Ope Thomas video interview - Roadi Introduction and the future of mobility

Roadi transforms parking into a meaningful collaboration. We do this through a platform which allows customers to deliver a better customer experience to their customers who drive. Drivers have a way to share parking information to help them park

Roadi products bring stakeholders together on a platform to share parking information for better intelligence about real-time available spaces

• Mobile: Roadi brings drivers together on a platform to share parking information for better intelligence about real-time available spaces

• Web – A web plugin for any website administrator to place it on the website or email to send parking information.

• SMS: Customers and users can send direct messages for personalized updates

• Roadi geo targeted ads – SMB retailers and advertisers pay to display advertisement and localized parking data in an easy to use digital package, through mobile, web, SMS products.

• Parking dashboard – Blended B2B2C product where enterprise clients can put the crowdsourced and researched parking data to work, not just consume, but drive business decisions to increase revenue, and efficiency.

The platform has unparalleled accuracy to detect and predict available parking spots, forecast and provide real-time parking trend analysis with ease and precision. Users can access and share on demand parking availability information. Roadi sells software applications to drivers, parking operators and SMB retailers in metropolitan regions, with a need to access, manage and share parking information. Both needs correlate with cities experiencing a growing population size of 3,500 people / square mile or more. Roadi helps customers and users: 1) Find an available parking spot; 2) Gain insight on parking trends; 3) Share parking availability and access information

Februray 2018 Collaboration with CityBizList and University of Baltimore CEI

Smart city frameworks of the near future

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Increasing internet connectivity, disruptive business models, and demand for autonomous devices, that automate decision making have become drivers of smart city developments. Environmental health and policy-making represent convergent points that will shape the near-term development of smart cities.It is common to look at the potential implications that a single technology can have on our communities, however, it is the convergence of technologies at the right time in consumer adoption that has the greatest impact. For example, the internet, smartphones and broadband connectivity meet at the convergence point of consumers demanding mobile services. This convergence point redefined how we communicate and interact more than any individual technology did by itself.

I first came to think about when discovering the SixSense technology in 2009, a gesture based wearable computer system developed by Pranav Mistry, now SVP at Samsung. Moreover, for three years I have built and run a mobile startup, called Roadi, focused on helping drivers navigate for parking in a smart city. My teams work, experience and conversation has convinced me of the need to better conceptualize the frameworks that will shape smart cities, and why.

 Smart city frameworks of the near future: Increasing internet connectivity, disruptive business models, and demand for autonomous devices, that automate decision making have become drivers of smart city developments.


Infrastructure framework can be represented well bysystems such as low emission zones. Having successful low emission initiatives is made possible by having the right infrastructure that can detect data such as air quality or traffic congestion patterns.

Another good example of a smart infrastructure is having a network that supports an electric vehicle infrastructure. This is critical as autonomous, decision making, devices will likely be electric powered.

Ultimately a smart city lays a foundation to deliver a sustainable city. An encyclopedic definition of a sustainable city states, “A sustainable city is one that is designed to have as little impact on the environment as possible”

Applications framework relates to the variety of Iot and machine learning devices that will carry out the services that will be available in a smart city.I will provide some statistics on the IoT market as it represents much of the applications market. The other elements are software which will interface with the consumer and the server clients. The application framework is what the consumer and citizen will experience and interact within the form of products and in some cases services.

Internet of things relates to the machine to machine communication, where the user no longer needs to make a series of decisions in selecting from a variety of choices, in their day to day activity. Also, decision-making applications provide a mechanism for making and enforce policy decisions.

Iot stats

According to a post by PR Newswire, anticipated growth in the US is projected to grow at a CAGR over 14% during and can be attributed to growing number of connected devices, rising internet penetration, an technology advancements

‘Hardware’ accounts for largest share in the country’s IoT market, followed by ‘Software’ and ‘Services’ segments. Moreover, consumer electronics and transportation sectors dominated the US IoT market in 2016, and the segments are anticipated to continue dominating the country’s IoT market in the coming years as well

Convergent points

Public health (allow products to make decisions for us): Public health also accounts for the health of the physical infrastructure. The public health-centered smart city initiatives utilize an infrastructure framework.

