“All the top people in one place”
If you only listened to the talks by experts and innovators at the Fleet Europe Summit, you might think that platforms and apps are all we need to get around. The Fleet Europe Village provided the necessary counterpoint – the marriage of metal and data.
If you were looking for the actual hardware that gets us from A to B, the Fleet Europe Village (at the Fleet Europe Summit, 6-7 November in Estoril, Portugal) was the place to be.
In fact, among the 42 exhibitors, the OEMs formed the biggest contingent (13), followed by lease companies (10), fleet management companies (4) and telematics providers (4). Apart from a handful of equipment providers, there were also carsharers, electrification specialists and providers of multimodal mobility.
The Village was an interesting blend of a trade fair, and a county fair. At the Volvo stand, you could take your chances in a driving simulator – we saw a few contestants go into a dramatic crash but walk away unhurt (except for their ego). Mobility solutions provider Choice offered stuffed animals of a very fluffy variety.
A 3D printer at the BMW stand produced keychains built from a milk derivative, in the shape of a wheel rim. Webfleet Solutions offered juice from a bicycle-powered juice bar. But the eyecatcher of the Village was the American bald eagle, perched on the birding glove of its minder, at the stand of fleet and mobility management platform Avrios. “Because there is an eagle in our logo,” said he (the minder, not the eagle).
Great to draw crowds, but even the stands without the benefit of wildlife were happy with their experience at the Village. “It’s a great place to build awareness for our brand,” said Carlos Castillo, Associate VP for Fleet Management at Geotab. “Even though we work via resellers, it’s good to get in touch with potential end customers, who we then refer to the appropriate reseller. Plus, there are a number of our partner companies present. And it’s a great place for networking.”
That sentiment was echoed by other stand holders. “Visibility, brand identity, getting our name out there,” listed Phillip Underhill as the reasons for Verra Mobility to be present in the Village. “Especially since we’re an American company that recently acquired a Spanish company, and we want to increase our presence in Europe.”
“We’re interested in potential clients in the leasing space. And they’re all here,” chimed in Chady Salameh, director of Verra Mobility France.
Kenneth Malmberg was a speaker at last year’s Fleet Europe Summit. This year, we find Ridecell’s Senior Director Strategic Alliances EMEA behind the counter in the Fleet Europe Village. “If you want corporate carsharing, we have the solution. We’ve met with a lot of people in these two days – with a lot of potential for future business. It’s a great way to meet all the top people in one place.”