Technology and Pink Park
Smartphone App Technology
By Sandra Smith
In the past few years, technological advances have been moving at lightning speed. More than 90% of adults in the U.S. have a cellphone, and 64% of those are smartphones. The Internet is now accessed more through mobile devices than personal computers.
Smartphones have changed the way we communicate, find information, buy things and obtain services. It’s no surprise that we are spending more time each week on our mobile devices.
Let’s look at the way that smartphone app technology is transforming established industries. Consumers now are able to request services on-demand utilizing apps.
For example, the launch of Uber’s mobile app has turned the taxi industry upside down. The service is based on a “sharing economy model.” Its mobile app empowers users to match up drivers with passengers who need rides through an online marketplace.
So-called collaborative consumption is a growing sector in which participants share access to products and services, bypassing traditional methods.
Another example is Airbnb; its mobile site connects hosts and travelers through an online marketplace without owning any inventory. The company’s success has disrupted the traditional accommodations sector, because it has created a new source of supply. About 26% of Airbnb’s business is done through the use of its mobile app.
Handy, among others, has created an entire business by matching freelance workers with people who need odd jobs done.
These start-ups are built around systems, rather than products.
What does this mean for the parking industry?
The future for the industry is in software and mobile apps. Imagine an app that allows parking operators to post their inventories and set their prices based on demand. Drivers find, book and pay for parking spaces based on their needs.
The closest thing that I have seen to a shared economy model in the parking industry is Pink Park, an Israeli-based company founded in 2010.
Pink Park uses a combined hardware and software solution that allows private parking owners to rent their parking spaces to random drivers in real-time. The service is currently available in central Tel Aviv, offering 10,000 registered drivers more than 400 private parking spots.
About 92% of customers’ requests for parking are answered with a relevant free parking spot within a range of 300m. Drivers can input how long they need to park, and they are directed to the available space owner. The app also sends a reminder to the driver’s smartphone letting them know that the allotted time is almost up.
The economic power of the smartphone is not to be underestimated; I think we have just seen the tip of the iceberg. Forbes magazine lists “advanced pervasive invisible analytics” as one of the top 10 technology trends. Tapping into how people use their smartphones and where they are located are rich data ripe for the parking industry.