SoftBank launching BLUU app for finding parking spaces in Japan

Parking space in Vienna, Austria. Photo: Uwe Hensel/unsplash

SoftBank Group Corp. is rolling out a new app that will let drivers find and reserve parking spaces across Japan.

The new service, called BLUU Smart Parking, will let drivers find open parking spots, reserve them in advance and pay fees using smartphones. Each location will have cameras and magnetic sensors to monitor cars as they enter and leave, instead of the restraining locks that are common in Japan. SoftBank, which didn’t disclose revenue targets or the size of its initial investment in BLUU, is initially looking to work with companies that want to rent out space. The trial version begins next month, followed by a full launch in October.

SoftBank, which has invested in ride-sharing services including Uber Technologies Inc., said it’s aiming to change how people park, using data compiled through BLUU. While Japan has lagged behind the U.S. in sharing-economy services, they are catching on. Now, SoftBank is seeking to leap ahead by offering such services for drivers. Sensors used for the service are cheaper than traditional physical locks, lowering the hurdle for companies to set up parking services, according to Hidefumi Kitahara, SoftBank’s head of technology strategy.

“Once people understand the convenience of sharing economy, it is going to spread,” Kitahara told reporters at a briefing in Tokyo. The company wants to “make use of under-utilized assets” in high-demand areas, he said.

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Bloomberg

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Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.