Since many of the decisions and associated tasks humans make day to day can be automated or remotely managed, much of the associated waste can also be reduced. Think for example the progression of technology used to make the first maps, then software applications created maps, now we want our devices to not only present us with the best, waste reducing, route but to also make the route decision and carry out all the associated tasks. At each level, we were reducing the distance between a person deciding and acting, and subsequently, reduce the waste associated with human inefficiency.

Low emission zones present a use case where Iot connects the infrastructure and application frameworks. The sensors in street lights, for example, can sense a vehicle entering a LEZ and send a signal to reduce the vehicles speed or take other action to manage the vehicle’s impact on air quality. Remote sensing devices have shown to be able to enforce LEZ emission zones through trials in cities such as London.

Other ways that cities are adopting health-focused frameworks is with electrical vehicle (EV) infrastructure. States in U.S. now are providing incentives for businesses that support the development of EV networks. and other smart transit solutions such as transit hubs, where EV ports are installs, Maryland EV highlights transit hub case studies.

The convergent point of public health will produce opportunities that relate the key factors of a sustainable city, as described by Salem Press Encyclopedia as: air quality, clean water, energy use, biodiversity, food and agriculture, waste.

India is a leader in the development of smart cities. with a large population and the migration into cities, citizens are in more demand for scarce resources. Also, the size of the population in cities poses environmental challenges. In India, you can find more interest in the infrastructure development and whole IoT systems, in contrast to interest in standalone applications. Findings of Students from Amrita School of Engineer in a paper showed that urbanization and population growth has led to higher demand for resources like water which are of scarce.” (VIJAI,2016)


The health of some cities are linked to the level of waste produced by freight movements, therefore better decision making through automation is being explored by business owners and public officials.

Findings by the U.S. Dept of transportation found an impact on public health could be made by, “improving the reliability of freight by installing signals that prioritize truck movement along freight corridors. Providing truckers with real-time information on parking availability and truck routes.  Demonstrating the potential for automated and connected freight vehicles to make freight movements safer and more efficient.”

Public policy convergence comes from the need to help us make better decisions. The goal of which is to reduce future negative environmental impact, improved mobility of people and the economy. Applications are produced for consumers because of policy changes. On the other hand, disruptive technologies can influence policy making. The recent case of ridesharing apps and their effect on infrastructure and policy decisions.

Low emissions zone (LEZ) at the application level will bring opportunities and inventions from new vendors who provide the products and services to the citizens and public agencies. Alternatively, consumer demand for a product will greatly influence the policy-making of officials. The increasing numbers of autonomous devices built for optimization, on the micro and macro scale, will press policymakers with the question, What to optimize for.

Source: https://www.Canva.com
The International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS) states, “The holy grail of smart cities is an integrated, sustainable approach to improve the ef?ciency of the city’s operations and the quality of life of citizens.” – (ISPRS, 2017). Disruptive technologies will cause policymakers to make decisions about policies surrounding technologies used in public spaces either physical or digital. At Roadi have also helped design software that can detect freight vehicles entering low emission zones.

Applications that will have the most impact will come from artificial intelligence; electric vehicles; autonomous vehicles; mobile applications; drones; wearable and smart devices. Each one and their integration will pose a challenge for policymakers. They provide many opportunities for optimization and better decision making, but the continued advancement poses a challenge for policy makers to ensure the citizens best interests are accounted for while still enjoying the benefits of the advancements in technology.

Consumer engagement and consumer adoption are a critical factor in the policy decision. this breeds incentive for business owners to deliver compelling consumer goods. The authors of a research paper focused on consumer response to smart grids, found that, “they (consumers) displayed an interest in playing a much more informed and active role in energy decision-making,” regarding smart grids the research concludes that, “More policy attention is needed on demand-side measures, introducing institutional and regulatory changes, and modifying relationships between consumers, the government and utilities.”

