Most urban dwellers are familiar with the myriad of problems that face an average motorist at a parking lot – insufficient bays and long queues at the ticketing machine just to name two of them. A new smartphone app developed by a Malaysian company aims to solve that problem with a variety of features each catered to tackle or alleviate typical issues encountered by motorists at parking lot.
Central function of the new ParkAide app, created by ParkAide Mobile (M) Sdn Bhd, is that it offers motorists and car park operators a ticketless solution to facilitate transaction of the parking fee. Upon entering a parking lot, motorists scan a QR code displayed on a screen mounted where you would typically find a ticket dispenser to ‘check-in’ to the parking lot. A similar procedure is repeated at exit to ‘check-out’ and the system deducts the appropriate amount of credits from the user’s account.
Besides delivering a more convenient parking experience for users, the ParkAide app is designed to offer a number of operational benefits to car operators as well. It can be an effective tool to track variables such as the number of available bays or transactions both in real time. Operators can also benefit from the ‘parking map’ feature, in which drivers can use the app to check the number of bays available in parking lots around their vicinity.
On top of the above basic functions, ParkAide also allows car park operators, if they so choose, to offer additional value-added services to consumers. Through the app, drivers can book parking slots in advance, pre-book the valet, or even request a car wash, all for additional fees, of course. Merchants operating in ParkAide-enabled buildings can also benefit by using the app as a tool to direct their marketing and promotional messages straight to incoming visitors.
No doubt inspired by growing concerns of our personal security, the app even incorporates an SOS function where an emergency message is sent to the car park operator if the user deliberately shakes his/her phone for 15 seconds; indicating he/she is in a situation of distress.
Revenue for ParkAide is primarily derived via a 10% transaction fee imposed on each top-up made by the user (via credit card or any other form of e-commerce). The app shows available credits in the form of tokens, which each token carrying the equivalent value of 1 sen; for example, 5,000 tokens (the equivalent of RM50.00) requires RM55.00 to purchase. For operators, it is a zero capital expenditure investment, as ParkAide supplies the required hardware free of charge. In essence, the app’s revenue is supported primarily by consumers, although parking operators can choose to offset that by imposing lower charges specifically to users of the app.
The ParkAide app is available for downloading on the App Store and Google Play for both iOS and Android devices. ParkAide is currently usable in a small number of parking lots around Klang Valley, but the app’s developers are hopeful in extending its coverage to at least 100 parking lots nationwide by the middle of 2015 and eventually beyond our national borders.