Beat The Parking Warden To It With ParkAlert.me
October 19, 2010 by Gwendolyn Regina T
Calling himself an “absent-minded driver”, hobbyist programmer Aaron Chan resolved to help himself and others like him prevent situations where you walk back to your car minutes after your parking coupon expires only to see the warden writing you a ticket.
While still with his day job at MoSync where he is Regional Manager, Aaron spent weekday nights and weekends working on ParkAlert.me, a mobile app that allows you to warn others and be warned when a parking warden is near your car and be reminded when your coupon is about to expire. (Sigh, I would have found this immensely useful last week in San Francisco when I paid a parking fine of USD 65 (SGD 85).)
Relying on fellow drivers and others who spot parking wardens to report it, the app’s success is dependent on people remembering and taking the effort to report parking warden sightings.
ParkAlert.me has close to 2000 unique users since the app was launched 3 weeks ago with almost 4000 checkins and slightly more than 2500 sightings so far.
(“Almost all of the checkins are made by real users, except those at Lim Chu Kang Rd, they are usually made by me while testing the system. :P” ~ Aaron)
Warden sightings so far.
Currently, only the iPhone version (v1.20) is available. If you usually have trouble remembering where you parked, ParkAlert.me also enables you to find your car with a direction map. Upcoming is v1.30 that enables users to set a parking timer for the expiration of the coupon, thus getting a notification when it is up.
Currently iPhone users will receive a push notification when someone reports a warden near where they checked in.
The Android version will be released in the next few weeks and will have a background service that will poll the server periodically to retrieve any new updates. Aaron is also looking to port it over to other platforms using MoSync SDK.
On the revenue model
“Yes, it remains as a hobby project for now, but I do have intention to further monetize it. Admob currently generates little or close to none in revenue, going further I intend to perhaps introduce a premium version of ParkAlert that comes with statistics and trends etc..
I am also considering having higher returns location ads, users can choose to receive recommendation of places to visits or restaurants to go to when they checkin at one location. Of course with that, partners with ad contents or location data will be crucial, people like buuuk, ShowNearby or Chalkboard.”
Image credit: Drown
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About The Author
Gwendolyn Regina T - Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief
Gwen is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of SGE. Previously, she was a partner of early stage technology investment firm, Thymos Capital and she has had two exits, one of which is iHipo. She is also an investor in Padlet, a Y-Combinator startup. Gwen also sits on the Board of Advisors for the Singapore Innovation & Productivity Institute, Steering Commmittee for the Singapore Infocomm Technology Federation Awards 2013, and Board of Advisors for Social Media Week 2013. A frequent public speaker, mentor and judge at various startup bootcamps, events and competitions, Gwen loves meeting founders, developers, designers and scientists across all ages. An alumnus of the National University of Singapore and its University Scholars Programme, Gwen also spent some time in Silicon Valley and is a graduate of the NUS-Stanford University overseas college programme. She is also a mentor at Polish tech startup incubator Gamma Rebels, the Singapore curator for US-headquartered StartupDigest and the Singapore Ambassador for the Sandbox Network - the leading global network of innovators under 30. Gwen has also been a Worldwide Judge for Imagine Cup - the premier student technology competition helmed by Microsoft. She has also spoken in Hong Kong at one of its largest youth conferences, MaD Asia, and was recently in Austria to help envision the future of the country's economy in 2032 on invitation from an Austrian governmental organization. Gwen speaks 3.25 languages, loves physics, travelling, dance and adventure sports. She can be found on LinkedIn and Twitter.Read other posts by Gwendolyn Regina T