Further to Duncan and CivicSmart

News Release from Duncan/CivicSmart

Duncan Solutions, Inc. today announced the divestiture of its US-based equipment business, Duncan Parking Technologies, Inc., which provides parking meter and handheld enforcement equipment, to CivicSmart, Inc. Under the terms of the sale agreement, which was finalized on July 30, 2015, Duncan Solutions’ US and Australia-based business operations will continue to work closely with CivicSmart in the delivery and support of existing client equipment installations.

The sale to CivicSmart includes all US-based handheld enforcement hardware and applications, single-space and multi-space parking meter equipment and software, vehicle sensors, and related management systems.
“This transaction is a ‘win-win-win’ for Duncan, for CivicSmart, and for our clients,” stated Duncan Solutions President and CEO Michael Flaherty. “Our focus will remain on providing our clients with the quality services they have come to expect from Duncan, and I have confidence CivicSmart has the vision and capabilities to move the industry to the next generation of parking solutions.”
The sale will allow Duncan Solutions to concentrate on its core violation processing and collections solutions for both the parking and transportation industries in the United States and its parking services in Australia.

“CivicSmart is grateful for the opportunity to continue the nearly 80-year Duncan tradition of delivering innovative, reliable equipment and systems to the parking industry,” stated CivicSmart Founder Balu Subramanya. “We are excited to share our next-generation technology and vision with our clients.”
With the acquisition, CivicSmart becomes a leading provider of parking meter technologies in the US and globally, extending its existing vehicle sensing and systems integration capabilities.

About Duncan Solutions
Duncan Solutions, Inc. is a parking management company and a leading provider of parking and transportation management products and services to municipal and commercial clients worldwide, including citation processing, customer service, debt collections, and integrated on-street parking management services. More information about Duncan Solutions is available at DuncanSolutions.com.

About CivicSmart
CivicSmart, Inc., is a technology services and engineering company specializing in developing and delivering innovative parking and transportation offerings. CivicSmart solutions have been deployed globally and, with the acquisition of Duncan Parking Technologies, CivicSmart serves nearly 2,000 clients. More information about CivicSmart is available at CivicSmart.com

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Old Fashioned Parking

One day I’m sure I’ll tell my grandchildren about this old fashioned thing called paper money and coins. I won’t mention the typewriter, because they won’t be able to conceptualize anything so clunky and slow. Whatever they carry, it will be smarter than a smart phone. It will do everything for them except blow their noses and it won’t ever run low on battery power.

Sooner or later, coin meters and even credit card meters will be outdated technology. In El Paso, Texas, pay by phone is an option now in place for parkers, and I think it’s a great move. According to kfoxtv.com, all of the city’s nearly 2,000 meters will be connected with an app that lets users pay with their phones – from any location.

Park El Paso lets motorists feed parking meters by typing in a unique zone and space number and the amount of time for which they wish to pay. Users will receive notifications when their sessions are about to expire.

Even pay by phone will eventually be an outdated technology, and I can’t imagine what will take its place, but for now, it’s advanced. Kudos to El Paso for embracing the future.

There’s a whole generation of people, most of them about 2 years old  right now, that won’t know any other way. They will carry a phone – or some electronic device – like an extra limb. Tap, tap, tap will make their world go round. They might not be able to communicate with actual humans, but they will do wonders with their phones.

Read the article here.

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

And Duncan Goes To…

My industry sources tell me that Duncan Solutions (the US Portion) has been sold to Spectrovation. Spectrovation is the company that owns CivicSmart parking solutions, which according to its web site, has a full line of onstreet sensor and enforcement solutions.

Duncan was owned by Australian based Tenex and has been on the block for a number of months. I will post more information as it becomes available.


Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

How Old Are You Anyway?

Dinner last night with Andreas Jansson from Cale America was enjoyable. He is a  bright young man whose heart and head seem to be in the right place. He was sent to the US for seven months two years ago to fight fires, and stayed on to pour water on the glowing embers. He mentioned that his wife was uncertain about coming here, but as the seven months neared an end, she said that it was snowing in Sweden, and not snowing in Tampa and couldn’t think of a reason to return home.