Companies like Roadi which provide wayfinding technology for real-time parking availability focus on the user experience of finding parking nearby their current location. Giving more attention to the user experience in public policy framework is more important than is a public health convergence or infrastructure framework. This is so because policymakers will be limited in implementing a new smart city focused initiative if consumers do not adopt the associated technologies helps to increase the adoption of smart city application.

The report from one smart city workshop observed:“Team members agreed that the goal of applying smart cities technology is to significantly improve the quality of life for residents.”

Figure 1Roadi smart parking Wayfinder display
Bringing the concepts together

Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) – (PR) an example of an infrastructure level framework that touches both public health and public policy and creates opportunities on the application level for vendors and consumers.

Smart cities answer the question of what to optimize for, by optimizing for the environmental and economic health of the citizens. Public policy convergences want to improve transportation, economic mobility, and safety. A city optimizing for public health will apply technology more aggressively and seek system level tools that will support an infrastructure which can reduce the causes of poor public health. Intelligent transport systems being such an example.

An application level framework will likely be focus on the convergence of public policy needs. here policy makers will implement department specific technology rather than whole infrastructure specific systems.

Regardless of which framework is adopted in the long run most cities will arrive at the same destination of have a deeply integrated and autonomous city.

Hack for impact: A conduit for social change


Hack for Impact, the 24 hour hackathon in Baltimore, was a glowing success!

The Hack for Impact team want to show appreciation to our sponsors, community partners, event planners, judges, presenters and of course give a big CONGRATULATIONS the winners, Food Chain!

Together we were able to collaborate to build and implement solutions for relevant problem statements in the pre-selected categories for crime, health, education, transportation, child welfare, and domestic welfare. One part of the mission is to set an example of how cities can bring together tech innovators and social change-makers in order to solve relevant, painful problems by exchanging ideas, sharing expertise and developing effective solutions.

The event opened with an inspiring speech by Aaron Velky on the power of moments! Aaron is the founder of Ortus Academy a non profit that teaches financial intelligence to k-12 students. 



We wanted to give a special thanks to Impact Hub Baltimore for providing the venue for the hackathon! Impact Hub is the largest entrepreneurial communal network in Baltimore, a key driving force in creating community engagement and they help to create innovative solutions that address sustainable development goals in 50 + countries.

We thank our sponsors Fearless Tech, a full stack software development firm in Baltimore that delivers sleek, modern, and user-friendly software designed to push the boundaries of possibility.

Fearless is a company that represents the mission of HackForImpact as their website states, "We build software to solve problems. Software has the potential to change lives."

Ope Thomas, founder of Roadi, a parking app that tackles the painful problem of finding available parking, was the primary organizer the HackforImpact. The hackathon and it resulted in $3000 in sponsorship value, 57 total registrations, 4 project submissions, and 20 participants who were in the final presentation, which was evaluated by 4 distinguished judges.

The judges were Gary McDaniel, Ope Thomas, and Alex Bullignton, Founder and CEO of Arbit. Gary McDaneil is a highly accomplished business builder and decisive leader with an extensive record of successful executive leadership. Alex Bullington, founded Arbit with a goal of helping athletes and brands connect better with their audience.

Fully Grown LLC, A Baltimore based food startup strives to overcome food deserts, and one way is by teaching children about healthy food habits, and providing healthy meal prep services

The University of Baltimore, was a strong community partner for the event helping to organize the event and reach the right audience. The University of Baltimore provides Knowledge That Works in a vibrant, urban setting. These sponsors and community partners provided essential support to make this event a success and helped to create dynamic engagement with influencers in the community, the HackForImpact team extends the deepest gratitude.

As stated above the HackforImpact team wanted to formally congratulate Food Chain, the winners of the hackathon! Food Chain, devised a solution that will help improve access to quality food for those in a food desert. As part of their next steps to make this vision a reality they have begun conversations with public health experts in Philadelphia and Baltimore to learn what they can about the challenge they want to help improve. 

