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Friday, October 9, 2020

Parking industry leader launches mobile app

Jerry Skillett, executive chairman of SPACES USA and former CEO of Citizens Parking, launched the SPACES USA mobile app, which is designed to create a seamless, frictionless parking experience.

Users can access the app on iOS and Android devices by calling a posted number at a parking facility. “When you pull up to a gate in your parking facility, there's someone behind you and someone behind them,” Skillett said. “Everyone is engaged in an active transportation pattern and has to react quickly.”

Skillett noted that earlier iterations of his app, which featured a Bluetooth peripheral device, were not good enough, because drivers don’t have time to download something or look for an app on their phones, even for 20 seconds. He solved the problem by making the app accessible by calling a number.

“Everybody knows how to dial a telephone number on their mobile device,” Skillett said. “When people enter the parking facility, if you've seen the video, they receive an SMS text back to set up their payment. All they have to do is take a picture of their credit card and enter their CVV. That's it.”

Getting America back to work

Skillett, who has been traveling across the United States for the past two months, said he has seen a more vibrant social scene around the country, with numerous people attempting to get back to some semblance of normalcy. New York restaurants have just opened indoor dining at 25 percent capacity, a big move, he added.

Airlines, too, are endeavoring to keep people safe, Skillett stated. You can see their commitment to keeping airplanes clean; hotels are trying hard and probably the weirdest thing is they haven't had any food service, not even coffee makers in the rooms, he added.

While speaking with parking operators and real estate owners around the country, Skillett observed that people are thinking differently about office buildings, especially elevators and bathrooms. “Everyone has to touch elevator buttons and everyone uses the bathroom,” he said. “We just wanted to make it easier for people to park without having to touch anything except their own phones.”

Back to mobile basics

Skillett believes that a person’s cell phone number is a great authentication method, second only to a Social Security number. He sees a bright future ahead for touchless and contactless payment methods.

“Mobile payments have obviously really taken off over the last year, but even before Apple Pay started, there was a commitment to bring mobile payments to the parking world, which presents its own set of challenges to drivers in vehicles who are navigating traffic patterns,” Skillett said. “Even if they are stopped in a lane, being in an active traffic pattern is inherently different than standing in line at Starbucks and looking at your Starbucks app. Because at Starbucks, you have time to do all that, but in a car, you don’t.”

Throughout his travels, Skillett has seen small and midsize businesses reopening their offices. Large corporations are not there yet, he noted, because they are grappling with policies and trying to figure out how everyone will return to the workplace. These trends are impacting parking as more people drive into the city because they prefer the safety of their cars to public transportation, he noted.

"I'm excited about mobile payments in general, because we’ve seen a lot of acceleration recently,” Skillett said. “I’ve noticed that everywhere I go, people are getting very good at utilizing their phones for payment. Maybe some of them have been forced to do it, but now, they really like it.”

end of article

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