Friday , 20 September 2019

Enabling Smart Parking

A mobile app, ‘Get My Parking’, gives all parking related information to urban commuters, parking management companies and the city authorities. ‘The Delhi NCR motorists have been significantly benefitted by this app for both, on-street and off-street parking’, says Rasik Pansare, Co-founder and CMO of the two-year old Agile Parking Solutions Pvt Ltd.

What is Get My Parking all about?

‘Get My Parking’ empowers self-driving users to search, book and navigate to parking areas easily, thereby saving time & fuel, and reducing congestion. While observing the South-East Asian market, co-founder Chirag Jain and I realized that technology was widely used to solve issues related to parking. But in India the parking industry has been unorganized & fragmented, and the mobile evolution has not made much of an impact.

We identified the problem – it was primarily in the supply side of the industry that included the parking contractors, the government, and the OEMs. There is a demand in the market for Smart Parking technology but it is not being met properly through technology.

We began spending 14 to 15 hours on the parking lots, often as parking attendants too. We did not have any previous experience in the field. Hence, initially we collaborated with a few parking contractors. SA Parking was one of our first clients. We understood the working of the parking lot and the pain areas of the industry.

So what are the problems?

The industry is besieged with a huge revenue leakage problem. It is a cash-based industry with no direct control over cash collection. Hence, the need for introduction of technology becomes all the more important. Again, users were unaware of the right parking rates and if they were being overcharged. Parking slips were mostly hand written, and not verified by the contractors.

There were also security issues involved like when a driver lost his parking ticket, when he claimed another car or when field attendants did not hand over the tickets. We realized that all the traditional parking management software and the parking management systems were computerized and could be installed only in places like malls.

In malls, entry and exit points require construction work. There, boom barriers have to be installed and porta cabins, computers & desktop have to be put. Inverter is also needed as continuous electricity supply is not guaranteed. In summers in North India, air-conditioners too are needed. We discovered that a mobile app could do everything, and were convinced that the parking management systems had to shift to mobile based systems from computerized systems.

Initially, our mobile did not have many features. It used to do only ticketing i.e., the mobile based system only helped with entry and exit tickets. We used to ask the mobile number of the user/ person walking in. They would then be sent the ticket through SMS. But the system failed because people do not want to share their mobile number with strangers even if it is for the tickets. So that is when we decided to give paper tickets. We could not go paperless straight away. We attached a small Bluetooth printer to the mobile phone and began giving mobile tickets.

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