NUS start-up’s app makes sure you get choice parking lots – starting on campus

Imagine getting an enviable parking lot next to the lift lobby on a crowded weekend or busy workday. Or even securing lots in advance for VIPs at important events – all through a mobile app.

NUS start-up SureReserve has come up with a smart-parking technology solution that is able to guide drivers to their designated lots in real time. The technology makes use of the Internet of Things (IoT) to optimise parking lot allocation, improving efficiency in reservation processes that are currently done manually using signage or cones.

The start-up, which won the iCreate Mobility Challenge by the NUS School of Computing in 2014, incubates at The Hangar by NUS Enterprise. It is helmed mainly by NUS alumni including co-founder and Business Development Vice-President Mr Neil Mehta (NUS MBA 2015); and Software Engineer Mr Lokesh Ramana (NUS Graduate Diploma in System Analysis 2020). They work with the other members of the leadership team including Lead Mobile Application Developer Mr Eddie Tang; and CEO and co-founder Mr Suchet Bhasin.

NUS has been piloting the SureReserve technology in some of its 38 carpark locations since mid-September 2020 with each location having one to two lots using the app. The NUS Office of Campus Amenities (OCA), which oversees carpark management among other essential operations in NUS, has adopted SureReserve to make operations more efficient.

“In NUS, we could potentially use this technology to designate a number of season parking lots to be shared among season pass holders. This frees up more lots for visitors at carparks with higher demand for short-term parking,” said Mr Danny Lim, Assistant Senior Manager (Logistics and Car Parks) at OCA.

“The solution provided by SureReserve relieves our parking wardens of this manual duty and allows them to focus on their patrolling and inspection efforts.”

How the app works

SureReserve is available in an Enterprise version (B2B, for corporate users) and a Consumer version (B2C, for individual users). Park-locks with sensors are installed at parking lots. Operated via a mobile app or web responsive portal, they can stand up or recline automatically.

Users of the app will be able to book their preferred parking lots in advance or on the spot. Upon arrival at the carpark, they will be directed by the app to their designated lots. The park-lock at these lots will unlock and recline once the user arrives. Payment for reservation will be made in-app. Facility management will also be able to see the reservations made and actual occupancy rate in real time.

“Our solution will save users a lot of time in trying to find an available lot, especially in an almost full carpark on crowded days or during peak hours,” said Mr Mehta.

“B2C-wise, it is useful for anyone looking for a parking lot, either in advance or on the spot. It removes additional paperwork and hassle for parties like building management and event personnel,” he added.

The solution is fully digital, contactless and cashless, without the need to go through building management or make payment in person. However, users will still have to pay carpark entry fees at the gantries.

SureReserve is being piloted for three to six months per location in NUS, where employees working in those buildings get to use the system to reserve parking for their guests.

OCA will review the feasibility of opening up the technology for wider use by the NUS community after the trial. If the technology proves to be useful in consultation with users and stakeholders, NUS will consider wider implementation.

SureReserve is also in talks with commercial properties for implementation in malls. The system is highly scalable to many properties such as hotels, hospitals and shopping malls – as long as there is demand for reserved parking.

By NUS Enterprise