I used to love Friday networking lunches in Ponsonby, Auckland. We use to meet at an Indian restaurant who gave us a great deal and there would always be new people and opportunities.
The challenge was that finding a car park was very hard. I’d start off like other people arriving late having driven round in circles of ever increasing size until I found a park. Eventually I learned to arrive 20-30 minutes before the lunch and then had to spend time waiting for everyone else. I would visit local shops and maybe buy something which was good for them, but not so much for me. It also reduced the amount of time I had for metered parking.
There have been apps around for years, but many only operate in one part of town, or in one city, which means you may have to install several apps if you travel around a lot like I do.
I did quite a lot of research into this space as one of the keynote speakers to the New Zealand Parking Association a few years ago. If you’d like to see the presentation, you can find it here on Slideshare. It was called A View From Left Field. It surprised several operators when I pointed out that their car parks were not the customers’ destination. It’s funny how introverted you can be in an industry.
I discovered and met people who were developing car parking apps and one that I really liked was Frogparking. They are a NZ startup and have parks throughout Palmerston North and other locations, but have found most of their success overseas with many councils opting to develop their own apps.
Most systems require extensive proprietary hardware which can be expensive to install, but some like newcomer from Israel, Parkam is a disruptor who can use AI to identify car park availability simply by getting access to live security camera access.
Cities today are trying to reduce the numbers of cars, especially single occupancy, going into the city, which is a good thing, but leaving the car behind isn’t always an option. Reducing the number of car parks is one tool, as is congestion taxing. Whatever they do, this problem isn’t going away, so good apps need to become a part of the armoury.
Personally I feel the best thing to do is to utilise existing apps, rather than councils spending money developing and maintaining their own apps, which tend to be driven by trying to solve individual problems, whereas custom apps keep innovating because that is their core business.
Checkout my latest Location Based Shorts Video. It’s only a bit over 2 minutes long.