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Parkmobile leverages Ford Sync AppLink to improve mobile ticketing

Parkmobile is adding Ford Sync AppLink to its mobile application with technology that will use voice to let consumers pay for parking.

Parkmobile?s iPhone and Android apps are now compatible to link straight into a car connected to Ford?s Sync AppLink technology. The company?s app is also available for BlackBerry and Windows Phone devices, but neither of these apps work with Sync AppLink.

?Parkmobile is all about making paying for parking easier and more secure,? said Laurens Eckelboom, executive vice president of business development at Parkmobile, Atlanta.

?Convenience and a great user experience are crucial,? he said. ?Using the Sync AppLink interface, drivers will be able to pay for a parking space, eliminating the need to touch their mobile phone while driving. 

?Parkmobile can leverage Ford?s global footprint and brand equity to accelerate member growth and expedite the growth of new parking locations throughout the world.?

How it works
More than 1.5 million Ford cars come equipped with Sync AppLink, including F-150, Fiesta and Mustang models.

To activate the app, consumers press a button on the steering wheel.

The in-car system then prompts users to speak a command to pay for parking. Funds connected to the come from either an on-file credit or debit card.

Additionally, certain parking locations are triggered to remind consumers via a push notification 15 minutes before a parking session ends.

Parkmobile works with parking lots around the country, and its locations are marked with signs and stickers. Each lot includes a zone number that consumers need to punch into the app to verify a payment.

Connected vehicles
Marketers have honed in on the in-car experience as of late to bolster their mobile products.

For example, Domino?s Pizza also partnered with Ford?s Sync AppLink technology in  January (see story).

Priceline also rolled out a connected car app recently as part of a partnership with Chevy and Pandora is launching an in-car advertisement platform with Taco Bell and State Farm as launch brands (see story). 

Unlike a lot of the companies in the connected car space though, Parkmobile?s integration is purely utility-based instead of focusing on entertainment, which could translate to an uptick in app downloads.

?Additional services such as parking reservations, parking guidance and location-based coupons and deals will make the experience even richer and more convenient,? Mr. Eckelboom said.

?Other components such as paying for gas and other automotive related services will complete the offer,? he said. ?A seamless experience and smart choices will optimize the overall consumer experience and create a new level of stickiness to a car manufacturer?s brand ? crucial for them because the new generation consumer is wired that way.?

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York