This post is part of our Future of Smart Cities series which interviews the leading founders and executives who are on the front lines of the industry to get a better understanding of what problems the industry is facing, what trends are taking place, and what the future looks like.
The following is an interview we recently had with Grant Furlane, President, CEO and Co-Founder of LocoMobi.
1. What’s the history of LocoMobi? Where and how did you begin?
GF: Established in 2014, Nautical, a transportation technology company working on being the very first Cloud-based provider of transportation enterprise hardware and software merged with QuickPay, a startup company founded by Barney Pell which specialized in mobile parking payments. Barney and I connected through LinkedIn over mutual interests in transportation technology and shared bemusement over today’s archaic parking and transportation operations. We saw an opportunity to create a modern-day solution that would solve the many transportation infrastructure challenges. Transportation infrastructure has been broken for 50 years, and the trend to manage this affects all other aspects of life. Using enterprise hardware with machine learning connected to smart applications will change the world.
Locomobi was a winner of the award for 2014 TiE50 best new technology in the world, where over 2800 companies from 27 countries were considered. The awards were presented at the Annual TiE50 conference held in the Silicon Valley. Locomobi followed this up with a Smart City award in China.
2. What specific problem does LocoMobi solve? How do you solve it?
GF: LocoMobi is an environmentally conscious company. Our vision is moving people's vehicles seamlessly through the Cloud, eliminating congestion in parking lots, streets, and highways. By using technologies like Mobile and license plate recognition as a combined or separate key has eliminated the need for paper tickets (they can still be used, of course, as a redundancy). Without needing tickets to keep track of payment, LocoMobi eliminates the hassle of people losing their tickets. Virtual validations also mean that paper is eliminated for validating parking.
Using a license plate as an identification key also reduces the need for cards and other media devices that cannot be married to each building, parking lot or other destination. The Mobile applications provide the back up to License Plate technology for redundancy issues. Realizing car manufacturers will be “smart” by 2022, we have already written user interfaces so the vehicle can act as an information and mobile payment vehicle. LocoMobi is completing vehicle imaging as well, whereby plate numbers one day may not be needed at all.
LocoMobi’s Cloud portal enables real-time data across all methods of transportation. People driving can easily use their car in any lot or on any toll road and be billed automatically. LPR makes vehicles easier to track, and in such extreme cases as traffic accidents or Amber alerts, smart cities using Cloud technology can find these vehicles much faster. Using intelligence devices and analytics, we can accomplish real-time movement as well as lowered costs to the consumer plus higher margins and profits. Interactive social apps which communicate with end users and provide inexpensive solutions to consumers drive traffic to desired destinations, increasing overall interaction between those users.
3. What’s the future of smart cities?
Prediction #1: Green cities – energy, materials and electric cars will be mandated.
Prediction #2: “Intermodal centers” where transit, tolls, and parking meet and then move people. No doubt on this … The Jetsons.
Prediction #3: Self-serve retail centers will be the norm.
Prediction #4: Interface to smart planets as space travel is developed.
4. What are the top 3 technology trends shaping cities of the future?
Trend #1: Autonomous and smart vehicles.
Trend #2: Software as a service will expand to every possible application. Mobile as a service, energy as a service , etc.
Trend #3: Smart connect buildings branching to smart networks for all housing.
Quantum computing – will affect all.
About Grant Furlane
Mr. Furlane has over 35 years of technology experience specializing in the Transportation, Network Security, and Parking industries. Mr. Furlane has invested in business ventures in Hong Kong, Taipei, Seoul, and Shanghai starting in 1989. He has been involved in over 500 million dollars in technology investments and was contracted to lead the initiatives of several large, public IT companies. Mr. Furlane aggressively built three transportation technology companies that established the vanguard for tracking and monitoring vehicle movement. His companies developed and sold integrated control systems for major airports, hospitals, and parking lot management companies.
- The first supplier to be President of the Canadian Parking Association.
- Served as Co-Chairman of the first World Symposium on Intelligent Transportation Systems, an international symposium attended by delegates representing 50 countries.
- Invented the first Electronic Credit Card Express kit for machines/kiosks.
- Built a major Public Telecom company and sold it to Sprint Canada.
- Holds several patents in transportation and payments.
- Served as intern Vice-Chairman for Advanced Gravis (one of largest technology success stories in Canada, which invented soundboard, mouse, etc.).
Served as Chairman to the Neurological Hospitals Centers for Ability, and the Board of Governors of Ontario Junior A Hockey, and continues to have investments in the Entertainment and Sports industries.