Monthly Archives: October, 2015

Never Hunt For Parking Again: Getting Into Peer to Peer Parking

October 29th, 2015 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Community, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Those who live in the city know the struggle – finding parking in an area with poorly maintained garages, or limited street space, can be nearly impossible.

But the problem doesn’t stop at city lines. Anyone who’s ever attended a sporting event, who’s driven to a festival or fair, or done any kind of park and walk event knows how it goes. You drive, and drive. You circle the block. You moan and sigh as you watch people walking into the place where you want to be going, all the while not knowing that something like the peer to peer could actually be helping you right now.

What Does ParqEx Do?never hunt for parking

ParqEx connects drivers with spots – that means no more hunting and looking, no more being late for your events, and no more outrageous prices for vendor parking! By making use of the peer to peer (P2P) or sharing economy, ParqEx has taken out the middle man and put the power of the transaction between the person who needs to park and the person with the parking spot. Drivers can find parking quickly and efficiently; spot owners can make money with parking spots that aren’t doing anything besides sitting around and being empty. It’s really that simple.

Get the app today, and see how it works for yourself!

What Are the Benefit for Drivers?

Drivers reap a multitude of benefits. First, you have the ability to find parking ahead of your event – no more hunting for parking when you’ve arrived. Everything is set up before you’ve even left the house. Second, ParqEx takes the security of both parties very seriously – you can rest assured that the owner of the spot you’re renting from has been checked out by ParqEx, ensuring that you’re leaving your car in a safe spot (which is more than can be said for a lot of public parking these days). Finally, with ParqEx there’s always a live person to talk to when it comes to customer service. With city parking, that may not always be an option; rest assured that we take your happiness very seriously and want to hear from you!

As an added bonus, drivers have the ability to cancel their need for a spot. While you may have arranged to be in a parking spot the night before, you can cancel a spot reservation up to two hours before the start time of that reservation. How’s that for flexibility?

What Are the Benefits for Owners?

Countless individuals live in apartments, townhomes, or even houses and commute using public transportation or bikes. If your home has parking but you have a bike, then you have extra space that’s going to waste! Even if you have a car, you aren’t necessarily using your parking space at all times – you may even have multiple parking spaces, but only one vehicle. ParqEx makes it possible to get your parking space working for you. We allow you to set custom rates for hourly, daily, weekly, and monthly parking, letting you earn what you’d want to earn from your spot. You get to set up your own calendar for when your spot will be available (perhaps when you’re at work, or when you’re out of town), and presto! You’re making money off your parking spot.

As an owner, you get the opportunity to be paid in a multitude of ways – we offer payments via Paypal, Venmo, Chase QuickPay, and standard checks. You’ll get paid 85% of your parking charges every week.

Want more information? We’re always happy to help! Contact us today for more information on how you can skip the parking struggle for good!

Parking Tips that will Save You Time and Money

Parking Tips That Will Save You Time (And Money) In Chicago

October 22nd, 2015 Posted by Chicago Travel Tips, Community, mobile app, Parking, Safety No Comment yet

Chicago has everything a traveler could ask for, from night clubs and music venues, to sporting arenas, theaters, and conventions. One thing the Windy City doesn’t have, though, is quick, simple, and painless parking. Chicago is hardly unique in this problem when it comes to major cities, but if you don’t want to bust your travel budget finding a place to leave your car while you enjoy the city’s sights and sounds, here are some parking tips that will protect your wallet.

Parking Tips that will Save You Time and MoneyTip #1: Street Parking is a Real Life Saver

Chicago, like most other major cities, has an abundance of street parking. If you’re just going to lunch, or to a quick meeting, then paying $7 for an hour or so at the meter isn’t going to break your bank account. However, if you’re going to be out all night (at a concert, hitting the clubs, etc.) then it’s a good idea to pick a location very carefully. According to research, street parking in many parts of Chicago is free starting at 9 p.m., and it will remain that way until 8 a.m. the next day. Planning ahead can be a major boon for those who’d rather spend their money on something more fun.

