Friday, April 13, 2007
SpotScout : Parking As Customer Interaction
Via Alarm:Clock we find a number of interesting new ventures. This is a great example of a zero-infrastructure solution with a clear value proposition. Boston's SpotScout has launched an online marketplace where drivers use their mobile phones to reserve private spaces in garages and driveways, as well as to swap public parking spots in real time, with vacant spaces going to the highest bidder. The service is young but already has some smarts built-in. For example, bidders can avoid doing business with laggards through a feature that will allow users to rate their experiences with other users. Those with bad reputations are shunned. SpotScout is free to join and it is also free to browse the network for spaces. When you users make a reservation or choose a spot it take a percentage of the transaction which are made via Paypal. There are other solution vendors out there like www.parkatmyhouse.com in the UK. If you can imagine that the technology underlying www.ecourier.co.uk was made available to someone like ParkAtMyHouse you would also immediately see how long it was going to take you to reach that parking spot, that will become available in 20 minutes. THEN, when it actually works as a marketplace, the guys in www.upcomming.com, and www.meetup.com and even www.confabb.com will be able to post up on their sites the relevant areas for parking around a particular event, and people going to the event will sign up for the parking service, book in advance, and manage in real-time. And these are all "Customer Interactions" deployed through "Business Mesh Applications" to create New Service Propositions. The difference is zero-infrastructure build; edge not centrally controlled; network effects.