Monthly Archives: May, 2016

ParqEx: How Technology Innovation is Changing Transportation

How Technology Innovation is Changing Transportation and Shipping in 2016

May 26th, 2016 Posted by mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, startup No Comment yet

The transportation and shipping industries are getting smarter and more innovative every day, thanks to a fruitful partnership between IoT and the ever-expanding sharing economy. The latest developments with these technologies are improving roadways and shipping ways for individuals and businesses alike–including these innovative examples.

ParqEx: How Technology Innovation is Changing Transportation

BlipTrack Sensors Helping Road Engineers in Europe Create Better Traffic Flow

Blip Systems has attached sensors to city streets that allow for some interesting real-time analysis of traffic congestion patterns. The sensors are designed to pick up the presence of smart devices that drivers are carrying with them in their cars. The sensors accomplish this by obtaining the MAC addresses of smartphones via Bluetooth or WIFI as the drivers pass by. This data is then time-stamped and encrypted and sent to the Blip System server. From there, researchers can observe highly detailed, real-time traffic flow data. Every driver basically becomes a trackable pin on a map, and the road engineers can observe the congestion patterns of all the pins moving along the roads.

This has big implications for engineers who want to make more informed decisions about reducing traffic jams. As this article notes:

Road engineers analyze the collected data to help pinpoint the source of congestion. They then experiment with changes to infrastructure, such as the addition or removal of traffic lights at key intersections, in order to smooth traffic flow. The engineers watch the journey time data especially closely after they add a traffic light, Gilbert adds, to make sure it does not cause unexpectedly slow sections on the roads.

Will we soon see similar sensors on the streets of Chicago? If so, then hopefully our road engineers can become more effective in reducing traffic congestion and commute times.

Nimber: Sharing Economy Technology Comes to Personal Shipping

The sharing economy, which has taken advantage of our billions of mobile devices and vast connections to each other, to create the greatest bartering activity in the history of the world.

Our innovative sharing economy is now sweeping into the world of personal shipping.

Now, thanks to the company Nimber, people in the UK can help other people ship items. It’s absurdly simple, but so very brilliant–as explained on Nimber’s page: “Nimber is a community delivery service that matches people who need to send something with someone going that way, anyway. By working together as a community we can make shipping convenient, sustainable, and more personal.”

It gets better.

The price of shipping is determined not by Nimber but by the two parties who are agreeing to help one another. You post the item you want shipped on Nimber, and when a “bringer,” as Nimber calls them, sees your post and agrees to take your item with them when they go to that location, you work out a price with that person.

Such a service raises plenty of eyebrows and questions, of course. But it appears to be working, and Nimber adds this guarantee to their description of the app: “We insure every item up to 1000€. If something happens in transit we will either replace the item or repair it up to that amount. We’ve had very few claims to date, but we want you to rest assured.”

This is a UK-only app, but the implications are intriguing. Will Nimber, or an app similar to it, eventually come to Chicago? Once Nimber gets the bugs worked out by establishing its services in the UK, will it storm the US with an amazing new shipping option that will blow apart the FedEx, UPS, USPS world?

Time will tell.

You Don’t Have to Travel to the UK to Benefit From the Sharing Economy

While you might have to wait for that innovative shipping service to come to you, you don’t have to wait to benefit from the sharing economy in Chicago. The app ParqEx is a superb example of this kind of innovation. It locates privately owned parking spots in Chicago and uses ParqEx’s large network of users to allow you to reserve an ideal parking spot in advance. And when you reserve, you can be as specific as month, week, day, or hour.

Or you can use the app to rent out your parking space to someone else and gain an extra stream of income.

If you love technology innovation and the sharing economy as much as we do, contact us to learn more about Parqex.

ParqEx: 3 Common Summer Transportation Problems to Avoid

Don’t Let These 3 Common Summer Transportation Problems Ruin Your Fun in the Sun

May 19th, 2016 Posted by Chicago Travel Tips, mobile app, Parking, Safety No Comment yet

Summer is right around the corner, and this is usually exciting for most people. But after that initial jolt, the reality sets in.  Nothing is for free, and with all the joy that summer brings, it also has its costs.  Certain issues such as childcare, getting that beach bod ready, and dealing with the oppressive temperatures come to mind, but few things are as frustrating as transportation.

While we are happy not to deal with the winter transportation issues such as snow, salt, and ice, summer brings with it an entirely new set of factors with which we must contend.  Below are 3 common summer transportation problems that you must consider and plan for in order to get past the irritation and get straight to the fun.

ParqEx: 3 Common Summer Transportation Problems to Avoid

Traffic & Congestion

We have all been there – trying to get out of work early or get the kids together fast enough to beat the traffic to the beach only to find that everyone else had the same idea.  The summertime seems to create conditions for the perfect storm of traffic.  Not only do more vacationers (and therefore cars) on the road increase the potential for road rage, but many travelers are not familiar with the layout of or the path to their destinations. This can cause problems like getting lost and moving at slower speeds while trying to get oriented.  In addition to more drivers, with school being out less experienced drivers flood the roads which leads to more accidents, and therefore more possible traffic.  Cars must also now share the road with bikers and cyclists wanting to take advantage of the warm weather.  This limits space on the road and increases the need for caution. Finally, with summer being a popular time for construction, more road work generally means more traffic.

