Car parking is an industry that’s about as dull and uninteresting as it’s possible to be, but there’s no denying that it’s also a critical one. Moreover, it’s one that’s badly in need a helping hand through the use of mobile tech – so it’s good to know that assistance is on hand.
A new startup going by the name of Streetline is hoping to streamline the parking ‘experience’ by helping drivers to located the nearest available space to them in real-time. To do so, the company is hoping to work directly with city officials and install an array of sensors in parking lots and on streets that allow parking, so that drivers will be able to find them more easily.
Today, it’s just been revealed that Streetline has received some serious financial backing, with a $25 million cash injection from investment firms Qualcomm Ventures and True Ventures. That should help it to compete against similar services like BMW’s ParkNow, which are also trying to gain a foothold in this emerging space.
It’s a pretty big investment, but then many people fail to realize that the parking industry in the US is worth some $25 billion annually. People are more than prepared to pay for parking, so logically we can assume that many will also pay for the convenience of being able to find a space hassle free as well – something I predicted in an article earlier this week. Should this kind of service take off, there’s also the side benefit of less traffic congestion – it’s reckoned that people driving around looking for parking spaces account for about 30% of all traffic congestion, and if that can be reduced then everyone will benefit from it.
Streetline is unique in that it’s one of the first companies born of the “Internet of Things”. To use its services, drivers have to download an app called Parker, which can then ‘talk’ to the sensors installed at various car parks located around the city and find out where all the empty spaces are – a deadly simple concept but obviously, one that brings huge benefits.
As things stand, Streetline has lots of work to do. Currently the service can be used on a limited basis in thirty cities and university campuses throughout the US and Germany. Hopefully, with $25 million to spend on new sensors, we can expect to see Streetline made available in many more cities in the near future.