2019’s sure been a year. For South Africa, that means extreme highs and depressing lows, but one things for sure, the country didn’t stop…
With a combined population of around 2.7 billion people, China and India are the two most populated countries in the world. That translates to a lot of cars on the road and plenty of parking challenges. How then are these countries dealing with this through tech?
Ventureburn has previously looked at apps that South Africans are using to find and pay for parking, but how do they stack up against Indian and Chinese solutions?
EasyParking: Launched in 2015 by Beijing based TingJianDan Information Technology Company, EasyParking links drivers to commercial car parks.
The app allows drivers to locate available parking lots by simply speaking into their phones and all while being able to pay for them online.
Additional features like valet services, reservations and advance payments are being offered by parking apps in India and China
Users can also get real-time information on available parking lots, the cost of parking and even allows them to reserve parking. It also uses license plate recognition for verification.
Ubo: This Beijing-based valet parking app, which was launched in 2015, does a bit more than park your car for you. Users can choose to get their cars washed and even get their tanks topped up. Ubo valets are also equipped with body-cams that record every moment from when the vehicle is picked up and returned to the user vehicles.
Once the car has been parked the user gets a notification which includes recorded mileage and a photo of the parked car. The app uses geo-location to enable drivers to tap their phone when they need their cars back, resulting in the Ubo valets driving it back to them again.
Tingchebao: This location-based, on-demand app allows you to find and pay for available parking spaces. In addition, it allows users to reserve parking spots in advance. Tingchebao also offers an on-demand valet parking service. Users can opt to pay a flat fee for unlimited parking.
Park India: This app allows drivers to search for parking spaces near the locations. What makes Park India stand out is its intensive database which allows users to actually explore search results by parking lot photos and filter through rankings. Once users find their preferred parking spot, the app then helps users navigate to the selected parking space.
ParkingRhino: This Bangalore-based startup helps users in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune and Guwahati book parking spots in verifies parking spaces near them. In addition to a GPS-enables search and navigation feature, Parking Rhino also has a valet offering.
Get My Parking: Get My Parking has developed an Internet of Things (IoT)-based smart parking platform which indexes parking lots. Through the Get My Parking app, users can get real-time parking updates on available parking, search for, book and navigate to relevant parking areas. In addition to this the IoT platform can be accessed and used by municipal authorities.
Valet parking in SA?
In an email to Ventureburn, Street Parking Solutions (SPS) CEO and founder Zunade Loghdey pointed out that Ubo is a copy of two US apps Luxe and Zirx.
Luxe is an on-demand parking app that offers added services like car washing and fueling, while Zirx is also an on-demand valet startup (however in 2016 it closed its consumer valet service to focus on enterprise service).
“The model met with little success in the US. The problem is the premiums charged, parking is already a grudge purchase. The model is good for more developed countries where it is acknowledged that payment for parking is essential and necessary, and that time is money!” said Loghdey.
He believes that an on-demand valet service would have little likelihood of success in South Africa “due to a virtually non existent valet culture, lack of trust, vehicle theft, crime perception and relative parking economy”.
In China the ability to reserve and pay for parking in advance is a popular feature in parking apps. Loghdey said this would not work in South Africa largely owing to municipal regulations which are based on a first come, first serviced principle.
“South Africa does not allow on-street and municipal parking spaces to be reserved. This was also outlawed in US,” said Loghdey.
He added that should regulation allow, SPS’s Parkfind app could perform both reservation and off-street parking as well.
Real-time reporting of parking availability is one of the biggest trends in parking technology. Loghdey said most parking apps instead use search-based functionality.
Loghdey questioned the availability of full real-time reporting functionality in Ubo, Park India and ParkingRhino.
The Parkfind app offers real-time searches of parking availability. Said Loghdey: “Basically, Parkfind is very far ahead of the pack! Most South Africans don’t even know it”.
This article has been brought to you by Parkfind.
Blondinrikard Fröberg via Flickr (CC 2.0 BY-SA, resized)