Creating added value together

Since 2017 WITTE and Tapkey have a close partnership, with jointly developed systems in which traditional locking technology is equipped with digital technology from Tapkey. We invited Michael Tüllmann, Head of WITTE Digital, for an interview. He tells us about the cooperation with Tapkey and gives an outlook on trends in the automotive sector.

WITTE has been a close partner of Tapkey for a long time—what makes Tapkey so special for you?

What is special about Tapkey is the trusting and reliable cooperation that we have valued for years. In addition, of course, the Tapkey system itself. Tapkey and WITTE act together when additional requirements can improve the customer and user experience. We can always count on the professional and competent work of Tapkey.


How did the technology partnership with Tapkey come about? What were the key reasons why the Tapkey technology was used?

At that time we were looking for an attractive, scalable smart access control system and we found it in Tapkey. Tapkey’s flexible and robust structure were decisive arguments for us. In addition, we learned a lot about digital keys with Tapkey and were given competent and authentic advice.


How is the cooperation with Tapkey?

Working with Tapkey is like working within your own team. Together, new requirements are implemented quickly and consistently. It is exactly how you wish to work with a close partner. In the end, it is of course the joint customer who decides on the joint success—so an uncomplicated and goal-oriented cooperation is essential.


What are the questions you have to ask yourself or your partner before entering into a technology partnership?

That’s a good point. The core question is certainly: what drives each party? Furthermore: Which business models have the most intersections that can be implemented quickly and perspectively to clearly describe and implement the common value proposition? Because only when we work on defined goals together, will partnerships become successful in the long term.

Check out our blog for more information on why companies should work together.


What added value does Tapkey bring to the flinkey system?

The added value is at the heart of the flinkey system—the generation and distribution of secure digital keys, which are transmitted between the Tapkey Lock SDK and our flinkey box. We use Tapkey as a trust center. The assignment of roles and authorizations for the automotive use case takes place via our flinkey cloud in MS Azure.


Who is a typical flinkey customer, and where is flinkey used today?

Of course, I’m happy to answer that. Flinkey works purely B2B today. As vehicle sharing is and will remain a trend. Today we separate between partners and customers, with the future focus on going even more into the partner business. Today’s customers and partners of flinkey are, for example, fleet management system providers, mobility platform operators, overnight delivery services, car sharing providers, telematics providers, car rental companies, ride-hailing companies and automotive OEMs.

Flinkey is mainly used when companies do not want to make any structural changes to the vehicle and want to start directly with a system. All you need is the vehicle data from one of our partners, or directly from the manufacturer, in combination with flinkey—a vehicle is ready for fleet operation in just a few minutes. That is what sets us apart.


What trends do you see in the automotive sector? And what role does mobile access play in this?

I will be focusing on vehicle access as such, since WITTE’s core business is at home here (Vehicle Access Systems). I divide the trend into 3 phases. 

In order to make the vehicles fleet capable, two things are required in the current phase: The vehicle data through an additional hardware installation and a system for opening/closing and driving (=flinkey). 

In phase 2 (in 3-5 years), mobility providers will access the vehicle data as standard, which can be transmitted directly from the vehicle ex-works (via detours). So much for data. However, opening/closing and driving is still a problem that can be solved with flinkey. We know that various automotive OEMs still have a lot of catching up to do in this area, which is why these functions will not be available any time soon.

In phase 3 (in 8-10 years), mobile access to vehicles will be available more extensively, with fleet-capable ex-works. However, the global vehicle fleet will then have to be replaced over a period of around 20 years, meaning that mobility providers will continue to work with additional hardware in the area of ​​mobile access for a very long time.

Interview with Michael Tüllmann | Head of WITTE Digital

Michael Tüllmann

Since 2020 he has been in charge of the operational business of flinkey, a unique solution for digital vehicle handover and the automotive layer of the Tapkey access platform.

Michael has his background mainly in sales & business development. In the past, he used to design his own applications. So the bridge to follow his passion within WITTE Digital and our joint partner ecosystem provide him and the whole team at WITTE Digital with a dedicated push to support the change to more sustainable & convenient mobility.

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