Thank you again for your support, the impact of this event would not have been possible without your help! This event was more than simply a hackathon, but together we did the work to investigate ways to be conduits for social change in Baltimore city by addressing it’s relevant problems and creating solutions with technology. Events like these will be the catalyst for swift, effective change in cities all over the world and by creating an atmosphere of inclusion, collaboration, and competition; we will only create more unique solutions to challenging problems which will lead to a higher quality of life for all of us.


All of the organizations listed work to provide tremendous social value to the community, and we would love if we could spread more awareness so that more people can be a part of the coming changes with us. Through our collaboration we can merge technology with social innovation so that we may merge and extend our capabilities into horizons not previously known. Please join us on our journey!






Event Details:

Time: June 1st and 2nd

Location: Impact Hub, Baltimore (10 E North Ave. Baltimore, MD 21202)

Time: 5:30pm

# of team: 10 teams 70 participants

# of problem statements: 10

# of judges: 4

Hackathon Website: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hack-for-impact-baltimore-tickets-45915229688

Eventbrite: https://hack-for-impact.devpost.com

Sponsored by:

 Impact hub Baltimore, Providing the space. Fearless Solutions, University of Baltimore, Fully Grown Roadi

The Mission

Teams will submit a working prototype that can championed by one of the social change makers to implement and address a submitted problem statement.


Problem statements

A team of volunteers is hosting a hackathon at the Impact Hub in Baltimore to bring together tech innovators with social changemakers, to share ideas and develop solutions to solve or greatly improve some of the most pressing problems facing Baltimore and cities around the world.


As a community leader, we are asking you to submit a problem statement that can be selected at the event. If your problem statement is selected, there is an opportunity to work with our video team to share the story with the hackathon audience. Moreover, as a selected problem statement, you can be a mentor during the event to guide the attendees.


Categories for problem statements include:

·          Health

·         Crime

·         Transportation

·         Economic mobility

·         Housing

·         Education.


Help us bring together change makers and influencers like yourself to make Baltimore and the world a better place

Driving and Parking:

Download Roadi: Iphone and Android

$6 Parking available next door, and street parking is the best and recommended option. If you park in the parking lot next door you can pay to park till 4am the following day.

Event Start Process

Participants arrive (doors at 5:00) and settle in to Impact Hub main area for food, beverage and networking


Aaron Velky: Ortus Academy

Ope Thomas: Roadi

Programming Details – Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning

  • 10 pre-selected problem statements will be prominently displayed for attendees to view and assess in main area
  • At the program’s onset, attendees pick which question they’d like to focus on and stand in that designated area
  •  *Important  If one or a few question(s) were selected by only 1 or 2 attendees, encourage others to join them. If no one obliges, give lone attendees the option to work alone, in small group or join another team
  •  Teams have until 3:00 pm on Saturday June 2nd
  •  Presentations begin at 4:00 pm

Programming Details:

All presenting teams must be at Impact Hub Baltimore ready to present by 2pm on Saturday June 2nd

·         At 9am Saturday morning, light breakfast with coffee will be available

·         There will be mentors throughout the event helping to guide the teams through development.

·         At 12 pm, Ope and Emcee welcome everyone back for final presentations

·         Each team, picked at random, gets 5-7 minutes to explain their solution

·         Judges will have time for questions at the end of each presentation and at the

·         conclusion of the program


Required items for presentation:

·         Working prototype

·         Powerpoint presentation

·         Value proposition description

·         Go to market strategy


Conclusion of Event:


·         Judges convene for discussion and decision making

·         Attendees mingle and final networking while judges convene

·         Pick top 3 based on points system - predetermined and publicized categories



·         $500 Prize

·         Opportunity to implement solution


For more info contact:

Opeyemi Thomas



Great Eight Finalists! Roadi at STRT1UP Showcase on March 14

Great Eight Finalists! Roadi at STRT1UP Showcase on March 14

Roadi, is a software company solving real world challenges for real world people. With machine learning, the latest in sensor methods and crowdsourced data, Roadi helps drivers find a parking spot nearby and keep track of where their car is parked.  Come see Roadi at the StartupMD STRT1UP Showcase on March 14 in Annapolis, Maryland.