Is the Parking Industry in the midst of Disruption?


Is the Parking Industry in the midst of Disruption?

Astrid snagged an article for Park News by Aashish Dalal from Parkwhiz over on Tech Crunch. Aashish is talking about disruption and whether we are in a disruption right now or not. You can read the article here.

Aashish posits that before parking will be disrupted, it must become frictionless.  He uses the example that when you pull out of your driveway, the car immediately knows where you are going and with one tap on a screen, you can reserve a space, pay for parking, and be directed to the spot. You will do nothing more., except steer. The process will be completely automated.

He says that companies like his and SpotHero plus mobile payment types like Passport and ParkMobile do parts of the process  but aren’t there yet.  He notes that they are constantly striving to reach the goal, and are making changes almost daily to that end. All the parts must come together and work seamlessly. Then disruption will take place.

Its easy to be a skeptic. What he is asking is a lot. Cars have to become ‘connected.’ Parking reservation apps have to combine with mobile payment apps, and all have to have an interface that makes it easy for the consumer to use. Not in my lifetime, you say.

Think about it, 25 years ago the ‘net was in its infancy. Cellphones were for making phone calls, not finding addresses, buying clothes, or sending text messages to the person sitting next to you.  Amazon was a river in Brazil. We thought Netscape was the bees knees. But now Google, and its ilk handle our mail and our searches. The phone company has replaced Netscape and AOL.  Same day delivery was unheard of, same week delivery was great if you could get it.

Now, all those things are normal parts of daily life. And the changes are coming faster and faster. Just as Moore’s law predicts that the capacity of memory doubles  (It has slowed slightly now to every two and a half years) the speed of change and the adoption of technology to consumer use has kept apace.

The Automobile industry has thrown itself into the connected car and they are beginning to roll it off the assembly line. Companies like SpotHero and Parkwhiz and Passport and ParkMobile are expanding their reach.  How can you not see their features being cobbled into the next Ford or Toyota you buy?

If we take all this as gospel, what parts of our industry will be disrupted?  There will still be places to put cars, and they will have to be cleaned, lit, secured, and the like. There will have to be enforcement, whether with gates or by personnel. But what of the entire process of collecting revenue.  P and D, POF, Tickets – They all will become unnecessary. But what will become more important — parking guidance, high tech enforcement and LPR, low cost lighting, security and the addition of other features to the parking process will take over. Will the legacy companies be able to turn on a dime and react accordingly, or will they simply hold the course, right over the cliff?

Someone is building a box right now that can be placed in a garage and will talk to another box that will talk to Pay by cell, reservation systems, and the like. It will be cheap, easy to install, and will work. Will it take a quarter of a century. I doubt it.

It will happen in my lifetime, and I”m a codger.




John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. This reminds me of the book written by Spencer Johnson, M.D., “Who Moved My Cheese.” It’s a fun read that helps us deal with change and those who are able to quickly adapt to change are likely the ones who come out on top.

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