ParkMaven Launch Review

Lydia Woodward | 7th June 2018

Industry leaders gathered at One Canada Square to celebrate the launch of ParkMaven's first product suite.

On 6th June 2018, ParkMaven celebrated the launch of their first suite of software products with an exclusive dinner for the biggest names in parking and property. Guests gathered at Level39, One Canada Square to be entertained by an evening of networking and talks from industry innovators.

Harrison Woods, CEO of ParkMaven, was first to take to the stage. After a warm welcome, Woods enlightened his audience with an explanation of the technology behind the ‘world’s leading cloud platform for car parks’ and shared the full scale of his ambitions within the industry.

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ParkMaven was created to solve the problem of data chaos. Traditionally, parking operators have relied on Excel spreadsheets to track booking, occupancy and revenue information, meaning that the moment they lay eyes on it, the facts are out of date. The core ParkMaven technology is a single real-time connection between on-site enforcement solutions, access control systems, PMS, RMS and online marketing channels, designed to ensure a seamless experience for both motorists and managers. 

The product suite composing the ParkMaven platform includes:

  • The Booking Button, a white-label booking engine allowing operators to sell parking spaces direct and commission-free
  • The Channel Manager, which automatically streams empty spaces across all the top online marketing channels
  • The Smart Dashboard, showing real-time data and intelligent management insights in one place  

Appetites sated by a generously-portioned starter, guests keenly received Eugene Tsyrklevich of Parkopedia. As the CEO of a company with a mission to answer any parking question, anywhere in the world, Tsyrklevich’s take on autonomous vehicles was predictably insightful. 

As members of the CAV3 (Connected and Autonomous Vehicles) consortium, Parkopedia are spearheading the development of self-parking functionality in autonomous vehicles. The concept of self-driving cars provokes some scepticism on the counts of consumer demand, expense and safety. Fortunately, parking is well-placed within the overall conundrum: people hate parking, the functionality is relatively cheap to develop, and car parks present a controlled environment where vehicles move at slow speed – dispelling most safety concerns. 

By 2020, Parkopedia are on track to demonstrate the viability of self-parking cars at SAE autonomy level 4. This marks a jump from the current ‘partial’ stage of automation to a ‘high’ level, where the system is able to perform all aspects of a given driving task without relying on humans to respond correctly to requests to intervene. Tsyrklevich anticipates that all major car manufacturers will ship vehicles with a self-parking function within a few short years of the close of the CAV3 project. 

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Andrew Higginson, Chairman of Morrisons, stepped into the spotlight next to deliver a valuable lesson in business. Higginson explained that success in business is rarely built on scale: in the supermarket industry, expanding into international markets means competing with trusted local providers. Even Walmart, the world’s largest company, was forced to withdraw from the tough UK business climate. 

The key to futureproofing an enterprise, according to Higginson, is the ‘power of simple’. Convenience has been the single most important factor of the past 50 years for supermarket shoppers. Giving customers what they want is the most effective way to grow big business even bigger; during Higginson’s tenure, Tesco rolled out 24-hour stores, continental-style hypermarkets, self-service checkouts, home delivery and healthier checkout displays to eliminate problematic ‘pester power’.

The ‘power of simple’ is a lesson for the parking industry, too: car park providers must see parking as a customer experience and remain relentlessly efficient at every stage of their operations. 

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James Kirimy could not have chosen a better opportunity to close the evening with a curveball. The Electric Vehicles & Infrastructure Lead for Uber seized the occasion to announce his company’s ambitions to collaborate with the parking industry to support a cleaner, greener future.

Stunning his audience with some alarming statistics, Kirimy revealed that 3.7 million premature deaths per year result from dangerous air quality. When 75% of air pollution is generated from the transport system, we have a responsibility to develop cleaner vehicles and smarter, more efficient methods of transit. 

Kirimy sees a shared, electrified, automated future. 50% of miles on UberX are driven by hybrid vehicles in Britain; by 2025, Uber hopes for a fully electric fleet. Technology is transforming the way we move across cities, but soon, it will also transform the cities themselves. Uber is new to infrastructure: with a vision to develop mass ‘charging hubs’, they will rely on collaboration with parking providers to scale this solution. 

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With guests travelling in from as far as New Zealand, celebrations extended well into the night. Representatives from all sectors of the parking industry made the most of their chance to establish new friendships and business partnerships over drinks at Bar One Canada Square.

Commenting on the event, Caron Fassetta of the BPA observed that the dinner marked a ‘coming of age’ for Woods: “He’s gone beyond parking and radiates confidence in a product that’s ready to transform the property and tech industries, too”. 

Enthusiastic praise from guests indicated that ParkMaven are building a powerful momentum going into the annual Parkex event next week, where they will exhibit their product suite in public for the first time.

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