Can't Find Parking? Search SpotScout Online

A startup plans to create a real-time marketplace for available parking spaces and deliver the information to subscribers over a mobile phone or GPS network.
SpotScout Inc. wants to take the hassle out of finding a place to park a car in crowed cities where finding a space takes patience and luck. So, the company's founder Andrew Rollert, and applications development team, built a Web-based application to broker the transaction.

Coding on the application began last year. When the service launches in beta test mid-September, users will have access through any Web-based mobile device, such as Motorola Q, Research In Motion (RIM) Blackberry and Palm Treo. The signal transmits over mobile data networks.

"Mobile application content is the thing of the future," Rollert said "The top thing people want to know isn't a sports score or stock report. They want to know where to find a parking space so they can't stop their car and get out."

Parking garages and individuals in Boston, Manhattan and San Francisco have shown the most interest in the service. Rollert said roughly 800,000 potential users have signed up for the service. Registered users will post the location and price of a parking spot they plan to leave or make available on specific times and days. Seekers would search for soon-to-be-available spaces.

"The mobile aspect is cool, and I'd probably give it a try once or twice," said Scot Wingo, CEO ChannelAdvisor Corp., which provides auction and marketplace software and services to companies like Best Buy, Dell, IBM, Motorola, and Sears. "It's seems you'd want to check for a parking spot before you reached your destination, maybe 10 minutes out, but by the time you arrived the space could be filled."

If the space is still available and price agreed on, the money is withdrawn from an electronic account and held until the person arrives to claim the parking spot. Both parties then complete the transaction and the change goes through.

Rollert said the service is free to consumers, but SpotScout gets about $3 for every $20 a parking garage would charge for the space.

Eventually, Rollert hopes SpotScout will integrate into satellite navigation systems.
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