Q-Free secures innovation and global expansion
With its headquarters in Trondheim, Norway, Q-Free is an international company with more than 30 years of experience delivering intelligent solutions within the transportation sector.
Q-Free’s business area Parking delivers end-to-end parking solutions that benefit the parking facility owner/operator and end users looking for available parking.
In the past, Mobility Infrastructure was defined by the physical highways, roads and bridges. With the evolving focus on smart cities, the internet and data are starting to become the new basic forms of Mobility Infrastructure.
“As we always seek new ways to release functionality and system improvements faster than our competitors, Q-Free has over time seen the need to change from a hardware to a solution focus,” says Kristina Bergstad, VP Service Line Parking, Q-Free. “As the transport systems of most global cities have reached capacity, we need to make it as easy as possible for our clients to process the high quality data from our sensors and incorporate it into their operational decision making, and thus improve and even redesign how traffic flows.”
One example of such a solution is Q-Free’s NB-IoT based parking sensor in combination with a scalable data-hub developed with an intuitive user interface towards parking operators.
“This parking user system will make it easy for parking operators to monitor their parking lots, improve use of available spaces and thus reduce time to park for consumers, which again could reduce emissions,” Bergstad continues.
The hub is seen as one of the cornerstones for future business development for Q-Free.
“We are starting with data from our parking segment, but will be able to integrate sensor data from all our five business units, as well as third parties. This will give us a great base for developing a new generation of mobility solutions and services,” Bergstad explains. “In the future, even self-driving vehicles will be able to use our information from our sensors to guide themselves to an available parking lot.”
“Crucial for our ability to deliver on both current and future opportunities is our choice of cloud solution,” says Bergstad.
To choose wisely, one must have insight into the suppliers’ pipelines. The system architecture decisions you make long before programming begins are crucial for the day of commissioning. This fact is often underestimated and creates delays, frustration and extra costs.
By choosing Azure, Q-Free want to leave competitors behind. Where Q-Free might only be able to use a handful of employees, Microsoft may already have invested 5,000 man-years in solutions that are even improved several times a day.
Azure covers a broad span of functionality including artificial intelligence, communication, predictive analysis, logic and more.
“Having the right toolbox is vital for us to be able to efficiently deliver products that meet the needs of our broad stakeholder group – all operating in fast-evolving mobility environments that require agility and flexibility,” Bergstad says.
Emphasis in building a competent software ecosystem
“The services in the cloud are quite brilliant and as if made especially for us,” Bergstad concludes. “Without this, it would be very expensive to realize our ambitious plans for innovation, if at all possible.”