Tip #2: Validated Parking Can Get You an Hour or Two Free of Charge

If you go somewhere like Trader Joe’s, you’re allowed to park in the customer lot with a validated parking ticket. That ticket will be good for a few hours, as long as you go inside and make a purchase. Once you’ve picked up that item you needed, whether it was a pack of gum, or a car charger, you can still spend time in the area. You may have as long as two hours, which gives you ample time to grab a bite to eat, take a walk in the park, or meet up with a friend. Again, good planning will save you from spending $25 or more for a parking slot in a garage.

Tip #3: See if Your Hotel Has Free Parking

Parking is at a premium in any big city, and Chicago is no exception to this travel rule. If you’re paying for a room at a hotel, though, you’re often given a free parking space as part of your stay. That can take a huge load off of your shoulders, particularly for hotels that allow you to come and go as you please without any additional parking fees, valet fees, etc.

Tip #4: Use an App to Pay For Parking

We live in the age of the smartphone, and thanks to the spread of technology there’s no reason for you to drive around looking for a parking spot while you’re in Chicago. All you need to do is download a parking app, like Parqex, and you’ll be treated to a view of available parking near your destination. Not only does the app give you a bird’s-eye view of your parking situation, complete with a map to let you plan your evening more easily, but it allows you to pay for parking with a few taps of your screen. Quick, easy, and there’s no need to keep a cash stash in your car to be sure you can cover your parking expenses.

The usefulness of parking apps cannot be overstated. As long as you have access to the Internet, you can pay for your parking. Whether you’re going to a garage or the street, as long as the meters are in the network, it’s all taken care of.

For more useful tips and tricks on getting cheap parking in the Windy City, simply contact us today!

ParqEx: 4 New Trends in the Sharing Economy

The Future of the Sharing Economy: 4 Exciting New Trends

October 15th, 2015 Posted by Car, Community, mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

The sharing economy has already changed the world, and it has brought a surprising trend ParqEx: 4 New Trends in the Sharing Economy
of decentralization to our culture. While centralized organizations (i.e. governments, banks, unions) aren’t always the most ardent fans of the sharing economy (see the Boston taxi cab driver unions vs. Uber as an example), the average citizen, whether we realize it or not, is set to benefit in jaw-dropping ways as new technologies and ideas break out. (And Chicago will certainly not be left behind; see point 3 below about the new parking sharing economy.)

The most important question is this: what will we be sharing in the future? Here are a few exciting sharing trends that society will enjoy as these ideas (that are, frankly, still in their infancy) blossom to maturity:

1. We’re Sharing Ideas for Cars: Crowdsourcing Car Design and Manufacturing

Local Motors is severely disrupting the automobile industry and challenging every major company to rethink how they do things. His company actually crowdsources car designs from the public, and then he uses micro-manufacturing to 3-D print the custom-designed cars at a tiny cost compared to the traditional model of the giant corporate car manufacturing plant. Although 3-D printing is not anything new, the way Local Motors is crowdsourcing car design ideas (and then combining that with micro-manufacturing tech) is indeed new, and it’s making headlines.

As YPO.org observes:

Local Motors uses a cloud-based platform to break down the crowd into idea creators, idea developers and commenters/critics. So if there are 10 developers for every creator and 10 commenters for every developer, a project with five creators might have 500 people adding constructive comments to the idea. That creates real business power that would be difficult to get within a traditional organizational structure.

2. Sharing Capital for Early Stage Startups

OurCrowd is becoming one of the primary trailblazers in the Wild West of investor crowdfunding, the exciting new peer-to-peer style approach to raising capital for startups. OurCrowd rallies investors around a startup, gets the investors to evaluate it, and then team up to fund it.

3. We’re Sharing Our Private Parking Spaces 

ParqEx, an app that is designed specifically for Chicago and its parking challenges, is leading the way in the helpful new trend of parking space sharing, in which owners of private parking spaces lease their spots to drivers. The ParqEx app, for example, allows drivers to search for private parking spaces based on location, and then reserve the space by month, week, date, and even hour. In addition, the owners of parking spaces can use the app to lease their spots and earn some extra income — a win-win for everyone involved.