Heat

While we all know how painful a hot summer is on our bodies, we often overlook the amount of damage it can cause to our modes of transportation.  If you treat your car with the same care as you would any system or living organism, it will reward you by keeping you safe.  For example, air conditioning systems go from winter hibernation to full force in a matter of days.  Everyone should stretch before a work out, so make sure to run it for a few hours in advance and pay attention to any strange smells or odors.  Also, heat expands the air in the tires changing the pressure and causing potential blow outs.  It is important to remove snow tires and check them frequently. Harsh sun can cause excessive wear on parts such as hoses and drive belts as well as overheat engines.  Whether it is a car, bus, or motorcycle, checking in with your vehicle on a regular basis will keep it running at its optimal performance.  Don’t forget about your vehicles most important component – the passengers!  Risk of dehydration increases during summer months even in cars as people can be stuck in vehicles for long stretches during road trips. Keep water and coolant handy and pull over if there are any concerns at all.

Parking

With an increase in markets, festivals, and events taking place during the summer, the need for reliable parking becomes that much more important.  That said, more cars are trying to fill the same amount of spots so what may have once been adequate quickly becomes less than ideal. Furthermore, airport parking is limited due to more vacations.  Challenges will also vary according to the city.  For example, the beautiful farmers markets in Chicago or the large number of activities in Millennium Park may make downtown parking difficult.  Bigger cities like this are notorious for traffic problems and it can really put a damper on summer activities.  Fortunately sharing economy parking is an option and peer-to-peer alternatives are out there to help solve this problem.

These issues are not only an annoyance, but can also become quite costly to repair. Contact us to learn more about parking solutions as well as other ways to beat the heat this summer.

How ParqEx Uses the Sharing Economy to Get You What You Need

How ParqEx Uses the Collaborative Economy to Get You What You Need

May 12th, 2016 Posted by Community, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

Unless you work in the world of technology, you probably haven’t heard these terms before, but they are doing more for you than you realize. If you do business with companies like Uber, Lyft, AirBnB, Kickstarter, or, of course, ParqEx, then you’ve been working with these concepts for a long time. You don’t necessarily need to understand them in order for them to work for you, but knowing what’s under the shell can help you appreciate how truly amazing the technological world we live in really is. Let’s talk a little more about the collaborative economy.

How ParqEx Uses the Sharing Economy to Get You What You Need

What is the collaborative economy?

The collaborative economy, also known as the sharing economy, is not new, but it has definitely been growing recently. In this type of economy, the lines between consumer and provider become blurred. Goods and services are shared between peers, to achieve mutual benefit. For example, instead of two people renting their own two-bedroom apartment, they can share one. They each get what they need, but at half the price they would have paid otherwise. Or, if two people only need a parking spot for half of the day, instead of each renting an entire spot, they can share one, only paying half of the price.

The collaborative economy can also connect two or more consumers, allowing them to provide products and services to each other, which at one time were only provided by large companies.

These are the basics of a collaborative economy, but there is so much more to it, and the possibilities are endless.

The power of smart phones

Although smart phones are not a requirement for the collaborative economy to work, they are definitely a big part of what makes it so efficient. Smart phones make it possible to participate in the collaborative economy at any time. Without them, you could still participate in auctions like eBay, or find a loan through Lending Club on a computer, but the smart phone makes it possible to book a night through AirBnB, even after arriving in the city, or find a parking spot for the big game, even when you’re halfway there.

When companies get involved

Even though the collaborative economy is based heavily on consumers, there is still a place for businesses. Generally, these companies facilitate the connection and communication between the consumers, or establish trust. For example, eBay, as well as many other apps, helps people who are trying to sell things to connect with those that are looking for something. AirBnB does not provide places to stay. Instead, they offer reviews and background checks on the individuals who do, creating a sense of trust between users.

Making use of idle resources

The collaborative economy is all about using resources to the fullest, rather than wasting them. In order to do that, it helps consumers share the resources that they already have with those that would have otherwise bought their own. Eliminating unused resources indirectly eliminates the unnecessary purchase of new resources, which helps everyone involved save money. In most cases, it is also good for the world in general. For example, buying used items online prevents new ones from being produced, and sharing parking spaces means that fewer green areas have to be paved over.

Growth

The collaborative economy is growing rapidly. As it grows, more people learn about what it can do, and more people come to trust it, which leads to even more technology advances, and the people who find new uses for it help it to become even stronger.

Are you interested in learning more about how the collaborative economy is solving problems? Contact us. We’ll be happy to answer all of your questions, and even help you get involved.

ParqEx Waze Integration

Navigation using Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps and more

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by Feature, ParqEx No Comment yet

Just Launched! Navigation using Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps and more…

 

ParqEx makes finding a convenient parking spot quite “convenient”, but we also realize that navigation to and from the parking location is equally important. Whether it be using your favorite parking app to navigate or having the option to use an app like Waze, Google Maps, Apple Maps and more; ParqEx has it all. When you click on the navigate button in the ParqEx app (Android, Apple, Windows or a web browser), you will have the options to select your favorite navigation app.

