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Parking – Are We Partners or Are We Prey?

There are some big names out there – Visa, Apple, Google, Ford, BMW, Verizon, ATT, Amazon. They have a world view that is biblical in size. Why should they care about little ole parking? They could buy our entire industry with one year’s profits.

The money guys, however, seem to be circling and investing. Not just a few million either. Think about Bain Capital, Morgan Stanley, and Soft Bank. They have invested billions. They don’t do that lightly.

As for the household names I listed above, they too have an interest in our little back street operation. I am sure there is a guy at Visa who’s job it is to keep an eye on parking and how the billions in cash flows through our garages and lots. Verizon is exhibiting at PIE. Amazon is extremely interested in how connected cars will find and pay for parking, plus can you say “Alexa.”

These companies and many like them are realizing that parking is an important part of our daily lives. It has become more than a bad recurring dream with which the public must deal, but a commodity that these companies need to include in the services they offer. And in each one there is someone whose job it is to interface with parking.

Companies like Passport, Arrive, Spot Hero, and Pay by Phone and Park Mobile (the last two owned by Volkswagen and BMW) are in daily contact with these giants, sharing ideas, software, and data.

I remember 10 or 15 years ago they wouldn’t return our phone calls. Now we are on speed dial. Yes, grasshoppers, we have come of age. Now what does it mean. Are we partners, or are we prey.

JVH

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