We’ve got services to help us navigate anywhere in the world with everything from traffic information to flight delays at our fingertips. Parking in Motion is confident that they have the one missing piece to our navigation puzzle, where to park once we get there.
PIM is a combination of an iPhone app and a realtime parking info service. You can currently grab the iPhone app on the App Store for free to see how the system works. They’ve got a huge database of parking locations already input and are working on adding more every day.
In addition to the iPhone app, they’ve also got an API for developers of navigation systems. That’s where PIM thinks that their service will really take off. Imagine your navigation system alerting you when you’re nearing your destination and automatically offering you all of the available parking spots near you.
You’d then be able to tap on a spot, pay for it using a digital wallet and be out of the car within a few seconds of pulling in.
This experience isn’t all that far away from your dashboard as PIM already has a deal in place with TomTom, one of the biggest names in GPS navigation systems.
The ability to search for parking, reserve a spot and pay for it is already available right in PIM’s app. You simply hit the locate button, look for available spots around you and tap on them to reserve or pay for them. Most of the spots are clearly marked with ‘$’ signs showing you how expensive they are and parking garages are marked as available or full.
Since they know that air travel is a special case for parking there is a dedicated section just for finding parking spots in and around most major airports.
I spoke a bit with Sam Friedman, the co-founder and CEO of PIM about the roadmap for the future of parking location services.
“We want to make realtime parking information as prevalent as realtime traffic,” Friedman said, “it’s the missing piece to the navigation puzzle.”
Friedman says that for now they’re pursuing GPS manufacturers like TomTom and exploring opportunities to license PIM’s system to other navigation and travel apps. But that their app will continue to develop as a consumer product.
In the interests of giving you the best choices in parking, PIM already has in place a static database of parking pots in 300 US cities, 50 in Canada and 200 in Europe. In addition, it’s working to create a dynamic database of spots using eyes on the ground and deals with parking companies to make sure that their information is as close to realtime as possible.
PIM is currently making income from data licensing deals but it’s experimenting now with additional ways to gain revenue for the privately funded company, including more revenue sharing deals in individual parking transactions.
PIM’s system is incredibly painless to use and works great as a standalone app. We would welcome it’s addition to any GPS system we purchase in the future. PIM also has plans for a web based version at their site, an Android app and a Blackberry app.
We’ve already got great apps for getting us from here to our destination, it’s good to see that someone is tackling the problem of where to park once we’re there.