Alexa Runs New Parkopedia Skill as Native Voice Parking Feature
Drivers can now ask Alexa to help find and pay for parking through the new Parkopedia skill without activating it by name. The voice assistant treats Parkopedia like a feature of Alexa’s navigation service with top-level intents, enabling it when drivers ask “Alexa, find parking nearby.” The new skill’s preferential treatment is exactly how Alexa made Blink Roadside Assistance the default response to requests for automotive problems.
Parkopedia’s voice app can find, reserve, and pay for parking by talking to Alexa, much like its mobile app. Users can ask Alexa about parking near where they are or in a specific location while driving or from a smart speaker at home. The Alexa skill links its cloud service to Parkopedia’s map of 75,000 off-street parking spots in the U.S. The skill will let the user know about prices and any time limits. If the spot is one of the more than 6,000 that can be reserved, Alexa will confirm that the driver wishes to do so ahead of time, with all payments handled by Amazon pay and an emailed receipt. Parkopedia plans to add its on-street parking spaces to the Alexa skill soon, along with new features like personalized wor and home addresses and calculating the distance from the spot to where the user is trying to get to. The new feature follows Google Assistant’s introduction of parking by voice and vehicle profile features earlier this year Google relies on ParkMobile to find parking spots. Though Parkopedia’s Alexa skill is new, the company has integrated its services into both SoundHound and Cerence’s respective automotive voice AI platforms.
“The growing popularity of at-home voice assistants means consumers now expect a seamless transition with this technology between work, home and in-car environments. When behind the wheel, one voice command can replace several manual actions, vastly improving safety and efficiency,” Parkopedia CEO Eugene Tsyrklevich said. “The latest generation of voice assistants now also utilize AI to learn and think – understanding a variety of accents and gaining the ability to action more than one command at a time, as well as analyzing user data to learn individual preferences. The latest Parkopedia Alexa Skill is a progressive step forward for hands-free, in-car driver convenience technology, which is core to our product portfolio and continues to improve the driving experience.”
As with Blink, Alexa’s preferential treatment of Parkopediathe is likely to be a significant boon as people won’t need to find and enable the voice app, simply request parking help from Alexa. Though both skills are tied to the automotive space, this could be the start of a trend where Alexa picks partners as its default skill for all kinds of features. Competition would undoubtedly be fierce and might even spark accusations of unfair practices since nabbing top-level intent is “like winning the Alexa jackpot,” according to Voicebot founder Bret Kinsella. Especially notable is that Amazon picked Parkopedia despite a 2018 Alexa Fund investment in ParkWhiz, which has its own mobile app and Alexa skill for finding a parking spot.