4. We’re Sharing Our World-Class Education and Practical Experience (for a Very Low Cost)

Sure, we share our homes, investment funds, parking spaces, cars — heck, even our car design ideas — so what’s next on the share list?

Education.

Student debt and its depressingly high growth rate in the U.S. is finally pushing people to find other ways to get educated. Enter startups like Skillshare. Its premise is simple: use a low cost Spotify-styled subscription approach that gives members access to extremely high quality online classes.

And it’s not mediocre, thrown together imitations of education. We’re talking world-class educators, many of whom are at the top of their fields. In addition, Skillshare is changing the game by changing the definition of what makes a great teacher. They are looking for real-world leaders who have years of hands-on, practical experience — i.e. a successful Fortune 500 executive instead of a professor who can teach about business theory at an Ivy League school, yes, but has little real world experience or success. For example, want to take a screenwriting class from actor James Franco? No problem. How about a marketing class from Seth Godin? Go for it.

The scary thing is that the sharing economy is just getting started, and the examples above represent only a small fraction of what is happening.

The future is very bright.

Contact us for more fascinating insights and tips on where the sharing economy is going and how you can be a part of it.

US Government, Mobile Phone Company Teams Up to Create ‘Smart Cities’

October 8th, 2015 Posted by mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

The public is still getting used to the idea of a “smart home,” which is one of the primary buzzwords of the IoT (Internet of Things) revolution. However, the world of technology waits for no one, and innovators are already moving on to something bigger: the smart city.

And often, when it comes to technology, large bureaucratic structures like the government tend to lumber behind. But in the case of the smart city, the federal government is actually taking a lead in the revolution and partnering with corporations to make it happen.

AT&T Teams Up with the Government

The White House has recently announced that the government will use $160 million of taxpayers’ money to fund the research and development of smart cities. AT&T will play the lead role in the project as it works to bring new smart city tech to 10 cities. The tech will, according to a recent article in the Motley Fool, include smart lighting, transit, security, buildings and parking, and it will have a strong emphasis on sensors that monitor traffic, electric meters that track energy consumption, apps that remotely control the city’s lighting, and, in the realm of public safety, audio sensors that send alerts when they detect gunfire.

The federal government likely favored AT&T because of its heavy investment in smart city technology in recent years. As the Motley Fool notes, AT&T already has 16.5 million smart energy meters functioning in the U.S. The company is also collaborating with IBM to implement water sensors in Las Vegas, Atlanta and Los Angeles. That collaboration is just one among 100+ collaborations that AT&T is implementing to create new smart technology. AT&T is currently known as a phone company, but in the future that brand image might become a distant memory. It will likely be known for its smart technology and its leading role in the Internet of Things.

These developments are just the first trickles of the smart city flood. Navigant Research projects that, by 2023, smart city technology revenue will rise to $27.5 billion globally. In 2014 it was $8.8 billion.

Examples of Interesting Smart City Tech Innovationstech innovation

The following are a few of the exciting things coming to smart cities like Chicago (yes, Chicago is at the forefront of this as well — more on that in a moment):

  • Smart bus systems that allow riders to use apps that tell them exactly when a particular bus will arrive at a particular stop
  • The re-purposing of “dumb” infrastructure — i.e. old phone booths and bus stops — into connected WIFI hot spots and digital information booths. This re-purposing is already underway in Los Angeles and New York.
  • Smart grid technology such as the four million smart meters that Chicago will install by 2018 that will save residents money.

And if you want to see some examples of the wild frontier of this new technology — the most creative, daring steps of innovation — you might have to book a flight to Paris. Harvard students have teamed up with the city of Paris to introduce some of the most experimental ideas in IoT, such as the following, as quoted in GovTech.com:

  • Hydroponic islands [i.e. islands that use hydroculture tech to grow plants without using soil]. These hydroponic islands are made of recycled plastic that remediate urban waterways. [In other words, they’re re-purposing recycled materials and urban waterways to grow food or other plant life without using soil.]
  • A pneumatic trash system [i.e. operated by pressured air or gas] integrated into the sewage network.
  • Underwater hydroelectric turbines that harness the river’s current to power mass transit. Adaptive road networks that shift in size, usage and direction based on traffic patterns.

