Vehicle parking has been one major problem in the urban areas in both developed and developing countries across the world. India, being one of the countries with a fast-growing number of personal vehicle population and issues like shortage of parking space, high parking tariffs and traffic congestion; it is not only a problem for the vehicle owners but for pedestrians and municipal authorities as well. Hence, comes the automated parking system providers.
According to research, the automated parking systems market is projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.1% to 2027, from $1.3 billion in 2019. Like the rest of the world, India too is witnessing the growing number of automated parking system solution providers.
One such automated parking system provider is Delhi-based Park+, which caters to the daily commuters, corporates and commercial establishments with its smart parking solution service in 7 cities across the country. Amit Lakhotia, Founder & CEO of Park+ talks to Autofintechs about the prospect of the automated parking system industry in India.
Edited excerpts below.
Q. Automated parking systems market was projected to grow at a CAGR of 13.1% from 2019 ($1.3 billion) to 2027. How the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted the industry? What’s the situation in India?
The Covid-19 outbreak had an undeniable impact on the automated parking systems market. Due to the subsequent and prolonged lockdown, people did not leave their homes, reducing the need for these services. Now, however, as things open up and human activity increases, the number of vehicles on the road are returning to pre-Covid levels.
Automobile sales are also at an all-time high at the moment. The current trends all indicate a rapid increase in digital parking requirements in the near future, and we are on track to achieve an accelerated growth rate on the back of this rising demand.
Q. With the gradual reopening of the economy, how has been the business revival trajectory in India for the industry?
Organized parking at malls and offices has already seen a 35% increase in footfall in the post-lockdown scenario. Once cinemas and F&B services are resumed, there will be further growth across industries. We are eyeing a return to normalcy in terms of business by January 2021.
Moreover, the inclination of people towards using shared mobility has reduced drastically after the viral outbreak. Now people are preferring personal mobility more than ever before. Thus, there will be more people in need of digital parking solutions, indicating a strong revival trajectory for the business in India.
Q. With exponential growth in vehicle purchases across India, parking has been a key problem for many. How technology is helping the automated parking system solution provider industry in serving the vehicle owners?
Technological advancement has helped in changing consumer behaviour across industries from food ordering to retail. However, parking has so far remained untouched by innovation. There has hitherto been no online discovery of parking lots and no digital fulfilment of parking needs. This scenario is now changing as we speak due to the Covid-19 situation.
Now people want to park properly in safe spaces with an end-to-end digital experience. They are looking to find a space, book it, and pay for it digitally, thus removing the need for interaction with parking operators for purchaser cash exchange.
Through its proprietary technology, this is exactly what Park+ is offering to car owners. From looking for parking spaces nearby to booking slots in advance and choosing from a variety of digital payment options, the Park+ app makes everything possible.
Q. What is Park+’s service expansion strategy?
We are already live in 7 cities across India including Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Now we are in the process of making deeper inroads within these cities, creating new use-cases for car owners and launching in the next 1- cities by the second quarter of next year.
Q. Last November Park+ raised $11 million. What’s next in terms of fundraising?
Our model is capital efficient, and we still have a 30-month runway. We will go out in the market in the 2nd half of next year, but for now, we have sufficient funds to meet our growth plans.
Q. What are the challenges that the automated parking system industry faces in India?
We are not only introducing a new solution but creating a new category altogether. No one has booked or received digital parking before this. Thus, educating the customers and operators on-ground is a great challenge for us. We did not have any global benchmarks to emulate and built everything from scratch, which has been a challenge in itself.
Further, there are limited parking spaces in India, to begin with. Thus, during peak times, there will always be pressure to arrange inventory efficiently. Managing demand and supply of parking spaces, therefore, is also a major challenge.
Finally, there is the pressing need to work with local authorities and the government to make sure that a better experience is offered to customers.
Q. Vehicle theft has been a concern for many vehicle owners. Do you provide any solution for that through your parking service? How?
We are doing multiple things to minimize the risk of theft. Firstly, we install RFID tags in all cars which essentially locks the vehicle. If someone takes the vehicle in an unauthorized manner, it will immediately raise an alarm at the user’s end. Plus, with the Park+ app, people will be able to detect theft very quickly and easily. Next, if there is a stolen car, one can easily check the ownership credentials on the app and identify it.
We are currently in the process of creating a digital KYC service for cleaners and drivers through the Park+ app. So, people will not need to go to the police station to complete verification and ensure the safety of their vehicles from the comfort of their homes. We will also make it easy for users to file FIR quickly through the app if at all theft should occur.