Prelude. Every great story has one.
Parking. It’s a word that’s come to be associated with going round in circles. Inconvenience. Wasted time. Fumbling with cash. It sometimes even results in road rage as two cars dash for the same spot!
In a world full of technology, parking is still a search based on luck. Research from Dr. Donald Shoup from UCLA concluded that in certain urban areas, 30% of traffic is people looking for parking. Additional research has shown that this search can add 20 minutes to your trip time. Traffic analysis in Bangalore shows that in many areas that number can be up to 2x higher.
In today’s world time is much more valuable than money. But that’s not the only resource compromised when playing in the parking maze. Once you've found a garage, you have to find a parking spot - endless circling, CO2 emissions, liability risk, increased anxiety and road rage are all thrown into the mix. And the larger the garage, the more driving around.
Finally, you’ve found that coveted spot, you go about your business or enjoy your time at the mall. Life’s finally good. Until it’s time to leave again. There’s a line of people trying to exit. More waiting as people try to find their parking stubs and fumble for cash.
I experienced this sequence of events during a recent visit to a mall in Bangalore to catch a movie. Let’s do some math. I was at the mall for 3 hours. I spent 45 minutes (to park) + 15 minutes (to find an ATM to withdraw cash to pay for parking) + 5 minutes (to search for the parking stub) + 20 minutes (to exit) + 2 minutes (to pay). Total time doing “un-fun” things - 1.5 hours.
I want to get cars off the road and into parking spots as fast as possible. Ridesharing helps, but not enough. Being in Silicon Valley surrounded by technology and smart people, the solution was here somewhere. Having spent 15 years at Qualcomm, MIPS and Imagination, plus several other years in startups, there was a thing or two I started to understand about IoT, human-centered design, and software.
I had my “eureka” moment after multiple conversations. I spoke to people everywhere I went – a professor on a flight, my hairdresser, people at Stanford, garage and parking lot owners, mall patrons, friends, family, colleagues, young, old, American, British, Indian, Saudi … you name it. The answer was irrefutable - people had to be predictably diverted off the road, into a guaranteed parking spot.
DIVRT was born, a cloud-based smart parking system, that allows users to reserve a parking spot via a mobile app. Our vision is simple – to be the last parking solution on the planet. We want “parking” to be that part of your trip that you don’t think about - a word long forgotten. Consider Friday night dinner in UB City (Fava – yum!). Before DIVRT, parking would have taken anywhere between 45 to 60 minutes, adding to the stress and exhaustion of the work week. Using the DIVRT app, users pre-book their parking spot and spend Friday night as it should be spent – with friends and family (and beer!). When you’re done, just exit – with a pre-paid transaction. Simple and Elegant. Plus you get an email receipt, no paper!
DIVRT recently had a successful launch at VR Bengaluru, generating a lot of interest and excitement amongst mall goers. We approached VR to be our launch partner in India seeing a synergy in company philosophies. VR is a mall that focusses on user experience above the bottom line. Their emphasis on the VR experience is self-evident within the mall, and now with the deployment of DIVRT, from the moment of entry to the time of exit. This human-centered approach is at the core of what the DIVRT team does. Through pre-booking, cashless payments and a dedicated spot, we ensure a seamless user experience.
The parking conundrum is an interesting one. As I mentioned earlier, UCLA research shows that in certain cities 30% of urban traffic is due to people looking for parking. On the other hand, garage owners and city planners struggle to optimize use of parking spaces, unable to increase occupancy beyond 70%. The answer is not in increased infrastructure, but in optimizing the use of existing facilities. By being an end-to-end smart parking system, DIVRT addresses the parking conundrum from both ends – the consumer and the garage owner. Our solution allows garages to manage and monitor real-time parking availability. Using optional intelligent sensors in parking bays, a robust backend, database, prediction engine, payment portal, app and available parking API – a garage is able to quickly deploy, monetize and monitor available parking. We can usually bring a garage online in less than 10 minutes.
Today millions of miles are being driven, going nowhere. The time wasted is paralleled only by the adverse environmental impacts and increased carbon footprints of cities. At DIVRT we pride ourselves in putting forth a technology solution that’s green, helps slash the number of miles driven and reduce carbon emissions. All of this while improving the user’s parking experience. Coming at the heels for PM Modi’s smart city initiatives, DIVRT is committed to providing a green, technologically-robust parking solution for the smart cities of today.
Stop paying for parking with your time.