He said that his parents actually see more of their grandchildren now than they did when they lived 40 minutes apart. They look for any excuse to come to visit, particularly in the winter.

Andreas tells met that last year, ending in June 2015, was the best they have had in the US and he expects big things to come. Cities are looking closely at how they collect parking fees and multispace and pay by license plate meters are on everyone’s list. He must be doing something right.

He told me about moving to America and having no credit, only an AMEX card from Sweden. He called American Express and asked if they would issue him a US based card. Due to his excellent credit, this was no problem. He noted that there is a place on the card that says “member since” and then a date. He was very proud of his card, which reflected his membership since 2001, when he turned 21.

I smiled and pulled out my card, which dated from 1970. I then realized that my AMEX card was 10 years older than Andreas. I told him I received the original card when I left the army. Seems AMEX made it a policy to provide a Green card to all officers who had completed their commitment. Andreas did the numbers and asked my about my service in Vietnam. I confessed that I spent all the time in the Army not ‘in country’ but in Okinawa, then an “American Rock” but now a Japanese prefecture.

Andreas is an interesting and intelligent representative of his company. I expect big things out of Cale America in the coming years.



Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

Old Tickets Never Die

You think you’ve seen it all and then Chicago starts collecting 20-year-old tickets. I started to read the article, published on chicago.cbslocal.com, and I thought, well, that makes complete sense. The city needs the money, why not go after old tickets? After all, those people broke the law and didn’t pay their fines – there’s no expiration date on responsibility.

But then I read “those people’s” arguments. One said she, in fact, did pay the tickets, but didn’t keep her receipts because that was 20 years ago. The city says she contested the tickets, but her contest was not valid and she did not pay the fines.

“It’s not fair to grab something from 21 years ago, and say you owe this,” Parson says. (or whines, rather)

Who’s right? I’d like to take the city’s side, but I’m not so sure. A government office that can’t enforce its own policies doesn’t inspire absolute confidence. It’s entirely possible that the mistake lies in the city’s records. So maybe there should be a deadline – for both parties.

An interesting note buried at the bottom of the article is that part of Chicago’s plan to collect old ticket revenue is to collect it from current lawbreakers. It’s going after the old tickets that belong to people receiving new tickets.

The city confirmed this is a new attempt to collect revenue through people who receive new speed camera tickets or request new city stickers with updated address information.

They’ve now collected $800,000 since implementing the program in May.

I don’t feel so sorry for Ms. Parsons when I consider she’s still out there breaking traffic laws. I’m going to side with Chicago on this one.

One moral of the story is “don’t get any new tickets or you’ll have to pay for the old ones.” Another: “pay your tickets in the first place.” And last but not least: “old tickets never die.”

Read the article here.

Social Share Toolbar
1 Comment

What Really ‘Matters”

We had our company picnic last weekend and virtually all of our staff showed up with their families. It was a super afternoon. The kids were aged from 7 to 15 and played together wonderfully. So did the adults. As I watched them all of them I realized how much each of them mean to our company. Each one has something to give, each one brings a bit of themselves to what we do, each one “matters”.

The term “matters” as a verb is being bandied about ruthlessly by the politically correct. “Black Lives Matter”,  “All Lives Matter”, “Media Matters”, “Learning Matters”, and even “Cooking Matters” – after a while you get rather tired of being beat over the head with it. However, at the risk of certain criticism I would like to add another to the list, “People Matter”.

The dictionary says “matters” has synonyms that include ” importance, consequence, significance, note, import, weight.

I guess I get a little frosted when the ‘matter’ term gets hijacked by this movement or that, and it begins to infer that we didn’t think that ‘learning’ ‘matters’ until someone pointed it out. And if we dare to say “of course we know that” we may be accused of being self serving and minimizing the topic.

The racially infused “Black Lives Matter” is taken by some to mean that other lives don’t. And if someone says, “of course, black lives matter, but then all lives matter” they are accused of hatred. Huh? What it in the world is that all about?

