Cashless, ticketless, user-friendly parking app KaChing has launched in South Africa, using LPR technology to open the boom when users arrive at and leave a parking lot, and automatically deducting the parking fee from their credit cards or pre-paid accounts.
KaChing, which is available on iOS and Android, first launched in 2015 on a commercial pilot basis and is already available at Melrose Arch, Campus Square and Morningside shopping centres in Johannesburg. It will soon be available at Pavillion (Durban) and Thrupps (Johannesburg) shopping centres, and has plans to expand to South Africa’s other favourite shopping spots.
“As drivers ourselves, we understand the frustration of waiting in queues to pay for parking and get through the boom. We figured there had to be a better way, and decided to use technology to create an innovative solution,” said KaChing co-founder Jaco Marais.
The startup uses LPR for the app, which captures photographic video or still images of licence plates. These are then processed by a series of algorithms that provide an alpha numeric conversion, which in this case is compared to KaChing’s database of registered users.
“LPR is just one cog in a much larger machine, and putting all the different pieces together and getting them working in unison is where the magic happens,” said co-founder Rudolph de Wet.
“Reading tens of thousands of license plates a day on a variety of sites brings with it requirements for best-in-class connectivity and a robust, scalable cloud platform to handle all of these requests and respond within less than a second. With new technology there is always the fear that you’ll get stuck at a boom, but we’ve taken great care and consideration of specific local conditions and constraints and put measures in place to mitigate this risk completely.”
KaChing also offers landlords and users a host of security benefits, with landlords presented with a “watchlist” of suspicious vehicles and alerted when one of these vehicles enters their premises. Users receive a notification as soon as their vehicle leaves a parking area, giving them warning to take action should their car be stolen.
Marais said the return on investment when implementing KaChing is dramatic and easily achieved in a short period compared to conventional systems.
“As we continue to develop the technology, we are excited about the new value adds we will be able to offer our partners and users,” he said.