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PokeSpace invents a ‘GoogleMaps-like’ parking app for EV owners

The app makes electric vehicle owners’ search for parking spaces and chargers seamless.

The growth of the electric vehicle (EV) industry has been accelerating since the government seeks to implement 100% cleaner energy vehicles by 2040. But according to KPMG, EV drivers are anxious that there are insufficient parking spaces with chargers for EV. This is what a team of developers from Ochlos Holdings Limited is trying to resolve with the app, PokeSpace.

PokeSpace is an app that EV owners can access as if they are searching through Google Maps. They can search for available parking space and EV charging solutions in real time.

Curve shared that developing the app stemmed from frustrations of landlords, drivers, and car park operators on wasting time on unnecessary activities just to secure a car park space.

“You don't want to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the building and trying to look for a car park. Every time you spend time looking for a [spot] to park, that will likely mean that you are likely to be late for a meeting that doesn't set up a good atmosphere or mood to enter into a meeting,” said PokeSpace CEO Curve Khong, in an interview with Singapore Business Review.

How to navigate the app

When entering a car park, owners would be faced with a lot of beacons in the ceiling, which would show red and green lights to indicate if the parking space is vacant or occupied.

Despite this feature, Curve said vehicle drivers still tend to get lost, especially at parking spaces with two lanes. With the help of the app, Curve said drivers can reserve a parking space and can know the status of the parking space before getting to the car park or even a charging station.

“As you enter the car park, if you have to launch our app, you will pop up a map to bring you to the car park space, which you have reserved,” he said.

If they cannot reserve a parking space, the app can offer a satellite view of the whole car park.

“You see where the car is available, where it's taken, and you can always select a spot. You try to find a spot that is closest to the area that you are very familiar with,” said Curve. 

After a busy day at work in a clinic or getting your groceries from the supermarket, finding where your car is will also be convenient.

The app will also provide you with a path or area where you can get your car to the parking lot.

“That's how our navigation works. It is very close to what a global positioning system [GPS] would do in your Google Maps when you drive but this is all indoor,” said Curve.

App limitations

The PokeSpace app is still not full-proof as it needs to fix some issues such as installing the navigation setup of its map, where it will include the parking space information.

Developers said some landlords are hesitant to include their parking lots in the app due to privacy. 

Landlords are also barring hourly parking as some tenants already paid for season parking, which allows parking a vehicle at a specific space regularly with a fixed rate.

“That conversation is what strikes fear into the landlord and we have to solve this. At the end of the day, the landlord needs to increase revenue as we are facing more inflation nowadays,” he explained. 

They eventually found that a car park is 75% full of tenants with season parking, which allows them to use 25% of the space for tenants that are for hourly parking.

Now, Curve said they are in the process of updating their system by enforcing solutions for seasonal parking and traditional car park users.

‘Poking around’ for sustainability

Aside from providing efficient solutions for EV owners, the team coined the app’s name, PokeSpace, to help users easily understand or read the software.

“We need some words that are easy for them to read out so poking around seems like a good word. Also, the fact that we are managing space so we combined these two words and we call it PokeSpace,” Curve explained.

EV driving is already sustainable but PokeSpace makes it more eco-friendly by reducing carbon footprint when cutting idle driving time for EV owners.

“What PokeSpace does is that you will already know that you are going to have a charging station when you reach your point before you leave your home. You already know that you're going to be at a charging station. You already know that you're going to be at a certain place several times,” Vas Jagarnath, chief marketing officer of PokeSpace, told Singapore Business Review.

In the next five years, the PokeSpace CEO is looking to hit 300,000 car parks for its app. The team also has plans to expand the usage of its app in other markets.

“We have inquiries from overseas partners who also operate in the same field, especially since they are very similar to Singapore. They are all housing in other high-density cities where time is most important to everyone,” Curve said.

Vas, for his part, said they are also exploring partnerships with the government and commercial centres to include their landscape information on the PokeSpace app.

“Then we start to engage customers of shoppers, even before they arrive at a shopping centre. That is very powerful for us for a shopper experience,” said Vas.

“From the government, even a simple HDB car park. Whilst we haven't got the data to work with the HDB example,” he also said.

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