How FlashParking Is Turning Isolated Lots Into Connected Hubs
This post is the latest in our “Driving Local” series. It’s our editorial focus for the month of August, including topics like autonomous vehicles and the car as the ultimate “local” mobile device. See the rest of the series here.
The parking technology company FlashParking wants to reimagine the way parking lots are managed. But alongside their efforts to introduce smart technology to individual operators, the company is taking a decidedly different approach to decreasing traffic congestion in cities.
Operating under the belief that most technology solutions to urban challenges are unnecessarily complicated, the team at FlashParking is working toward solutions that redirect resources away from constantly updating technology. Instead, FlashParking is pushing a system that embraces a “future-ready” approach — in which hardware and software infrastructures are built to transform over time for long-term durability.
“The parking industry is one of the last sectors to accept the direction of technology, consumer expectations, and business standards,” says FlashParking CEO and Co-Founder Juan Rodriguez.
Rather than putting complete reliance on automation, AI, or any of the other machine learning technologies that are trendy in the auto industry right now, FlashParking is taking a streamlined approach to parking management. The company offers an integrated suite of hardware and subscription solutions for parking operators and asset owners to manage their gated, parking lot, and valet operations.
One of FlashParking’s chief missions is to solve a problem that Rodriguez refers to as the “mobility challenge.”
The mobility challenge is the threat presented by increasing urbanization, increasing vehicle miles traveled, and congestion with deteriorating infrastructure. By 2030, 60% of the world’s population will live in cities (up from 50% today), and congestion can cost as much as 2% to 4% of national GDP by measures such as lost time, wasted fuel, and the increased cost of doing business.
Solving the mobility challenge won’t stop at transit, but FlashParking believes it does require changes to be made to existing transit infrastructure. The company is moving away from isolated parking assets as it promotes connected mobility hubs.
FlashParking’s infrastructure focuses on perfecting the parking experience at the site level. But while competitors are retrofitting solutions, FlashParking is taking a cloud-first approach. FlashParking’s operating partners are still managing, brokering, and monetizing traditional parking garages, but the company is working to add a technology layer to enable new transactions via a secure, real-time engine, with frictionless movement of all vehicle types. At scale, and with the right demand-side data via consumer app integrations, FlashParking’s connected mobility hubs could represent a practical solution to congestion in some of the country’s largest cities.
“If you think about the future of our mobility ecosystem, FlashParking will be at the center, as the infrastructure layer that supports mobility hubs and all the partners connected to them with a secure payment system,” Rodriguez says.
FlashParking sells through a direct model, without distributors. While that’s the preferred standard in many industries, Rodriguez says the parking industry is still resisting.
“The same goes for the cloud, where we trust so much of our day to day activities; but there are still late adopters that are not 100% comfortable with operating parking access and revenue control in the cloud,” he says. “We have had incredible success in leading the industry towards its inevitable future, and are growing over 100% year over year—but the resistance to adapting with technology is why we aren’t doing 1000%.”
Although FlashParking supports a number of verticals, Rodriguez says urban centers with downtown areas that support mobility services like TNCs and scooters are the places where the difference between an isolated parking garage and a connected mobility hub will have the greatest impact.
“The growth we’re seeing across the board right now is encouraging because, while each vertical has unique motivations, there is actually a lot of overlap in their ultimate goals—meaning that there are a ton of mutually-beneficial efficiencies that we can establish,” he says.
As FlashParking focuses on future growth, the company is looking to double down on the number of integrations and its adjacent partnerships. It’s also working to hold off companies like ParkJockey, which are evolving into larger, well-financed groups, by scaling up quickly.
“Throughout the process of finding a place to park, reserving a space, gaining access to a garage, navigating, enjoying additional services, and paying—there are so many touch points where significant value can be added by partners,” Rodriguez says. “And that is really what continues to drive people to those garages—a drastically better, frictionless parking experience.”
Stephanie Miles is a senior editor at Street Fight.