Interview: Alias2K and the untapped potential of AI in rental

Gian Luca Benci (left) and Jörg Bachmann (right) at the European Rental Association Convention in Lisbon.  Gian Luca Benci (left) and Jörg Bachmann (right) of Alias2K at the European Rental Association Convention in Lisbon.

As rental companies scramble to meet increasing demands, tackle skills shortages, improve productivity and meet environmental targets, the rental software sector has grown in importance, with several players entering the market.

A relatively new addition to the armory of capabilities on offer is Artificial Intelligence (AI).

One such company innovating in the AI space is Italy-based Alias2K. Founded in 2000, Alias2K employs more than 50 people and develops digital solutions for the construction equipment rental industry throughout Europe and the US.

The company has recently announced two significant milestones which it believes will help it to stand at the forefront of that growing market of software providers and enable the rental industry to reduce workloads and improve productivity.

Rental experience

The first of those milestones came last year with the appointment of Jörg Bachmann, who was announced as its head of global marketing and sales.

Bachmann and founder and CEO of Alias Gian Luca Benci know each other well, having first crossed paths all the way back in the early days of the European Rental Association in 2006/ 2007.

“We always worked very effectively and forward-thinking together. It was a pleasure to work with Jörg,” Benci says.

It would certainly be an understatement to suggest that Bachmann brings a wealth of experience to Alias, having held roles with the likes of Loxam, Ritchie Bros. and Zeppelin Rental.

“Seeing the development Jörg took was one of the major advantages he offers to us, working in a very international market for the real big players should help us now to even broaden our customer base and find more international partners and clients.

“With our new company strategy to keep excellence in what we are doing for our customers and for us, developing new Saas products for the rental and construction industry, Jörg fits very nicely in that scheme.”

A screenshot of the Piko platform. Photo: Alias2K A screenshot of the Piko platform. Photo:

“Gian Luca and I have been going a common way for many years now and we have always enjoyed forwarding our goals together,” Bachmann adds.

“Aligning myself with the company, I have the possibility to work in the rental industry again and even better give all my experience and knowledge into new and AI-driven products to succeed the goal I have had since starting to work in this fantastic industry.”

AI focus

The second key milestone for the company, and one in which Bachmann will play a key role, came earlier this year when it announced the launch of Piko, an AI-driven software platform that enables users to manage documents related to equipment.

There was perhaps a sense of irony that Piko, the first real AI product from the company, made its debut at the ERA Convention in Lisbon some 17 years after the two were first introduced by the Association.

The web-based platform utilises AI to automate reading, classification and management of documents such as operating manuals, insurance documents and certificates of conformities.

QR codes can also be generated and placed on machines and tools, which, when scanned, will display all documents related to that piece of equipment.

Private documents such as insurance details can be accessed by verified users via a log-in on the Piko website.

Alias, which celebrates its 25th anniversary in 2025, believes it could save thousands of hours of work and enable companies to improve productivity and accuracy of work by reducing human error.

Both Bachmann and Benci say that with the launch of its Piko platform, the company has entered into a new era of service to its customers.

“Since we have initiated the rollout of Piko, the results have been nothing short of astonishing,” Benci says.

“Piko not only brings substantial cost-saving benefits to rental companies but also offers comprehensive documentation for all assets within a rental company’s fleet.

“In discussions with rental managers, it’s evident that there’s a strong desire for a solution that provides irrefutable proof of possessing all necessary documentation, spanning from the simplest to the most complex rental products.”

And, while some may see AI as a buzzword, Bachmann says Alias views it as a transformative tool to streamline and optimize the rental process, enabling companies to cut down on hours and improve productivity.

He says, “Rather than succumbing to the hype, we’ve shifted our focus to discerning how AI can enhance our software approach and, ultimately, benefit our customers who are at the heart of our operations.

“Through analysis, we’ve identified numerous areas where AI can revolutionize conventional practices. Piko’s capacity to intelligently understand, analyse, and organize documents pertaining to various assets exemplifies this potential, offering rental companies substantial resource savings.”

Future solutions

Benci adds that the company is “actively developing the next wave of AI-driven software solutions”, with one such possibility being a system that optimises the pricing strategies for rental companies. That is currently entering into the final stages of testing with the help of a number of companies.

“Imagine the ability for a rental company to strategically adjust prices, identifying which products warrant increased rates, discerning customer price preferences, and accessing a comprehensive pricing history based on rental duration and regions served,” Benci says.

“Each of our offerings will prioritize user-friendliness, reliability and seamless integration with any rental management system as a cloud-based solution.

“Our overarching objective is to bolster the rental industry with imaginative and groundbreaking solutions, facilitated by robust customer relationships and the deep industry expertise Alias has cultivated over the past two decades.”

Growth aspirations

Bachmann tells IRN that his appointment also signifies an intention to expand but says geographical expansion at this stage is not top of the agenda, although the company does have a US entity Alias USA that opened in 2019.

Instead, he says the company is prioritising growing its expertise in the medium-term; “Bringing on board individuals with expertise in international sales, marketing and business development aligns seamlessly with our strategic vision.

“Our internal growth trajectory will undoubtedly underpin our external expansion efforts. Expanding through additional branches isn’t an imperative at this stage, but we remain receptive to the needs of our customers.

“Collaboration with international partners often necessitates such considerations. If we identify growth opportunities and potential synergies with the right partners, we’re prepared to pursue them.”

Another focus, he says, is its commitment to the rental industry, with the company of the belief that now is the right time to “nurture and expand this sustainable sector.”

In particular, he points to its work on enhanced pricing tools and environmental accountability measures like the ERA CO2-calculator that are making a difference in the industry.

“Every machine in operation within this industry contributes to resource conservation on our planet, reaffirming our belief that ownership of machinery is outdated,” he says. “Our passion for the rental business naturally fuels our commitment to bolstering support within the industry we hold dear. It’s a clear declaration of our unwavering dedication to the rental sector.”

Benci adds, “Our vision for Alias is to pave the way for an exceptional future, particularly within the realm of rental services. With the emergence of AI-driven advancements on the horizon, we believe the timing couldn’t be more opportune to expand our footprint in this dynamic niche market.

“Driving the strategy forward, Jörg will spearhead efforts to bolster international sales and forge strategic partnerships within the rental industry. His expertise will be instrumental in positioning our products for success in the global marketplace.”

With more AI product offerings in the pipeline from the company, it will be interesting to see what development might be made in the future as it continues its AI journey. Watch this space…..

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Ollie Hodges Publisher Tel: +44 (0)1892 786253 E-mail: [email protected]
Lewis Tyler
Lewis Tyler Editor Tel: 44 (0)1892 786285 E-mail: [email protected]