Whether its Lives, Media, Learning, Cooking, or even Parking, when ‘matters’ is attached it seems to become exclusionary. If “learning” matters, then does that mean that if one elects to not take a certain course of study, that they matter “less”.  If “parking” matters, does driving matter less.

The term “people matter” seems so all inclusive I fail to see how it could antagonize, but then I’m sure someone will take offense.

In our high tech age, we forget that people do matter. The technology exists to serve people. People created it, gave it meaning, and made it work for us. I only fear that we forget that people, individuals, do matter in that machines don’t understand the nuances of a certain word, nod, or handshake. A person could be troubled, sad, happy, or simply overworked and tired and what machine is going to pick up on that and react positively to it.

I have said may times that we take all the people out of our garages and off our streets at our peril. We may not need as many, and we may need to retrain them to provide service rather than simply do tasks better and more efficiently done by a machine but if parking is to ‘matter’ then we as an industry must understand that in the end, its people that matter. The rest is clever PR.



Social Share Toolbar

Why is there so much Tech News?

I was discussing Parknews.biz with editor Astrid the other day and was wondering why there was so much news about the new Tech companies in the parking business. She laughed and said “that’s where all the news is happening. There simply is very little about the legacy companies.” I wonder?

The tech companies, the app companies, the pay by cell companies, they all seem to have news releases almost daily. They send us information, they have stories about themselves in local papers (we find that), they are everywhere. They seem to know how to create buzz about themselves.  What happened to the legacy majors — the mainline revenue control companies, the gate companies, even many meter companies, I know they are still out there.

They have marketing departments. They have people who are assigned the task of promoting the companies. But the amount of information that comes from them is about a 10th of that from the new startups, the tech guys, the pay by cell folks.

The tech companies thrive on media. They grew up with it. They know that when something happens in their company, a new hire, a new installation, a bit of news about a new product, an injection of cash it is a vehicle to get their name in front of their potential customers. They know about impressions. They know that even in our rather niche market, impressions make a difference. I know that if I see Charlie and Bobby’s mugs or the name of their company (Passport) one more time I may scream, but I also know that they are working hard to keep their name out there.

Charlie and Khristian blog almost every day – the topics aren’t necessarily about their company but about things that might interest their customers. They are active on Twitter and Facebook. And so are Cherie, Wen, Mike, and Mark at Park Mobile, Smarking, SMC and Spot Hero just to name a few. They send out news releases when anything happens, of interest or not. They are on a first name basis with the editors of outlets like Parknews, ParkingNetwork, and the like.

It is not possible that legacy companies with 350 employees, major manufacturing operations, dozens of outlets across the country, and hundreds of installations, don’t have enough information to spread around the parking media. But getting it is like pulling teeth.

We are there, its free. So why not take a few minutes and tell us what’s going on in your organization. You don’t even have to be a manufacturer. You could be a city, a university, a hospital, a shopping center, a business complex. Tell the world what you are all about. If you need help we can help you.

By neglecting the media you are neglecting yourself. 20 years ago someone told me that there simply wasn’t enough parking news to fill a magazine every month. We are finding that there is enough to fill Parknews daily. More than a dozen stories every day. We have a lot of bandwidth. Help us fill it. You neglect self promotion at your peril.


Social Share Toolbar

You have to LIE to succeed

At least according to this guy. Mr Crichton seems to think that unless you have a talent for the long con, no one will invest and no one will work for you. VC and employees, he says, are getting smarter and if you can’t pull off some overwhelming sales job, based on simply convincing, you will never make it.

He says that employees have been burned so many times in Silicon Valley with unkept promises that they are gun shy. You have to sell them on the company and you have to lie lie lie. If anyone knew the real financial backing or the true forward looking numbers, you would be sitting in your bedroom with your dog. And it would be eying the door.

I know he’s talking about well intentioned lies, lies that aren’t really meant to mislead but to embellish. Lies that will get you the engineer you need, or the $40mil that will carry you to the ‘next level.’ After all, without that engineer or that money, there is no hope of success.

