And So it Begins


And So it Begins

I have been musing for some time on the topic of parking industry ‘outsiders’ buying up parking suppliers. What is going to happen when well knows firms are purchased by the giants of the economy (Google, Microsoft, Ford, IBM, Xerox)?

It looks like we are going to find out. BMW has purchased Holland’s Parkmobile Group . According to the brief news release announcing the April purchase, the auto giant made the move “in order to offer more services to its customers and to become more than just a car manufacturer.” They also comment that the technology will be available to other car companies. Fair Enough.

When I read the piece Astrid put up on I was surprised by how short it was, merely six sentences. It also described the app company as supplying the user with parking availability and notification if their parking time is running out. Strange that it didn’t mention what I would consider the central aspect of Parkmobile, pay by cell.

This is the problem. BMW buys Parkmobile, and no one in the BMW PR department knows what it is they bought. Oh, I’m sure they will catch on, but its unfortunate that such a dynamic company as BMW can’t get their act together.

It seems to me that the Bavarian car maker wants an app to integrate into their ‘connected car’ program and after an investment into US’s Parkmobile LLC in 2014, purchasing the European Unit makes sense.  They can integrate it into their smart dashboard and you will be paying for you parking without ever touching your phone.  I suspect that the app will grow with the power of BMW behind it and will begin to operate into more and more markets, along side other Pay be Cell companies. After all, what good is it if you buy a BMW in Nashville and Parkmobile doesn’t cover Music City.

As one of the Hunt Brothers supposedly said, a billion here and a billion there and pretty soon you have some real money. BMW has deep pockets. Putting more money in a Parkmobile, now a division, is as simple as sending a memo.

Consider what it means when major economic players begin to gobble up not just high tech app companies but viable PARCS companies as well. This won’t be a 3M fiasco where they bought Federal’s unit to get one technology and were forced to take another, too. These will be strategic purchases to grow their product lines, and our marketplace.

All you suppliers out there better dust off your PR and be ready when someone calls from Detroit, or Redmond, or Silicon Valley. Mark my words, they will.

Parkmobile is only the beginning.


Update:  Parkmobile in the US has been quick to point out that BMW purchased Parkmobile Group, or PMG, which is a Dutch company and a separate company from Parkmobile GLobal US. They note that the purchase will have little effect on them. More info as it is available.



Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. I wonder if this is a German “thing”, a manifestation of silo management structures?

    A few years ago one of the best pay and display machines on the market was produced by Siemens. I went along to their stand at Intertraffic to talk to someone about it and no one there even knew that they made parking equipment! Doh!

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