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.
1. What’s the history of Meter Feeder? Where and how did you begin?
JG: My co-founder and I have been writing software together for about 18 years now. While aiding another startup, we had a lunch meeting with a potential salesperson. At the end, instead of pulling out cash to help pay, she pulled out a fist full of parking tickets and said, “If you made an app where you could pay for parking, I would use it every day.”
The rest was history.
2. What specific problem does Meter Feeder solve? How do you solve it?
JG: Right now, maintaining on-street parking costs municipalities a substantial amount of money. Between digital parking enforcement, parking meters, permits, and parking ticket management, the costs can be seen as insurmountable by many cities.
Our low-cost option enables governments of any size to accept digital payments, increase revenues, and prepare for future cities.
3. What’s the future of smart cities?
JG: Since we’re focused on parking, we’re focused on automated vehicles.
Prediction #1: There will be a reduction of vehicles on the street.
Prediction #2: Car companies will create ride sharing companies.
Prediction #3: Many large garages will go away.
Prediction #4: On-street parking will mainly be automated vehicles waiting for riders.
(Hopefully to be taken to mass transit)
4. What are the top 3 technology trends shaping cities of the future?
Trend #1: Automated vehicles & Ride sharing:
- As we get closer to autonomous vehicles delivering and retrieving workers from their jobs, cities must start to consider the logistics of managing the “rush hour” surge of vehicles that arrive at large office buildings. Short-term staging of vehicles is an upcoming problem that city planners will need to tackle.
Trend #2: Traffic/Parking congestion and other infrastructure sensing equipment:
- City infrastructure (from street lights to traffic cones) is the basis of next generation communication equipment that will alert smart/autonomous vehicles to congestion and road hazards, in turn reducing drive times and helping ensure the safety of road workers.
Trend #3: 5G internet connectivity to power the Internet of Things:
- The bandwidth requirement for all of these new devices (with the addition of commuters using rides as opportunities to consume entertainment) will require heavy investments into connectivity equipment.
About Jim Gibbs
Jim Gibbs, a New York native, came to Pittsburgh to attend Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Computer Science. Leaving early, Jim now has 35 years of experience as a software developer and 20 years in management. He is now focused on driving revenue growth through a deep understanding of the challenges civic leaders face.
Jim has a philosophy of “Fix Things that Ruin Your Day.” As a regular receiver of parking tickets, this led him and his long-time programming partner to create Meter Feeder, the parking payment app that makes everyone's life a lot easier. He has a similar outlook in life, advocating and instilling the principle that the world will be a better place if people keep taking chances and lead by example.