NOW! Innovations and Fortumo to export mobile carrier payment solution for parking and EV charging around the world

Now! Innovation in Holland


Two Estonian companies, the mobility services company NOW! Innovations and the carrier billing provider Fortumo, announced a global partnership for charging payments for parking and electric vehicle charging.

NOW! Innovations will start offering payments for mobile parking, electric vehicle charging and other services through Fortumo’s direct carrier billing solution, available in a number of European and Asian countries and the US. As a result of the partnership, interested municipalities, parking and EV charging network operators as well as NOW! customers will be able to easily add mobile operator billing as an additional option for accepting payments from users.

In Estonia, 90% of parking payments are charged to the mobile operator bill. The firms are now aiming to make mobile operator billing for parking and electric vehicle charging available in new territories.

Fortumo’s system works via carrier billing, wherein customers pay for digital goods via their mobile billing plans with their mobile operators. It currently features payment connectivity with over 300 mobile operators in 80 countries.

NOW! Innovations is a global provider of mobile payment, billing and management solutions for parking, electric vehicle charging and other mobility services, currently operating in eight countries.

 

About the author: Estonian World

EstonianWorld is a London-based independent online magazine that writes about cosmopolitan Estonians and their views, ideas, experiences and achievements around the world. We cover Estonia's global successes in technology, business and the arts from a fair and balanced perspective, in a way that is accessible to Estonians and non-Estonians alike.

  • Jim

    Reads like a press release not journalism.

    Care to mention how poorly Now’s attempts in the US market ar going compared to their competitors? Or how about the millions in public funds they have received via EAS and SmartCap?

    • LoJack

      Actually, it is press release. At least it seems to be.
      What comes to poorly or not – well, firstly, being third largest such provider in US (at the market of about 25 billion per year) is by no means poor performance. Secondly, compared to tens of millions VC money poured to their competitors in US market, not such a bad performance, one would say. Thirdly, providing software platform to two largest in the world nationwide fast charging networks, parking asset management system for Moscow (by far the largest in the world) and being third largest the US – I would not consider that to be poor performance. At all.
      But of course, Jim, you could show much better performance. Or can you? Beside throwing unfounded accusations?

      • Jim

        Fine, I’ll bite.

        Here’s a link to Now Innovations coverage in the US. It’s a few small municipalities: http://mobile-now.com/available-locations

        Here’s a link of a US competitor’s coverage in the US: http://us.parkmobile.com/members/members-locations/

        It’s clear who is doing better at getting customers.

        Or let’s look at the new President of Now Innovations (US arm – MobileNow):

        http://mobile-now.com/2013/11/mobilenow-names-john-oglesby-president-ceo/

        Notice the last line of the press release:

        “Oglesby continues to serve as the Vice President of Business Development and Technology Implementation with Denison Parking.”

        So they can’t even hire a full-time CEO? What good technology company has a part-time CEO?

        The sad thing about this is when Now Innovations (actually their predecessor) started with the SMS-based parking technology in Estonia more than 10 years ago, it was way ahead of its time. It was a world leader. Then, they dropped the ball. They couldn’t sell and market it abroad, and they fell behind technology-wise. For example, the iPhone app version (m-parkimine) was released only in November 2011 — 3 years after the iPhone came out. Why were they so behind? Bad management is my guess, but I really don’t know.

        In terms of the parking asset management system in Moscow, what we don’t see is numbers on how much it is actually used. That’s just one option for how to pay for parking, and we don’t see any data on how many people are actually using their solution and technology.

        • LoJack

          If you want to compare, compare apples to apples.

          Parkmobile, that you pointed out, established itself at US market years earlier then NOW!. Since then Parkmobile raised close to $20 million in investments, close to 10 times more then NOW!, if the public sources are correct. About $10 million from Fontinalis alone. At the same time Parkmobile’s coverage is about 3-4 times larger that indicates that NOW! is far more successful at making investments count.

          Few small municipalities? NOW! covers the whole Montgomery County, MD. Still one of the single largest mobile parking installation in US. Parkmobile covers large number of small railway station parking lots at the East Coast claiming them as “cities”. Again, from public source information if you would trouble yourself to find it and analyze.

          NOW! does not operate in Estonia. So if you want to blame management, blame Tallinn municipality and EMT’s management who are operating in Estonia.

          Could not sell abroad? Again, check your sources. NOW! won tender in Antwerp, Belgium in 2006 (http://www.nowinnovations.com/about-now) beating the 800 pound gorillas like IBM, Siemens and Parkmobile (yep, the same). The company still operates there (NOW! sold it, check http://www.mobile-for.be/uk/) as virtually monopoly covering the whole country.

          About Moscow. NOW! does not act as a operator neither in US not Russia. It develops and sells software licenses (SaaS). Thus, it can not reveal any statistics by themselves. It’s up to local licensees. And Moscow actually does that. If you would like to know Moscow statistics please check it at parking.mos.ru The system there covers 281753 parking spaces (paid and free at this time) and collected something close to $10 million since launch on 11/01/2012. Given that there was no paid parking before that I would call it success. Wouldn’t you?

          Do your research, analyze and compare apples to apples if you want to argue.

          • Jim

            You act like ParkMobile raising investments is a bad thing. That shows investors believe in them.

            How well is Now! doing? Even their CEO isn’t full time! Is the company so great that they don’t need a full-time CEO?

            Looking at ParkMobile’s map, they cover entire cities in various states in the US. The maps just don’t compare — ParkMobile has vastly more coverage, and seems to be expanding faster.

            Now! winning one tender in Belgium 8 years ago hardly counts as a major success. What have they done since then? Watched all their competitors beat them?

          • LoJack

            No, taking in investments is not a bad thing. Ability to use investments is. If MobileNOW!’s investments are about 10 times lower but the coverage is 3-4 times lower the common logic says that they are at least twice as successful converting the investments to market share.

            Parkmobile expanding rapidly? I’m not that sure. Their “available soon” is not the proof of that. Haven’t found any MobileNOW! cancelled and/or reduced installation information from Google. Found that about Parkmobile though: http://www.laexpresspark.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/Pay-By-Cell-Reduction-_-Stakeholder-Notice-03-18-14.pdf

            High ratings at Google Play? Right. Check iTunes – about the same ratings. Why? Want contacts to “service” that votes high for your app at Google Play? For about $5 per five star vote?

            BTW, there is no NOW! in US. There is MobileNOW!, US company that licenses the platform from NOW! Thus it’s wrong to argue, that NOW!’s CEO is part-time employee. Or compare NOW! to Parkmobile for that matter.

            What they have been doing for last 8 years? Check http://nowinnovations.com/about-now
            System sold to 8 countries in 3 continents. According to last publicly available financial reports they are profitable.

            So, you still argue that the company that is active on 3 continents, is providing the software platform to largest installation in the world (both parking and EV charging) and is profitable is somehow bad investment for EAS and SmartCap?

          • Jim

            And, let’s see what users think of the companies’ apps:

            Now’s app, with an average rating of 2.8 and more 1′s than 5′s:

            https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=us.parknow&hl=en

            ParkMobile’s app, with an average rating of 4.5 and the majority of reviews are 5′s:

            https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=net.sharewire.parkmobilev2

            So not only are cities overwhelmingly choosing ParkMobile, but users seem to like their app much better.