership with Innovate UK, Cambridgeshire County Council, Coventry City Council and Milton Keynes Council won the Parking Partnerships Award. You can read more about the awards here.
Other awards this year have included No.1 Parking App from AutoExpress for our AppyParking mobile app, inclusion in New Energy Challengers (NEC) E-Mobility Top 5, Innovation of the Year at the LGC Awards for Smart City Parking in Harrogate, and winner of the DigiLeaders 100 5G Innovation of the Year award for our exciting 5G enabled trial with West Midlands 5G (WM5G).
The 5G enabled trial in Birmingham as part of our initiative with WM5G was certainly a project high for AppyWay this year. The demonstration saw a live HD street scan being captured from a vehicle travelling an agreed section of roadway. The footage was transmitted and processed via 5G networks to confirm parking availability in real-time to the AppyParking app. By unlocking real-time availability parking data to drivers journey times, the flow of traffic and emissions levels can be improved. This level of innovation is incredibly exciting and we know we’ve only just scratched the surface of what 5G will enable us to do. Watch the case study video below.
5G will bring connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) much closer to an everyday reality. Our ParkAV project and consortium took a look at CAVs and one challenge they face in particular, parking. The project aims to solve the issue of where these vehicles will go to drop off passengers, how they park between trips to recharge, access storage, or be serviced and, importantly, blend the relationship between on and off-street parking to support Mobility as a Service (MaaS) operators. The consortium produced a number of calls to action for central and local government if we are to facilitate a future with autonomous vehicles (AVs), Learn about the project, consortium, and their calls to action here.
A more immediate challenge at hand in our towns and cities is the onset of the electric vehicle revolution. Fleets have begun answering the governments call to arms to meet net zero by 2050 and are making the transition to EVs. We bought together a range of voices from across the EV spectrum including cities, fleets, charging infrastructure providers, and solution integrators to ask – are cities ready for a fleet led EV revolution?
For local authorities it can seem like a daunting task. Between net zero, 5G and the prospect of AVs, authorities can be left playing policy and infrastructure catch up. This year we’ve been helping a number of local authorities tackle their most immediate challenges whilst getting them prepared for the future.
Through our Traffic suite of traffic order management tools we’re helping council’s like Dorset deliver the speed and flexibility needed to keep pace with kerbside innovation. Mike Potter from Dorset Council was kind enough to sit down with us to take us through how the suite is improving outcomes for the traffic order team. You can view Mike’s video below.
At the heart of everything we do is our kerbside data. Whether it be tackling today’s local fleet challenges or helping cities prepare for the future, with accurate kerbside data drivers can move and park efficiently, reducing congestion and emissions. This year we launched our Parking API to put our powerful kerbside intelligence into the hands of fleets across the country. With our API drivers can park faster, providing them the information they need before starting journeys. Through our Parking API we increase the probability of finding parking on-street with insights on where to park at any given time and location. We have a number of fleets providing better driver experiences and we look forward to sharing these case studies in the new year.
There’s much to look forward to 2021, not least the return to some sense of normality. For AppyWay we look forward to welcoming new users to our Traffic suite. We have a number of local authorities on-boarding and we’re proud to be part of their digital transformation journey.
Early in the new year we will be revealing more about our Predikt project with WM5G. Building upon the demonstration we undertook with them, Predikt will be the first commercial parking proposition in the UK that uses 5G technology. Through an app, drivers will be able to rely on accurate predictions and 3D mapping that will highlight the best parking options for them, before they set off on their journey. Find out more about Predikt below.
Also coming up in 2020 is the launch of our third Smart City Parking in the south coast town of Portsmouth. While the streets were quieter than normal, AppyWay worked to prepare Portsmouth for real-time availability of parking, seamless one-click parking payments, and for the authority – powerful utilisation and revenue insights that enable data driven policy decisions.
It’s safe to say we’re mostly looking forward to seeing our friends and colleagues again. Meeting with clients, travelling across the country for demonstrations, events, and training… all the things we took for granted prior to March! Until then though, we hope that you are able to enjoy the festive period with your family bubbles and we look forward to the growth, health and happiness that 2021 will undoubtedly bring.