Apps focus on 'hot' parking space, payment category

  • 24-Sep-2013 08:42 EDT

Pango’s app lets drivers pay for parking using a smart phone.

As apps providers, Tier 1s, and OEMs race to bring apps into vehicles, parking is shaping up as one of the hottest competitive fields. A range of companies are forging agreements with parking space providers, while app providers roll out new offerings that include paying by phone.

In recent months, Audi and Inrix teamed up with app provider ParkMe to augment navigation systems by incorporating real-time parking data, while BMW tapped Parkopedia as its parking information provider. When Google spent nearly $1 billion to acquire Waze, the Waze patent on parking time estimations was one of the targeted technologies.

A Gartner survey shows that parking is the second most desired app after mapping and traffic updates, according to Gartner’s Automotive Analyst, Thilo Koslowski. Many of these apps monitor parking lots to gather usage data that will help drivers find places to park. At least one aims to help them pay for their parking spots.

Pango has developed an app that lets customers pay via a smart phone instead of searching for coins or credit cards. Drivers will gain convenience, while cities that team up with the Israeli company will gain by creating demand-based pricing strategies.

“There are three stakeholders—the city, parkers, and merchants—who can provide promotions to people who park near their business,” said Dani Shavit, Pango’s CEO. “Cities can benefit by charging people who want to stay longer in a restricted area. Now, if someone’s a few minutes over in a one-hour parking zone, they’ll probably take a chance on getting a ticket. With our technology, they can pay for a few extra minutes.”

Pango is also planning to forge partnerships with other app providers. That highlights a major trend in the emerging market for apps and connected vehicles. Companies will have to work with a number of different service and product providers, some new to the automotive industry.

“We’re talking with a potential partner that offers reservations and guidance, so you can go straight to a reserved parking space,” Shavit said. “These types of collaborations will happen more and more often. In Israel, our payment system is not just for parking, it’s also used for car washes and in convenience stores. Vendors like it because everything is charged once a month instead of when the transaction takes place. It saves time and expense when you collect dozens of dollars monthly instead of getting $1-2 every few days.”

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