In preparation for the Smart City Expo World Congress Barcelona, we spoke to Jurgen Rutgers from BeSite. Together with the Amsterdam ArenA, BeSite set up the Mobility Portal: an online solution for travel advice to venues, that helps to solve mobility issues in areas prone to congestion. At the Expo (14-16 Nov), BeSite will be one of the companies to meet at the Holland Pavilion.
What does BeSite do?
Jurgen: 'BeSite is an internet company specialized in 3 themes: Smart Mobility, Smart Parking and Smart Industry. Within the three themes we develop smart internet solutions. We make a strategy, develop the product and do the marketing for the desired results.
In Barcelona we will focus on the Mobility Portal that we developed together with Amsterdam Arena. The mobility portal is an online environment where we inform visitors of a venue via one single planner, about all the possibilities to travel there and come home again.'
How was the Mobility Portal realized?
'People buy their concert ticket well in advance, but they only think of the journey on the day itself. About 10 years ago, we started offering bus tours to venues via an online platform. We later offered parking reservations as well. It was an immediate success. People found it very pleasant to reserve a parking space in advance.
We noticed that we were able to steer people in a certain direction by giving travel advice with their parking ticket. With this in mind, we made the plan for the mobility portal 4 years ago. We have connected several service providers, parking providers, public transport company, taxi company, taxi company, hotels, flights, basically everything you could travel to the arena. You can view it, you can compare it, and you can also book and pay directly.'
What are challenges in your business?
'When combining so many different systems, there are a lot of technical problems. However, the most difficult challenges are related to politics and governance. We generate a large impact on the organization of an area. If we recommend parking space A, it means that parking space B is empty. That brings up discussions of course. Also the parties that are responsible for the roads, safety and other governance structures are increasingly integrated in our network to cope with upcoming challenges. You have to know all the stakeholders very well to succeed.'
Why will you join us to the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona?
'I want to meet other inspiring projects that offer smart solutions for cities. I also want to meet venues and cities that would benefit from the Mobility Portal. I can show them what we have done at the Amsterdam ArenA and how that could work for them. For example, the stadium in Munchen is facing similar issues as the Amsterdam ArenA. We already have the experience and the technology, so we can easily scale up abroad.'
What is the objective for upcoming years?
'Our goal is that every venue in Europe uses the Mobility Portal. We already reach 30% of the visitors of the Amsterdam ArenA, and receive a 8,5 (out of 10) client appreciation. These results show that we do something that matters. We also see better spreading of traffic, leading to less congestion. The Amsterdam ArenA is our playground, a living lab. Now we want to expand to other cities.
The biggest chances we see is in proactivity. We will not wait for a client to ask for our product, but we can deliver our services when you need it. When we know you will visit a concert in a certain venue, and your usual travel mode, why not suggest a better way? We can achieve a lot more in the future.'
Jurgen: “The technical solution is no rocket science, others can do that too. But to have a living lab available and understand the needs of stakeholders, that is the real challenge.”