Find a parking space quickly with the parking pen – GrepBeat

Find a parking space quickly with the parking pen – GrepBeat
Find a parking space quickly with the parking pen – GrepBeat

Robert Wilson (center) is co-founder and CEO of Cary-based Parking Pin, which provides university parking managers with software that simplifies parking navigation and management.

During his time as a student at North Carolina A&T, Robert Wilson had to struggle with finding parking on campus. Every time he arrived on campus, it became exhausting to look for parking. One day, when he pulled into an off-campus parking lot, he was 20 minutes late for a tech test and was locked out of class.

Knowing a solution was needed, Wilson conducted a survey to identify about 750 commuters at NC A&T who were experiencing the same problems. He and his future co-founder Troy Blaylock found that many commuters waited more than 20 minutes before finding a parking spot. Others reported wait times of up to two hours.

Wilson and Blaylock were determined to tackle the problem and developed a platform that helps commuters find parking spaces and provides analytics to parking managers.

“I wanted to be the change I believed in,” Wilson said. “I didn’t see anything like it in the market.”

Cary-based Parking Pin is part of NC IDEA’s MICRO grant program, which awards $10,000 project-based grants to early-stage startups. Wilson said he plans to use the grant money to continue product development and beta testing. (We’ve previously reported on other recipients from this group, including Kahmino, Artificially Digital, Blockchain Power and Theralinq.)

The startup’s initial target audience is university administrations, but Wilson said they eventually want to target hospitals, airports, stadiums or other areas where parking analytics are needed. Parking authorities pay annual subscriptions to access the software, and the product is then available for free to their customers, the commuters.

“We are a one-stop shop,” Wilson said.

Parking Pin has a dual system with a web dashboard for parking administrators and a mobile application for commuters. After signing up to Parking Pin, administrators are responsible for bringing their customers – the commuters – onto the platform.

The app allows commuters to see the capacity of various parking spaces from an aerial perspective. From there, the app allows easy navigation to a desired, available parking space thanks to a partnership that Parking Pin has with Google Maps.

“As commuters, we drive in circles a lot and just hope that a parking space will magically appear,” Wilson said.

There are other benefits too. For example, commuters can get all the parking permits they need right in the app. And those concerned about the environment will appreciate the idea that taking a direct route to a free parking space, rather than driving around looking for one, reduces emissions.

Benefits for administrators

Parking Pin is also designed to give time back to parking attendants. Wilson said these employees often spend much of their day driving around campus or construction sites, which he describes as “mundane” and “archaic.”

Some parking lots have vehicle monitoring devices installed, such as in-ground sensors or license plate readers. However, these solutions are costly because they require large amounts of hardware.

In contrast, Parking Pin’s software analyzes all the parking spaces on the site of a settlement, assesses hotspot congestion and creates a report for the parking administration. The software approach is also easier to implement.

“The great thing about our product is that because it’s a virtual solution, we can get started tomorrow,” Wilson said.

Parking information is provided in real time on request, allowing parking administrators to work from the comfort of the office. For example, if there is a prohibited vehicle in a particular parking space, a notification is sent to the administrators, who can then conduct a field observation.

Working in an office can also promote employee safety and satisfaction. Wilson has heard from parking attendants that employees driving around parking lots will pass out on hot days. And in colder climates, sub-freezing temperatures can also pose a risk to employees.

Wilson said he hopes to further develop the software to create traffic forecasts and identify locations where additional parking is needed. He expects to launch the product sometime in the third quarter of this year and invites anyone interested in Parking Pin to contact them at: [email protected].

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