New App Revolutionizes Parking in Chicago

While the technology involved in smart cities is truly amazing, the sharing economy will also play a vital role. Innovation doesn’t just come in the form of gadgets with sensors and connectivity. Innovation has always required new ways to use our human-to-human social connections. The digital age began this process with social network sites, and the sharing economy has taken this to the next logical step.

Chicago is in the forefront of this area, especially with the new parking app ParqEx, which allows Chicago drivers to reserve from other users in the app a privately owned parking spot in an ideal location in Chicago for specific times — down to the very day and hour that the driver will need it. Likewise, people who have private parking spots can lease them to drivers through the app and earn some extra income by simply being generous with their parking spot.

For more news and insights into the latest technology innovation trends and to see how you can reserve parking spots or make money on your spot, contact us.

Parking, Driving and Travel: 7 Life Hacks

Parking, Driving and Travel: 7 Life Hacks

October 1st, 2015 Posted by Chicago Travel Tips, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Traveling is exciting, but whether you’re heading into the city or taking a road trip to the next state, the journey can seem a lot longer if you don’t prepare for it properly. That’s why before you leave your house it’s a good idea to review these travel tips for the open road, courtesy of Buzzfeed and The Huffington Post, to make sure you really are ready for anything.

Hack #1: Keep Your Car Clean

No matter how careful you try to be while you’re on the road, garbage just accumulates. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep a plastic cereal container, the kind with the wide mouth, in your footwell. You can pop the top with one hand, toss in your trash, then close it again. The design means no smell gets out, which can make your journey that much more pleasant. If you want to be extra smart, use a plastic shopping bag as a can liner.

Hack #2: A Binder Clip For Your Smartphone

More and more people have replaced a stand-alone GPS unit with their smartphones. The problem is that a smartphone stand can cost $15 or more, and the plastic has a tendency to crack after very little use. If you have a binder clip and some rubber bands, though, you can make a simple, strong base that will hold your GPS right on your dashboard so you never have to dig around in order to see where you are on your digital map.

Hack #3: Plan Ahead For Fuel CostsParking, Driving and Travel: 7 Life Hacks

There’s no reason to pay more for gas than you have to, and if you’re driving into a major city like Chicago or New York then you’re going to face significantly higher prices once you’re over the city limits. Apps like Fuel My Route will check gas prices along the route you’re taking for your trip, ensuring you never overpay for a full tank again.

Hack #4: Pin Your Car on Google

If you’re in a new city, and you want to remember where you parked your car, just go to Google Maps (or whatever other map program you’re using), and drop a pin on the location. That way no matter how turned around you get, you will always be able to retrace your steps to where you left your vehicle.

Hack #5: Keep Copies of Your Directions

Never count on your phone to get reception, especially if you’re going to be driving through open expanse, or the concrete jungle. Always keep an Atlas on hand, take a screen shot of your directions so you have an offline copy, and if you want to really be prepared, make sure you print them out as well. It pays to be a little extra ready when it comes to not getting lost.

Hack #6: Use a Parking App

There are few things more frustrating than driving around endlessly, looking for a parking spot. Except, perhaps, finding that ideal parking spot but not having the small bills on hand to pay for it. That’s why apps like ParqEx are ideal for serious travelers. They let you search an area for the best spots, and you can pay for parking with a tap on your phone. There’s no muss, no fuss, and you’re in and out without a lot of wasted time.

Hack #7: A Dryer Sheet Can Keep Your Whole Car Fresh

If you spend a lot of time in the car then your vehicle will lose its freshness pretty fast. To avoid that road trip smell, all you need to do is put an open box of dryer sheets in the back. After a few days you’ll take several years off the interior atmosphere.

For more helpful travel tips, simply contact us today!

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