ONE goes on sale: Interview with Dr. Thomas Waibel and Stefan Ille (CEO and CTO of DESIGNA)

    Kiel, 01.06.2013: Ed.: Dr. Waibel, Mr Ille, with the new ONE pay station, your BlueEditon family is now complete. Are you relieved?

    Dr. Waibel: "Well, "relieved" doesn't quite describe my mood. May I propose something else?"

    Ed.: Of course.

    Dr. Waibel: "Proud of what our company has achieved." I was already aware of the fact that we were on the right track. But until the last screw was tightened and the last design issue ironed out, I must admit I did feel under a certain amount of pressure. But now, we are all very impressed with the outcome. And the exceptionally positive feedback received from our clients so far has naturally contributed to this."   

    Ed.: A development period of four years - was this planned?

    Ille: "On the whole this is what we expected. If you're designing a pay station from scratch, I consider such a development period to be about right. We quite simply gave the entire BlueEdition project, which also includes our new IN &Out terminals, the space and time such an intensive development process needs. We were aware that this would be a long, a very long journey - and that this is something that can only be achieved with an excellent team. In our case, this was made up of members of our Product Management (project management), Design, Production, Sales and Marketing departments, and external designers, such as frog Design in Munich and Teams Design in Hamburg. If even one link in the chain had failed during the entire development process, this could have resulted in real problems."

    Ed.: Was it really that easy to get all those different departments to work together?

    Dr. Waibel: "Of course, there were many in-depth discussions and some things hung in the balance. Everyone argued their own point to start with. But at some point, each team member understood that such a project can only be managed by working together. So, in the end of all those involved enthusiastically subscribed to the guiding principle of "making the operation process as easy and intuitive as possible."

    Ille: "In retrospect, this cannot be valued highly enough. For some, this eventually meant making some concessions. For others, it meant creating a previously unthought-of solution. Of course, "it's not doable" and "that doesn't exist" were quite often heard. But something like that is only claimed until the first person proves there is another way. And we wanted to be the first - and we managed it. Take the intuitive structure of the operation, for example. Due to the lack of space in existing pay station models it is usually difficult to install new components such that they are oriented toward making operation logical for the customer. The car park customer therefore has to fall in line with the technical characteristics of the pay station. However, with the new pay station, our goal was to create an intuitive payment process. That is why it was essential to ensure that the technical units were arranged according to the intuitive operating sequence. This gave the design engineers and suppliers a great deal of food for thought. But we got there in the end."

    Ed.: What distinguishes the BlueEdition family, and ONE in particular, in your eyes?

    Ille: "In addition to the obvious things such as the extraordinary design and intuitive operation using icons, the BlueEdition family contains a major new systems approach (functions) which I would very much like to explain to you. The pay stations in today's car parks include a multitude of functions. In addition to the classic function of paying the parking fee with cash, debit, credit or loyalty card, the pay station now includes advanced functions, such as the charging of prepaid cards.

    Before we began to develop the ONE, we initially asked ourselves which functions must currently be handled by the new pay station and which in the future. And also which functions it might be possible to integrate in other solutions within the family. Since all of the devices in the BlueEdition family use our proven ABACUS operating system, we are able to provide some functions via the Internet instead of the pay station, such as the charging of prepaid cards, for example. The car park operators like this on the one hand because it frees them from all the associated administrative tasks. And on the other hand, the customers are not bound by the opening hours of the car parks or their individual location when they want to charge or renew their prepaid cards. It's convenient and simple for them to do using their laptop, mobile phone - whatever device they want. This is also the reason why the ONE no longer requires a TFT screen."

    Ed.: Did you come across any stumbling blocks during development?

    Dr. Waibel: "Believe me, you can accurately test, design, assume, evaluate and reject as much as you like in advance. But no matter how extensively you carry out your market and product research, when it comes to the first practical test, you are always confronted with points of view and opinions that take you by surprise. Yes, and some of them can even throw an entire project into question. It's not that you've made a mistake, but simply that the individual is so complex, that only a certain amount can be dealt with in theory first.

    Ed.: What will you take with you personally from this extraordinarily successful project?

    Dr. Waibel: "Well, a success can always be easily explained with hind sight. Now it is up to our customers to decide for or against the entirely new pay station concept.

    No-one is capable of guaranteeing 100 % success in advance. This is due to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to some promises. First, you need to do your homework meticulously. Then you should schedule enough buffers into your development process to allow for something which has already been designed being brushed aside and having to start again from scratch."

    Ille: "I therefore wish to thank all the parties involved who have pushed ahead passionately with this project - and who have also not become discouraged by setbacks. It is precisely this human interaction which made it an impressive experience for me, as it shows what one is capable of when you work together on a goal."


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