Hans Puvogel, Chief Operations Officer at Parkopedia joined In the Spotlight to tell us more about Parkopedia. During the interview, Hans explains what Parkopedia offers drivers, how they work with automotive OEMs and mapping companies and what they have planned for the future, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please Introduce Yourself and Tell Us Briefly About Parkopedia
“We are a provider of on-street and off-street parking data and other digital parking services such as transaction integration and aggregation, and new services around HD maps of parking locations.
“Parkopedia was founded 13 years ago by Eugene Tsyrklevich when he couldn’t find parking in San Francisco and thought “Maybe he there is something that should be done about this” and so he created Parkopedia as a service for consumers at the time to find parking.
“We have evolved since and today we are all about helping consumers, drivers and vehicles (because the future will be at partially or fully automated) find and pay for parking. We do this on a global scale, we are currently in 90 countries around the world and we cover over 15,000 cities, including China, Australia, New Zealand, and South American countries.
“In short, wherever there are connected vehicles and parking infrastructure Parkopedia will provide the necessary data to drivers and vehicles to make life easier.”
Who Do You Work With?
“We are the biggest B2C provider of parking data globally, and we are very active in the B2B space where we work with most automotive manufacturers around the world. We are a dominant player, providing parking data and parking payment services to the automotive industry and mapping and navigation providers.
“We work with just about every car brand out there and several mapping companies, such as Apple Maps, Garmin and Telenav, as well as suppliers for the automotive industry, such as HERE Technologies and TomTom, etc. We put a lot of emphasis on B2B to make sure that parking data and services find their way into the car and hence to the driver in a safe way.”
How Do You Verify the Information You Receive to Ensure Accuracy?
“We have a lot of experience in building and maintaining complete and accurate databases. So how do we do that? We have several digital techniques, starting with satellite and aerial imagery. Then we use surveyors on the ground to check on-street and off-street parking locations regularly.
“We use also use our own users and users of our customers in the consumer domain. Crowdsourcing of parking data doesn’t really work, but people complaining about errors provides a very helpful source of quality assurance for us. When a user complains about an error in the data we immediately check it, verify the alleged error with our surveyors and then correct it. So part of it is proactive, part of it is reactive.
“We also use ground truth testing results from our automotive customers to create a very complete picture of the reality out there. The interesting thing for us is that for many parking operators there are sometimes three different truths when it comes to their data: what is available on their websites, what they provide via web interfaces of third parties (such as Parkopedia), and what is actually at the parking location. And not in every case are these truths the same: in fact, we see a lot of deviation there. And that is our job, through ground truth to uncover the reality that the driver is confronted with at the parking location itself.”
Can You Briefly Share One Vehicle Manufacturer Project that Encompasses Exactly What Parkopedia Offers?
“We essentially work with every automotive manufacturer out there, but one example I would like to focus on is Mercedes Benz. For Mercedes, we provide static and dynamic off-street and on-street data, as well as transaction integration which opens up the possibility to make a reservation, drive in and out without stopping, and receive a bill on a monthly or bi-weekly basis. And all of this is fully integrated with vehicle functionality, creating a seamless experience for a driver, who receives the full set of data, including occupancy information and the possibility to actually book and pay for parking.”
What Is In the Immediate Future for Parkopedia?
“The immediate future is business continuity during COVID-19. The parking industry is hard hit by the Coronavirus situation - a lot of the parking operators have lost 75-90% of their revenue and many service providers are down to zero revenue. At Parkopedia we are somewhat protected as our business model is different and relies more on the automotive industry, however, we still need to ensure business continuity, in terms of the product quality, protecting our own people and making sure that our operations continue in the same fashion, or as close to it, as before.
“Then we are also working on new projects and innovations that we are going to launch with automotive OEMs over the next couple of years as well as activities with other verticals in logistics and elsewhere.
“So, in the short term, it is all about making sure that we minimize the impact of Corona for ourselves, our customers and our partners. In the mid to long term it is about launching the innovations that we have been working on with the automotive industry around new use cases for automated parking, payment transactions and bookings, access and pay, etc.
“And we continue working on the new business models for the parking industry, which will improve its resilience going forward, because the impact of global lockdowns on mobility, and in particular, individual mobility, and thus parking, are very much evident right now. It’s all about making sure that the parking industry can resist similar events in the future, in a much better fashion than today.”
Watch the video below for the full interview with Hans:
Founded in 2007, Parkopedia has helped millions of drivers eliminate the hassle of finding parking by using real-time and prediction-based parking space information. We also help drivers instantly book and pay for parking in one seamless transaction, directly from the head-unit. Our innovative data collection technology includes proprietary software, computer vision, and AI. We build key partnerships to expand coverage and maintain data freshness.
In short, we are passionate about parking.