I know I’m not the best person to be talking about business models, but I have always wondered about a company or individual that starts up and on day one has an ‘exit strategy.’ I wonder if Bill Gates or Steve Jobs or the guys at Google or Facebook had an exit strategy.  Maybe they did, but I doubt if they were serious.

It seems to me that if you want to hire good people, you need a commitment, a kickass idea, and a way to make it happen. You need the perseverance to see it through — your money, your mortgage, your life. 20 hour days of work, fresh thought, and I will say it again, perseverance.

If you go into some project with the upfront idea on how you are going to get out, then that commitment isn’t there and you probably do need to lie to get employees or capital.

I always wonder at companies that take the VC bucks and immediately move into better digs, buy top of the line office furniture, increase everyone’s salary, line the parking lot with something from Stuttgart or Munich, and then think, now what.

They speak of burn rate. How long can we survive on the money we have? Shouldn’t they have worried about that in the beginning? Maybe if they had they wouldn’t have to embellish, or to put it another way, lie.

If you find an investor that wants good return, a solid investment, and who trusts you with their money, then you will grow to the next step. Investors that don’t care about anything except owning the next Twitter or Uber may be ok for some, but will they care at all about your product, your idea, your imagination? I doubt it, no matter how well you lie.




Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

A New Twist on Valet Parking

We are all used to driving to a valet, but what if he came to us? That’s the premise of an enterprise called Luxe. In New York City, where Luxe has just begun offering service, car owners drive to their destination and call a valet to meet them there. The customers go on with their plans; the valets park their vehicles for the duration and return them when called.

I’ve been to New York, and I stuck with the subway. I can’t imagine owning a car there because the idea of driving a car there is intimidating, if not terrifying.

According to crainsnewyork.com, the traveling valet service has been born out of necessity. Parking is increasingly scarce in Manhattan, and car owners want options – besides giving up their vehicles.

Luxe, which recently launched its service in parts of Manhattan and Brooklyn, joins two other valet startups on a mission to make life with a car in overcrowded New York a manageable affair. They also offer a solution to the biggest challenge facing many local car owners: finding an affordable place to keep the vehicle off the street.

All three companies feature a long-term parking option at a significant discount to what New Yorkers typically pay, with valets delivering the cars and taking them back at no additional cost. They pull off this feat by renting habitually underused spaces, often in out-of-the-way places, from garages around the city.

Luxe leadership says car owners want to drive more, but can’t because of parking limitations. Now they can drive all they want, but don’t have to park. Luxe valets ride skateboards and scooters to clients’ locations and keep their wheels with them while they park. The company charges $7 per hour and up to $30 for the day – including valet service and the parking spot.

Read the article here.

Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment

This Twitter Thing Really Works

I have had two twitter events this morning. First of all, a woman that I follow, Kathleen Laney @laneysolutions, posted a piece about finding leaders — they are neither born nor taught, but found. I retweeted and told her I liked it. She responded that she would be glad to help find a leader or two for companies in the parking industry. I told her I had a friend who was desperate for senior people and put them together. Within five minutes they were emailing and the rest is history.

I also got involved in a ‘twitter conversation’ between Manny Resoures @mrparking in the UK and Conrad Lumm @myparkingsign. Conrad posited that 90% of the cars may be gone off the street and what were we going to do with all the leftover parking space. Manny noted that wasn’t going to happen soon, and I jumped in with my usual schtick. I said that it could either happen or not…Conrad came back with if we were going to talk philosophy, try Wittgenstien.  I said there was always Schroddinger’s Cat (google it).

It was fun and amazingly enough, a bit thought provoking.

Today on twitter I learned about Mcity, range anxiety in the UK, parking woes in Paris, inground sensors in Sydney, plus tons of information on parking rate adjustments nationwide, the usage of pay by cell phone in a dozen cities. And that’s only in the first four hours of the day.

These are short tidbits, but if they catch your eye, then you can follow the link to the story and who knows?

You only need to invest five or ten minutes two or three times a day and you will be surprised what you might trip over.


Join nearly 1600 others following us  @jvhpt or @parkingtoday



Social Share Toolbar
Leave a comment