 

Here is how it works –

 

1. Select app for Navigation: Click the directions link on the parking details to access the navigation apps currently installed on your device (Note – you must have at least 1 navigation app like Google Map, Apple Map, Waze etc. installed for the options to show).

Directions To Parking Location

2. Select your favorite navigation App: In the “Select app for navigation” popup window, click on the app you wish to use for navigation (Options will vary depending on the navigation apps you have installed on your device). Make sure you have installed your favorite navigation app from the app store.

Select app for navigation

 

 

 

3. Navigate to the parking location using your favorite app: Clicking on the app, will open the navigation app with the parking destination address.That’s it! Go ahead and navigate to your destination.

Navigate to parking location with Waze

 

Navigation on Waze

The popular Waze app is a turn-by-turn navigation app that focuses on a social network where drivers can share information about accidents, police officers, road closures, and more. Now with our integration with Waze, drivers will have the option of navigating to their reserved parking location with detailed turn-by turn directions. Make sure you have downloaded the Waze app before you click the navigate button in the ParqEx app. After that, its 3 simple clicks to be on your way.

Benefits of using Waze:

 

  • Waze has social network integration that includes live traffic reporting from other users
  • You can send live, updating information with your ETA to friends
  • There are options to select celebrity voice navigation
  • The Waze app learns frequent destinations, commuting hours, and preferred routes
  • You can search for the cheapest gas on a route
  • The traffic jam indicator in the app counts down the time you’ll be in a jam.
  • For advaced users, here is How to turn Waze into the ultimate Navigation App.

 

The ParqEx app works with the following navigation apps

 

Android

 

 

iOS

 

Windows

 

ParqEx is the leading social on-demand parking application. It is helping drivers all around the country save time, money and hassle.  For more information, please contact us or download the parkng app to get started.

 

ParqEx: The Current State of the On Demand Marketplace

The On-Demand Marketplace Revolution

May 3rd, 2016 Posted by mobile app, Parking, ParqEx, sharing economy No Comment yet

The on-demand marketplace is growing exponentially and is now a serious business. Companies around the country and around the world are disrupting traditional business models. Also known as the “sharing economy”, companies are using peer-to-peer models to instantly provide services using people’s spare resources. Whether those resources are a spare room, a spare moment to work or a spare seat in the car or a spare parking space that they are leaving. Today, the sharing economy is about $15 billion but within 10 years it will balloon to over $330 billion.

ParqEx: The Current State of the On Demand Marketplace

If there is one company that stands above all others in the sharing economy, it would have to be Uber. This company provides on-demand rides from the convenience of a mobile phone. Passengers can track the car as it approaches and have an up to the minute reading of how close the car is. Payment is confirmed before entering the car and the ride is generally more pleasant and professional than a typical taxi. Pricing is also determined dynamically so when there are many riders with fewer cars, prices rise and vice versa.

Uber has grown by leaps and bounds around the country and the world. Tens of millions of people in the US, China, India and Europe are using the app. At the same time, the firm is rumored to be valued over $50 billion and is make increasingly large sales. Lastly, the business model has overturned old taxi businesses and is causing governments to rethink outdated regulations.

Other industries are similarly being disrupted. AirBnB is the leader in peer-to-peer room sharing. LendingClub and Prosper are peer-to-peer money lending. Elance and UpWork are peer-to-peer freelance work sites. There is even a site called DogVacay that is an on-demand pet-sitting site. As they grow, venture capitalists are pouring money into the space to take advantage of the opportunity. Larger players such as Fidelity, Goldman Sachs and various sovereign wealth funds have even dipped their toe into this industry.

Those companies are not the only ones making a huge splash. For example, Chicago startup ParqEx is an on-demand parking app that is revolutionizing the space. It is making a push to be a leader in the sharing economy and is growing rapidly. The concept is simple, people should be able to share their on-demand parking spaces with others when they are leaving them and make money doing it. The ParqEx model solves multiple Chicago parking problems at once. When someone is leaving a spot, they simply register it on their app.  Surrounding drivers find and reserve the spot. The eliminates the hassle of endlessly circling and reduces the costs substantially.

The business model also takes advantage of a huge market opportunity. Parking  is a $4 billion per year in Chicago and $100 billion per year in the US market. Users can cut down on those costs while at the same time finding convenient spots that they are able to reserve, killing two birds with one stone.

ParqEx is also directly linking drivers with one another, following the true peer-to-peer path of companies like AirBnb. In contrast, other parking aggregators simply list the open spots of commercial lots. While that may benefit some consumers by helping them identify near-by lots, it does nothing to solve the problem in neighborhoods where parking lots and garages are not availabile. Similarly, those aggregators do not tap in to the power of peer-to-peer networks who can display the most convenient spots that are available now. ParqEx is rapidly growing in Chicago and has availability in several neighborhoods like West Loop, Bucktown, Wicker Park, Ravenswood, Lincoln Park and more.

ParqEx is the leading peer-to-peer on-demand parking application. It is helping drivers save time, money and hassle.

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