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Connectivity

March 13, 2019

It is Time for it to Arrive

John Van Horn

This month, Parking Today spoke with Yona Shtern, CEO of newly minted Arrive, formerly ParkWhiz. 


 


Consider this: Why are the successful parking tech companies in Chicago not in Silicon Valley? It requires not just technology, but a strong dose of Midwestern pragmatism to succeed in this industry. Is this or that really going to work?


Connectivity is a reality of our times – try to listen to music without being connected. It’s virtually impossible anymore. Most of the services we enjoy are the result of some form of connectivity. People complain more when Facebook or Instagram goes down than they do about a power failure.  Most of the things we are going to be doing are online. Consider the following conversation. We are in offices two thousand miles apart, but still able to speak and see each other because of connectivity. 


Think about Uber.  How many problems did it solve – only because of online connectivity? It’s where we are – and parking will not only survive, but thrive, with that same connectivity. 


Investors are very thoughtful about the evolution of the space – they are committing millions to this industry. It is an industry that is that is growing and evolving. They know that.


Why the name Arrive?


Arrive signifies our company’s journey and its transformation. When ParkWhiz parked its first car in 2007, route planning and in-car connectivity services were theoretical or, at best, luxuries. Today, these are essential components of people’s journeys. 


While our core brands (Parkwhiz and BestParking) are strong and continue to be relevant, our company’s strategy has shifted over the last several years to be a platform that powers others. As our B2B platform business grew, we decided that we needed an overarching brand that reflects where we are going.  


You came from outside our industry. In what direction do you see the parking industry moving?


For a long time, parking was playing defense…  reacting to things after they happened. Now, we have an opportunity to start playing offense. Technology is changing everything and connecting every aspect of our lives, allowing us to offer services like voice-activated booking, wireless in and out, touchless payments, dynamic pricing, fleet management and more. Parking is part of a much bigger ecosystem that will only continue to evolve. 


Other companies recognize that, as we’ve seen with the recent investments of capital from major brands and venture capital funds. Venture money will help our industry innovate faster and accelerate the pace of transformation to ensure the future of parking.


It reminds me of when everyone thought that TV would die with the advent of the internet and streaming. Conversely, it has become a much more powerful medium, with a myriad of choices in entertainment, information, and education. Like TV, connectivity will reinvigorate parking and make it more relevant than ever as an integral part of the connected mobility ecosystem. 


Describe what Arrive does: 


Arrive powers the last mile of connected mobility. Whether it’s for drivers, fleets, or connected vehicles, Arrive makes it easy for consumer brands, asset-owners and parking operators to offer frictionless parking and to participate in an open connected-mobility services marketplace. 


Why do I need parking reservations?


Parking reservations are only part of the solution. If you are going to a specific event and feel that parking may be constrained, then a reservation makes a lot of sense and is a great convenience that consumers prefer to driving around. By removing the unknown and making it easy to drive and park we actually encourage consumers to choose driving and parking instead of another mode of transit - which would otherwise mean less cars coming to park. Knowing you have a spot at a fair price helps you make the decision in favor of parking.  


For a transient driver, reservations are not always the perfect product. Many of our customers decide where to park a minute or so before they pull they pull into the lot, so we have accelerated the deployment of a product that allows drivers to enter and pay easily and quickly on the fly. Similarly, rideshares and fleets want to connect with and seamlessly enter and exit garages without dealing with phones, pull tickets or key fobs and the like. That is where Arrive is going - we believe the future is in both reservations and friction-free drive-up access.


Tell me about “The Last Mile”


It’s elegant that “last mile” has two meanings. 


Every vehicle coming off the assembly line now is 4G or 5G equipped and includes connected services like parking and navigation. In this case, “last mile” means that we’re taking a connected product and bringing it to market with unified standards across all aspects of the industry.


The “last mile” also infers the end of a journey - from the subway station to your office, from the parking facility to the club or restaurant, from the rideshare drop off to your destination. As an industry, we need to address this part of the journey, too.


Why are the tech companies like Amazon and Google and the automobile companies so interested in working with Arrive?


They recognize that mobility is evolving, which will directly impact their core products (like navigation, voice command, etc) and as a result, they are migrating into the services business. They see their roles as helping people connect and navigate their lives throughout the day - from home to work and everywhere in between. They also share our vision and understand parking’s essential role in the powering the future of mobility, and are looking for simplicity and trust in their partners. 


It’s taken our company ten years to build the connected supply we have today through our operator partners. We have been working with large consumer brands in good faith for the last year to build a proof of concept and demonstrate that we can succeed by working together as partners. 


They also understand that this is a global opportunity and that these ideas that we’re concepting need to transcend borders.  If they work in Chicago or Toronto, they will work in Mexico City, Singapore or Tokyo. It should be easy to implement - as a company, we should be able to bridge the gap.  


Will the industry change because of their involvement? Yes. Are people going to change the way they make decisions on how and where they park? Yes. Will operators and landowners have to adjust? Yes. Is this a cause for alarm? No, not if you are prepared to adapt. 


It’s not a zero-sum game. Rideshare companies exist on connectivity. Connected mobility is coming full circle, so we have to adapt. It’s not about parking apps. It’s not about reservations. It’s about connecting to the larger ecosystem and understanding where demand is coming from.  


That is why Arrive exists–to keep everyone viable and successful in the future.



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